The International Seminar on Protected Area Management (ISPAM) is an integrated, state-of-the art course that examines strategies to conserve the world’s most special places. The seminar is designed for mid-career planners and managers of nationally significant protected areas worldwide and focuses on evaluating the policies and institutional arrangements that sustain both people and natural resources.
The International Seminar on Protected Area Management is a collaborative effort of the University of Montana and the United States Forest Service International Programs.
ISPAM applies a socio-ecological systems approach to protected area planning and management. This approach focuses on multiple aspects of protected area management and how they are interconnected.
The combination of collaborative perspectives increases conservation and resilience of protected areas, while maintaining social, recreational, and environmental resources. Within this integrated approach, all nodes of protected area management are treated equal.
ISPAM participants will gain knowledge and experience applications that inform this holistic approach to protected area management.
During three weeks in July, participants from all over the world come to experience the US protected areas system. Two weeks are spent in Montana, a western state with many public lands, when participants visit National Forests, state-managed protected lands and rivers, the Flathead Indian Reservation, the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, rural communities in western Montana and Glacier National Park. The seminar then travels to Washington, D.C., where participants are able to meet with the U.S. Forest Service International Programs at their headquarters and discuss strategies for urban protected areas.
Keith Bosak - Program Director
Keith Bosak is a Professor of Nature-Based Tourism and Recreation in the W. A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana, USA. Dr. Bosak is a geographer working primarily in mountain regions and developing countries at the nexus of conservation and development. His research focuses on sustainable tourism, ecotourism, climate change impacts, and protected area management/visitor use.
Kika Bradford - Coordinator
After working in the applied setting for 15+ years, Kika is now a PhD student in the W. A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana. Her interests are tourism and recreation in protected areas, mountain sustainable development, access, and environmental psychology. Kika is an avid rock climber, who calls both Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Missoula (USA) home.
Laurel Ann "Boo" Curry - Coordinator
Born and raised in Missoula, Montana, Laurel Ann “Boo” Curry attended the University of Montana where she earned a BS in Wildlife Biology in 2011. Since then, she has pursued avian field biology in a variety of national and international settings. Her passion for avian conservation and traveling enticed her to pursue a master’s degree at UM in the International Conservation & Development Program, where she will focus on ecotourism and avian and cultural conservation in Jamaica. She became involved in the ISPAM program with assistance from her advisor, Dr. Keith Bosak, and is excited to be part of the team! In her off time, Boo enjoys drumming in a local performance group. Her seasonal activities include swimming and camping in the summer, snowboarding in the winter, and birding and hot-springing in all seasons!
Chris Soriano - USFS
Chris Soriano joined U.S. Forest Service International Programs in 2005 on the Middle East team (now Africa and Middle East) and is based in Missoula, MT. He is the Regional Operations Manager for the team and manages Forest Service activities in Zambia, which focus on community-based reforestation and natural resource law enforcement. Prior to joining IP, Chris studied Environmental Science at the University of Rochester and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador where he worked with small communities on agroforestry and watershed conservation projects. In his free time, Chris enjoys drinking coffee, running and biking trails, climbing rocks, smashing spreadsheets, skiing/falling, misidentifying birds, catching small fish, and in general, going uphill.
Aseem Kever - USFS
Aseem Kever joined U.S. Forest Service International Programs in 2021 on the Asia Pacific team and is based in Buriram, Thailand. He is the Program Manager for the Cambodia Portfolio and manages a wide breadth of programming including community-based reforestation, community based fire management, aquaculture, youth engagement, and natural resource law enforcement.
Prior to joining IP, Aseem studied Political Economy at the University of California Berkeley and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand where he worked with the local government offices and schools to implement youth development projects.
Aseem’s passion for the environment and protected areas stems from his Kenyan background, enjoying access to the incredible national parks and wildlife therein, this was further strengthened when he moved to the United States and had the opportunity to visit and eventually work for the National Forest System and the U.S. Forest Service. In his free time, Aseem loves being a girl-dad to his two daughters and tending to his duck and chicken farm (eggs).
Kirby Crider - TRG facilitator
Kirby Crider is an Organizational Development and Learning Consultant with Training Resources Group, an employee-owned firm based near Washington, DC. He has worked with the USFS Office of International Programs over the past 8 years, working on learning and knowledge management within the office and with many partners, including NGOs, partner countries, and other US agencies.
He has also worked with USAID, the World Bank Group, and NGOs around the world on learning efforts across a range of international development issues, including conservation, infrastructure, water, sanitation, and hygiene, climate change, private sector engagement, epidemic response, universal health coverage, and organizational capacity development.
He has a background in instructional design–the systematic design and delivery of training programs, and has worked with many different clients to create impactful and effective learning products and programs of many different types, including workshops, courses, curriculum, videos, podcasts, virtual courses, and more.
In his free time, he spends as much time as possible outside, often with his two children, Emil and Felix. He enjoys rock climbing, biking, and camping in protected areas big and small around the U.S.
The U.S. Forest Service International Programs and its partners host twelve annual international seminars, one of which is our ISPAM. These are 2 or 3-week long educational exchanges held mostly in the U.S. for natural resource management professionals from around the world. The seminars stimulate deliberations and problem solving for issues related to unique areas of natural resource management.
- The International Seminar on Natural Resource Law Enforcement
- The International Seminar on Watershed Management
- The International Seminar on Climate Change
- The International Seminar on Forest Landscape Restoration
- The International Seminar on Urban Forestry and Community Engagement
- The International Seminar on Protected Area Management
- The International Field Course on Protected Area Management
- The International Seminar on Livestock Grazing Management
- The International Seminar on Disaster Management
- The Mobile Seminar on Planning and Managing Tourism in Protected Areas
- The International Seminar on Mining
- The International Seminar on Community Resilience
You can learn more about them over here.