Tara Hetz is a Research Intern at CREST focusing on gateway communities, Sustainable Destination Management, and natural resource protection. As a young girl growing up in East Africa, the allure of charismatic megafauna was inescapable. It was Tara’s dream to save the elephants and rhinos of the world. Tara was introduced to ecosystem conservation at a young age and continued her studies in Conservation Biology at St. Lawrence University in Northern New York. Her desire to save the world’s wildlife gave way to identifying why biodiversity is important and how to integrate people in conservation actions. She is interested in investigating community based conservation initiatives and how tourism plays a role, especially adventure-conservation tourism.
She is a Master’s Student in the Parks, Recreation and Tourism department at the University of Utah. Her goal is to conduct research in social-environmental science. She wants to contribute to the development of interdisciplinary conservation science with a comprehensive understanding of social-ecological interactions. She wants to help better engage communities in protected area conservation design, custodianship of natural resources and improvement of livelihoods.