Beth Croucher
2007 Valene Smith Winner

smith_croucher.jpgBeth Croucher is currently pursuing an M.A. in Anthropology with an emphasis in Political Ecology and Sustainable Development at the University of Colorado at Denver.  Her research interests include the links between local economic development and conservation, the legal vs. practical implications of environmental management, and interdisciplinary approaches to merging local priorities with local, national, and global conservation objectives.  Her thesis research focuses on the economic, legal and practical aspects of Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), and in particular on the inconsistencies among: the enthusiastic promotion of WMAs by international conservation NGOs as a way of alleviating local poverty while protecting biodiversity, the official government directives governing their implementation which require local participation while undermining local control, and the practical realities of economically-oriented conservation schemes for rural communities with inadequate resources, limited livelihood options, and virtually no access to global economic markets.

Beth received her B.A. in Anthropology from Catholic University of America and, before deciding to enter graduate studies in anthropology, worked in corporate and municipal finance for a number of years.  She hopes to integrate the organizational, analytical, and negotiating skills that were an essential part of her corporate career into her future anthropological research.