Dr. John B. Wright


John (“Jack”) Wright is a Professor of Geography in the Department of Geography at New Mexico State University (NMSU). He earned his Doctorate at UC-Berkeley in 1990 and immediately began his career in Las Cruces. His research follows the Human-Land Tradition of Geography and focuses on land conservation, cultural geography, and environmental planning.

Jack produces both academic publications and practical results in “land-saving.” His 1993 book, Rocky Mountain Divide: Selling and Saving the West was awarded the J.B. Jackson Prize of the Association of American Geographers and other awards. This volume traced the relationship between cultural narratives and the success of non-profit land trust groups in conserving important landscapes.

He is the co-author of Saving the Ranch: Conservation Easement Design in the American West (2004). Jack has also published widely on conservation easements and other land protection techniques. He helped found and served as Chair of the New Mexico Land Conservancy (NMLC) from 2003-2012. During the period, NMLC conserved over 112,000 acres of agricultural land, wildlife habitat, and scenic open space across New Mexico. He has published papers on a wide array of subjects in cultural geography with a particular focus on sacred sites and the formation of natural resource ideologies.

Over the years, Jack helped secure numerous grants from the National Science Foundation and other agencies. His teaching centers on large enrollment classes: World Regional Geography, Cultural Geography, and New Mexico and the American West. Each fall term he teaches a seminar in Environmental Planning that gives students hands-on instruction in applied methods. Jack is a native of Maine and has a home in Missoula, Montana.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Research Interests

Environmental planning, parks and biological reserves, landscape conservation, cultural geography


Ph.D. Geography, University of California, Berkeley, 1990
M.A. Geography, University of Montana, 1983
B.A. Geography, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1973

Courses Taught

GEOG 112G, World Regional Geography (Syllabus)
GEOG 120G, Culture and Environment
PLN 201, Introduction to Planning and Community Development
GEOG 325V, New Mexico and the American West (Syllabus)
GEOG 351/557, Biogeography
GEOG 363V, Cultural Geography (Syllabus)
GEOG 491/598, Environmental Planning (Syllabus)
GEOG 501, Research Design
GEOG 583, Field Methods


Breland Hall, Room 145
575-646-4806 (Phone)
575-646-7430 (Fax)