Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) at Sul Ross State University in Alpine is launching a scholarship fundraiser for its graduate students. The fundraising goal is $50,000 with all proceeds going directly to scholarships for students working on conservation research for their master’s degree.
To kickstart the fundraiser, the Permian Basin Area Foundation has generously donated a $15,000 challenge grant.
“Our students are our top priority, and we’re grateful the Permian Basin Area Foundation is supporting the next generation of conservation practitioners and leaders with this challenge grant,” said Dr. Louis A. Harveson, who is the Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Endowed Director of BRI. “These master’s projects play a vital role in Trans-Pecos conservation, and scholarship funds are a critical piece of our students’ success. We’re hopeful that through generous donations, we can hit our goal of $50,000.”
The Borderlands Research Institute is a leader in wildlife and conservation research in the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas and is celebrating its 15-year anniversary during the 2022-2023 academic calendar year.
Graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in BRI research programs experience unique opportunities to work side by side with wildlife professionals and conservation partners. These students receive hands-on experience with habitat restoration projects and working with wildlife, including grassland birds, pronghorn, mule deer and more.
Current projects include the first large-scale black bear research project to be conducted in West Texas. This multi-year project is tracking the expansion of black bears into the region and will help wildlife managers better understand black bear ecology and needs.
Earlier this year, BRI researchers, with help from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and local landowners, embarked on a long-term desert bighorn sheep project to study the interactions and competition pressures between bighorn, aoudad and mule deer.
Additionally, BRI students are working on multiple habitat restoration projects as they investigate the best methodologies to enhance land suffering from drought and brush encroachment. What they learn will be shared with area land stewards.
Students who graduate from these programs receive a master’s in Range and Wildlife Management from Sul Ross State University. These graduates gain employment with state and federal resource agencies, as well as with private consultants and ranches and as educators. Currently, BRI graduates influence wildlife management decisions on over 31 million acres in Texas, some 20 percent of the state’s acreage.
Photo: Last year’s scholarship recipients from the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University, from left: Maya Ressler, Lilly Morin, Preston McKee, Erin O’Connell, Caleb Hughes, Brooke Bowman.