• Stewardship of Public Lands

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    May 20-25, 2019

    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 200 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.

    2019 Program Details

    The program, which begins late afternoon on Monday, May 20th and ends at noon on Saturday, May 25th will be held at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in Yellowstone National Park. The cost of the program includes five (5) nights lodging. Each participant will have a separate hotel room or cabin; all instruction and instructional materials, AV rental, classroom rental; all in-park transportation; and several meals, including reception and dinner the first night.  

    The 2019 program cost is $1,695 per participant.  


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    Space is limited. You can register for the 2019 Politics and the Yellowstone Ecosystem Faculty Seminar here

    2019 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 our schedule.

    Monday 5/20/19

    Program Introduction (participants only please)

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

    Tuesday 5/21/19

    Wildlife Within the Borders

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

    Wednesday 5/22/19 

    Wildlife Beyond the Borders

    • Depart Mammoth Hot Springs for Tom Miner Basin
    • Explore predator mitigation techniques. Tom Miner Basin Association
    • Lunch in the Field
    • Paradise Valley Rancher [cattle rancher perspective] 
    • Structured Discussion, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference Room
    • Naturalist and Photographer, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference Room  

    Thursday 5/23/19

    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
    • Climate scientist, - discussion on climate trends in the GYE and climate analyzer website
    • Structured Discussion, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference Room 

    Friday 5/24/19 

    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
    • 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 14 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 Yellowstone Forever 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

    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.