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Collaboration Program in Natural Resources

Building Collaborative Capacity in Wyoming and Beyond

2016 CPNR Cohort

NOTE: The Collaboration Program in Natural Resources has made adjustments to the 2020-2021 schedule in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The program will now meet monthly between August and January, with the final session remaining unchanged in April. The situation continues to be fluid, and if need be we will push the start date back another month or two into the fall. Participants should reserve the dates in February and March in case it becomes necessary to further extend the program. Our top priority is the health and safety of participants, instructors, and guest speakers. Please see below for the updated program schedule.


Natural resource problems are complex, involving more than science and policy decisions. These problems tap into people’s deeply held values and beliefs, local economic and conservation interests, and more.

Natural resource practitioners are often called upon and sometimes required to work collaboratively in complex and contentious settings with stakeholders, people and groups with a vested interest in whatever solutions are ultimately proposed and implemented. 

The Collaboration Program in Natural Resources works with mid and upper career natural resource professionals to help them maximize their impact in complex and often contentious collaborative settings. CPNR seeks to increase knowledge and skills in three main areas:

  • Collaborative leaderships skills in areas such as effective communication, conflict resolution, and innovative problem solving

  • Designing, convening, and facilitating collaborative problem-solving processes

  • Participating effectively in collaborative problem-solving processes

CPNR graduates go on to lead collaborative problem-solving processes throughout Wyoming and across the West, ensuring that natural resource management decisions are more inclusive, consider more community and stakeholder needs, and will be more robust and longer-lasting than they could ever be without collaboration.

The program brings up to 20 participants together for a ten-month training program focused on collaborative leadership and problem-solving. The first five sessions include interactive hands-on training in leadership, collaborative process design, negotiation, facilitation, and more. Participants then apply what they’ve learned to a practicum: a real-world collaboration project at work or in their community. The program culminates in April, with project presentations and a celebration for the graduates.

View the 2019 CPNR Prospectus

2020 CPNR Prospectus coming soon!


Jessica walking through sagebrush on Platte Valley Habitat Partnership field trip.

Program dates and locations

CPNR participants attend five rigorous, hands-on sessions to develop collaborative problem-solving skills for natural resource issues. They also complete a skills practicum. Sessions for the 2020 class run from noon Wednesdays to noon Fridays as follows:

(Updated April 2020)

  • August 19–21, Lander, WY

  • September 16–18, Saratoga, WY

  • October 21–23, Laramie, WY

  • December 2–4, Laramie, WY

  • January 20-22, Jackson, WY

  • April 22–23, 2021, Cody, WY

Backup dates (reserve in case of potential rescheduling)

  • February 17-19, 2021

  • March 10-12, 2021

Program Requirements

  • Attend all six session from August—April

  • Complete one or more self-assessments and work to build collaborative leadership skills and behaviors

  • Engage with the program in between sessions by for example reviewing materials, watching brief videos, and participating in group calls and online discussion forums

  • Develop and make significant progress on a project that focuses on a collaborative problem-solving opportunity

Participants successfully completing the program have the option to earn graduate credit through the University of Wyoming.

How to Apply

We are no longer accepting applications to our 2020 cohort. Please check back in winter 2021 to apply for next year's program.

2020 CPNR Application


The Program tuition is $1,000, which helps CPNR cover costs related to the program. The tuition must be paid in full by August 1. Tuition is not refundable if a participant withdraws from the program (though it may be applied to a future year). Transportation, lodging, and other related expenses are the responsibility of the participant.


Thanks to generous support from Rocky Mountain Power, CPNR is able to offer a limited number of scholarships to help cover tuition costs for participants who might not be able to otherwise participate. Please indicate on the application form whether you are seeking scholarship support.


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Application Form

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CPNR Prospectus

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UNCG Guide

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Deb Kleinman, CPNR Director

Deb Kleinman, CPNR Director

(307) 314-2385 | | Website

Deb Kleinman is a facilitator, trainer, and leadership coach based out of Laramie, WY. She launched Lupine Collaborative in 2012 to help organizations work more effectively together, make better decisions, and increase their impact in ways that matter. She has over 20 years of experience working in and with nonprofits, academic institutions, public agencies, and private businesses on a wide range of strategic, collaborative, and training issues. Deb has extensive training and experience in facilitation, collaborative decision making, conflict resolution and conflict coaching, and leadership development, and is a certified professional coach.

Jessica Western

Dr. Jessica Western, Ruckelshaus Institute Senior Research Scientist and Adjunct Faculty

(307) 766-5048  | |  Website

A senior research scientist in human dimensions of natural resources at the Ruckelshaus Institute, Dr. Western brings expertise in collaborative governance and collaborative learning related to forests, wildlife, recreation, public lands, and other resources.  She previously co-directed the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute at Colorado State University and the Collaboration Program in Natural Resources at the Ruckelshaus Institute. She has designed, lead and facilitated collaborative public policy processes related to natural resource issues for more than 30 years across the western United States.

Steve Smutko

Dr. Steve Smutko, Spicer Chair in Collaborative Practice

(307) 766-2703  |  |  Website

Professor and Spicer Chair in Collaborative Practice, also at the Ruckelshaus Institute, Dr. Smutko co-teaches the CPNR training sessions. He has designed, convened, and facilitated numerous public policy decision processes on natural resources issues in the Rocky Mountain West and the southeast United States. Dr. Smutko also conducts research in collaborative decision-making and teaches courses to University of Wyoming students and to natural resource stakeholders in environmental decision making and negotiation analysis.

The Collaboration Program in Natural Resources is made possible by generous support from Rocky Mountain Power and The Spicer Fund for Collaborative Solutions.

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Contact Us

Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources

Bim Kendall House

804 E Fremont St

Laramie, WY 82072

Phone: (307) 766-5080

Fax: (307) 766-5099


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