• Stewardship of Public Lands

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    Register Online for the Seminar here! (Seminar is full; to be added to wait list, email arneyj@aascu.org)

    Throughout the United States, but especially in the West, the question of who will control public lands is a hotly debated topic. The public lands of the West, including national parks, forests, grazing lands and prairie lands, are all sites of controversy. The major points of contention are inevitably over use of the public resources. Timber, mining, oil and gas producers, developers, farmers, ranchers, hunters, business owners, recreational users and environmentalists are all groups who assert claims to influence and use public lands. Yet whose interests have primacy? And in a democracy, how should the interests of all of these groups be addressed and resolved? 

    Seminar Format and Content

    During this annual seminar, faculty representatives from participating AASCU institutions spend a week in Yellowstone National Park with our partner, Yellowstone Forever, studying controversies about wolves, bison, snowmobiles and grizzlies. To date, more than 180 faculty members from more than 80 campuses have participated in the program. The week-long program begins with study of the science and history of the controversies, listening to scientists and park rangers. Then at the end of the week, the faculty participants travel beyond the park boundaries to interview local citizens on both sides of the issues, including political activists, business people, environmentalists and ranchers, as well as representatives from organizations that represent various stakeholders. Faculty then return to their campuses to design programs for students, some focused on the controversies in the Yellowstone ecosystem, others focused on local public land and resource issues.

    2018 Program Details

    The program, which begins late afternoon on Monday, May 21st and ends at noon on Saturday, May 26th will be held at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in Yellowstone National Park. The cost of the program includes five (5) nights lodging at Mammoth Hotel (each participant will have a separate hotel room or cabin); all instruction and instructional materials, AV rental, classroom rental; in-park transportation; and several meals, including reception and dinner the first night. 

    The 2018 program cost is $1,495 per participant.  


    Yellowstone Forever logo


    Space is limited. You can register for the 2018 Politics and the Yellowstone Ecosystem Faculty Seminar here .  

    2018 Program Itinerary (tentative)

    Flexibility is key when enjoying an environment like Yellowstone.  Please understand that wildlife, inclement weather, and other factors may cause a change in your schedule.

    5/21/18 Monday

    Program Introduction (participants only please)

    Dinner, Introductions, & Seminar Orientation, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference Room 

    5/22/18 Tuesday  

    Wildlife Within the Borders

    Wildlife Watching on the Northern Range 
    Lunch in Mammoth Hot Springs
    Rick Wallen, YNP bison management, Stephen’s Creek holding facility 
    Structured Discussion, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference Room 

     5/23/18 Wednesday 

     Wildlife Beyond the Borders

    Depart Mammoth Hot Springs for Tom Miner Basin
    Explore predator mitigation techniques with Hilary Anderson, Tom Miner Basin Association
    Lunch in the Field
    Druska Kinkie, Paradise Valley Rancher [cattle rancher perspective], Druska’s residence 
    Structured Discussion, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference Room
    Guest Speaker: MacNeil Lyons, Naturalist and Photographer, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference Room  

    5/24/18 Thursday  

    Climate Change Implications in Yellowstone 

    Depart Mammoth Hot Springs
    Short hike to observe pika, indicator species for climate change effects
    Lunch in the field
    |Short hike in fire revegetation area, discussion on climate change effects on wildfire
    Mike Tercek, climate scientist, discussion on climate trends in the GYE and climate analyzer website
    Structured Discussion, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference Room 

    5/25/18 Friday 

    The Park’s Dual Mandate

    Depart for Old Faithful
    Hike short Grand Prismatic Overlook trail
    Walk geyser basins
    View Old Faithful
    Lunch in the Field
    Ryan Atwell, Yellowstone Social Scientist, discussion on current visitation trends and strategies to mitigate the pressures 
    Structured Discussion, Mammoth Hot Spring Conference Room

    5/26/18 Saturday 

    Program Closing 

    Blended course information, policy, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference Room 

    Products of the Annual Seminar

    Over the past 11 years, faculty participants in the Yellowstone Seminar have developed a variety of projects and activities for their own students. For example, in 2007, a group of participants created a documentary entitled Mammoth to Mammoth about this initiative. A number of former participants have created their own unique programs in Yellowstone for their own undergraduates. Students led by former Yellowstone Seminar participants have come to Yellowstone during the summer, in fall and spring sessions, and in winter. They have come for as little as three days, and as long as two weeks. Many of the faculty program developers use the services of the Yellowstone Association to assist them as they design and execute their programs. Many other former Yellowstone Seminar participants have created programs on their own campuses and in their own regions about public lands or public resource issues, modeling their program on the Yellowstone Seminar experience. In 2010, the Stewardship of Public Lands: A Handbook for Educators monograph was released, detailing the work of the AASCU institutions as they explore the various issues surrounding the controversies over public lands. This monograph is available for purchase on the AASCU website (see Resources, below).

    Stewardship of Public Lands: A National Blended Course (to be released in 2018)

    Work is underway to create a national blended course based on the Yellowstone Seminar. This course, part of AASCU's National Blended Course Consortium, is being developed by faculty members from a group of AASCU campuses, along with instructional designers, videographers, graphic designers and other experts. Once completed, the course will be made available for use on AASCU campuses throughout the United States. AASCU has already created a rich repository of materials for the course. In addition, we have entered into an agreement with the National Park Service (NPS), which will make many NPS resources available for use in the course. This agreement will also grant students who are enrolled in the course free access to U.S. national parks. Learn more about the National Blended Course Consortium here.