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Brooke Zanetell

Brooke Ann Zanetell

Assistant Professor of Public Land Management
Kelley Hall 106


Ph.D. Cornell University, Natural Resources, 2003
M.S. Cornell University, Natural Resources, 2000
B.A. University of Colorado – Boulder, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Summa Cum Laude, 1994
B.A. University of Colorado – Boulder, Environmental Studies, 1994


Brooke Zanetell, known as Dr. Z to her students, is Assistant Professor of Public Land Management in the Clark Family School of Environment & Sustainability at Western Colorado University. Dr. Z grew up in beautiful Gunnison, CO. After serving as a Diplomat and Science Advisor at the US Department of State in Washington, DC, she moved to Taos, NM, where she built the Natural Resources Management Program at the University of New Mexico which created academic-career pathways for low-income, first-generation, and/or students of color (see http://naturalresources.unm.edu/). Dr. Z graduated Summa Cum Laude in Biology from the University of Colorado in Boulder for her stream research at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory above Crested Butte. She holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Natural Resources from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and was a Fulbright Scholar to Venezuela and an InterAmerican Fellow to Guatemala. She has published numerous articles on community-based fishery and water resources management as well as on college student success, mentoring, and job placement in the sciences.

How did you discover Western?

My uncle was a head custodian, my parents earned their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English and Accounting, and my dad was an NCAA All-American Guard and Linebacker for the Western Football team. As a kid, I swam at the college pool and rode my bicycle all over campus.

What are some of the highlights of your career?

“Changing lives” is how the National Program Leader of Hispanic Serving Institutions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture described my work at the University of New Mexico in Taos.

What most excites you about your field?

Working with students and empowering them to be the next generation of leaders excites me.

What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?

I love how easy it is to walk and bike and to take public transport to hangout and recreate in Crested Butte. I love seeing the wild animals, spotting the birds, and that every snowflake is a love letter to our streams!

Courses Taught

  • ENVS 260 Introduction to Public Lands Management
  • ENVS 350 U.S. & Western Environmental Politics
  • ENVS 370 Water Policy & Politics
  • ENVS 435 Environmental Grant Writing
  • ENVS 601 Introduction to Environmental Management
  • ENVS 618 Public Lands Management
  • ENVS 690 Master’s Project Development
  • ENVS 694 Master’s Project and Portfolio


  • Zanetell, B. A., and Schusler, T. M., 2022. Building STEM pathways for underrepresented students to natural resources careers: The Northern New Mexico Climate Change Corps. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. Read Here.
  • Zanetell, B. A. 2021. Bridging the Gap: 2-Year to 4-Year Transfer and Degree Completion in the Sciences. The Chronicle of Mentoring and Coaching, 5(14): 499-504. Read Here.
  • Zanetell, B. A. 2020. Partnerships for Professional Development and Employment in Natural Resources Management. The Chronicle of Mentoring and Coaching, 4(1): 462-466. Read Here.
  • Zanetell, B. A. 2016. Mentoring for Minority Success in STEM and Natural Resource Management. Proceedings of Univ. of New Mexico Mentoring Institute Journal 9: 654-662.
  • Zanetell, B. A. 2015. Mentoring about Climate Change: A Two-Way Street. North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Journal 59(1): 97.
  • Zanetell, B. A., and B. A. Knuth. May 2004. Participation Rhetoric or Community-Based Management Reality? Influences on Willingness to Participate. World Dev. 32(5):793-807.
  • Zanetell, B. A., and B. A. Knuth. 2002. Bribing Biodiversity: Corruption, Participation, and Community-Based Management in Venezuela. Southern Rural Soc. 18(2):130-161.
  • Zanetell, B. A., and B. Knuth. 2002. Knowledge Partnerships: Rapid Rural Appraisal’s Role in Catalyzing Community-Based Management in Venezuela. Soc. & Nat. Res.15(9):805-825.
  • Zanetell, B. A. 2001. Legislating Community-Based Management: Lessons from the Venezuelan Freshwater Fishery. Journal of International Wildlife Law and Pol. 4(3):279-294.
  • Zanetell, B. A., and B. L. Peckarsky. 1996. Stoneflies as Ecological Engineers—Hungry Predators Reduce Fine Sediments in Stream Beds. Freshwater Biology 36:569-577.

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