Marcella and Aleshia Fremgen receiving their scholarship checks from Tara Tafi (center) of the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining & Safety, in Gunnison, Colorado

Aleshia and Marcella Fremgen

Aleshia and Marcella both attended Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado where they earned degrees in biology, with an emphasis in fieldwork—in fact, they've just wrapped up a summer at the The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic! We were very impressed by both the Fremgens' dedication to environmental conservation and stewardship through field-based science and science-based policy. Aleshia is interested in a career in biology, specifically regional ecological policy. Marcella's passion is wildlife conservation. We are thrilled to support them both in pursuit of their dreams.

Kirstin Brown, friend and colleague of David Bucknam, presents Tomas Shash, right, with his scholarship check in Durango, Colorado

Tomas Shash

Tomas was a Biology major at Ft. Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. "Having been raised with Native American traditions, I realize the importance of integrating indigenous knowledge with Western science," Shash writes. He continues: "I intend to work with youth and elders in order to protect and enhance existing ecosystems. Traditional elders have profound knowledge that is in danger of being lost forever. This does not only apply to the physical, natural world, but also to the cultural realm. The youth rarely learn much of their traditions...however, they are the future; only through empowering them by applying traditional knowledge in modern situations can they appreciate its importance in the contemporary world."

Shash has been active in a wide range of on- and off-campus programs, including the President's Advisory Council for Environmental Affairs and as fire chief of the Gardner, Colorado Sundance. He assisted in the construction of an informational display about traditional and contemporary uses for plants of the American Southwest at the Turtle Lake Refuge.

Tyler Benton, left, with Scholarship board member Peter Bucknam, in Golden, Colorado


Tyler Benton

Tyler was a Geological Engineering major at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. After graduating, he worked for an engineering consultancy, with plans to attend graduate school with a focus in river restoration and erosion control. Growing up on the eastern plains of Colorado, Benton has seen firsthand the impacts of land use and good stewardship. "I have learned that the way we manage our resources such as pasture, not only affects whether there will be enough grass for the cattle each season but the health of the entire shortgrass steppe ecosystem. It is important that the relationship between our actions and the resulting effects are understood so that the next generation will have the same opportunity that I enjoy today," Benton writes.

While at Mines, Tyler was active as Chapter President of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, and completed research for both the Colorado Geological Survey and the Dendrochronology Lab of INSTARR at the University of Colorado


Amy Lankford-Coffman

Amy Lankford-Coffman

Amy attended Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana majoring in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Wildlife and Fisheries. We chose Amy because of her heartfelt interest in natural resources, her community service and her determination to complete a college degree.  She is involved in her community and volunteers in the Tribal environmental education projects. She worked during college summers at the National Bison Range Visitor Center.  She is a dedicated to her family and as a mother is instilling her love of natural resources to her young children. 


Friends and colleagues of Dave Bucknam meet with Elizabeth Fortushniak at Mesa State. (L to R) Russ Walker, Professor, Mesa State College;  Paul Krabacher, Colorado Inactive Mine Reclamation Program; Elizabeth Fortushniak; Loretta Pineda, Colorado Inactive Mine Reclamation Program.

Elizabeth Fortushniak, a senior at Mesa State College, was the first recipient of the David L. Bucknam Memorial Scholarship. Fortushniak was a senior majoring in Environmental Science. She hopes to someday work in the restoration and land management field.

“Fortushniak was chosen because of her experience in working in the out of doors as well as her dedication to her studies and the environment,” said Alan Bucknam, president of the David L. Bucknam Memorial Scholarship. “Her work, both in returning land to beneficial use and in educating others in land restoration techniques shows her commitment to the ideals embodied in the Scholarship.”

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