C of I student prepares for environmental leadership

Hiking, skiing, horseback riding. Growing up in Ketchum encircled by central Idaho’s rugged Sawtooth, Pioneer and Boulder mountains, College of Idaho senior Tanya Greenwood never found herself lacking an opportunity to explore and enjoy the outdoors.

This summer, Greenwood is translating her appreciation for those spectacular wild areas into public advocacy and outreach with assistance from a College of Idaho program created to help students interested in environmental issues develop their leadership abilities.

Greenwood, a biology and environmental studies major, will be an intern for the Idaho Conservation League at its Ketchum field office. Through her internship, Greenwood will help gather information for ICL’s ongoing initiative to make the Boulder-White Clouds Mountains a national monument, carry out public outreach activities and conduct her own environmental research project.

“This is a great opportunity for me to bring the biology background I already have together with more of a background in conservation policy and outreach,” Greenwood said. “I really think that understanding the policy side of conservation and environmental issues is critical. A lot of these policy issues are complex, and you need an ability to get people engaged and forge compromises between them.”

Funding from The College of Idaho’s recently-established Environmental Leadership Initiative is making Greenwood’s internship experience possible. The Environmental Leadership Award helps C of I students pursue their interests in environmental studies by supporting research and other experiences related to environmental issues, and Greenwood is the second recipient of the award.

While Greenwood expects to learn much during her internship, she’s also looking forward to bringing some of her experiences at the C of I to the internship. For example, Greenwood participated in the College’s four-week tropical rainforest and coral reef ecology course in Australia last January, during which she and her classmates produced several short wildlife documentaries. This summer, ICL will be shooting a film about the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains and Greenwood will help the crew.

“My experiences at the C of I have really helped me think about environmental issues in a complex way,” she said. “Environmental issues ultimately center on people, and we have to make decisions with people in mind.”

Greenwood is still developing the details of her independent research project, but expects it will involve investigating either historical mining sites in the Ketchum area and their impact on the people of Idaho or how less water in the Big Wood River Valley could affect the livelihoods of farmers and outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

“I’m not sure exactly what career path I want to pursue, but I want to do some public advocacy related to conservation and the environment,” Greenwood said. “It’s a great legacy we’re starting at The College of Idaho with the Environmental Leadership Initiative and I know that this internship will help shape where I go in the future.”

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 11 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit