Francis Commercon Wins 2017 Udall Honorable Mention

Francis is pursuing a degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology as well as one in Biological Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. His life-long passion for birds has led him to co-found CSU Field Ornithologists, an active student organization focused on promoting an appreciation of birding and an understanding of avian ecology and conservation.

He has volunteered much of his time toward citizen science projects to study and conserve birds and their habitats in Colorado. He has combined his passions for ecology and the Mandarin language to begin a transformative involvement in Yunnan Province, China, where he has completed an SIT Study Abroad independent research project on the potential for ethnic minority farmers' local knowledge to inform an ecological restoration experiment as well as an independent project on the social factors that influence both legal and illegal wildlife exploitation in a case study community.

He aspires to reduce unsustainable hunting of tropical wildlife through outreach programs targeting social-psychological principles of behavioral change, and he believes that biodiversity conservation must center around a deep understanding of the human communities involved.