OSU Student Wins Environmental Prize

Sep 25, 2021

A Columbia torrent salamander, seen during Cousins' field research.
Credit courtesy Christopher Cousins

An Oregon State University PhD student who’s bringing his love of salamanders and science to minority children has been awarded the Bullitt Foundation environmental prize.

With his faculty advisor and others, Christopher Cousins wrote a book about Latino children who learn from frogs and salamanders about their pond habitat. He said if kids read about people like them who care for nature, they’re more likely to be involved. “I grew up overseas, on military bases, and I didn’t know that this was really a career path," he told KLCC. "Part of the big passion for me was, let’s let as many people know as we can, especially in these communities that are under-represented in science.”

The book is written in Spanish and English, so generational families can read in either language. Cousins has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Mexico. He studies headwaters, looking for the places most likely to host amphibians as the climate changes. He wants young people to know the Pacific Northwest is their home, and home to interesting animals. The Bullitt prize is $100 thousand dollars over two years.