ADP’s 12th annual Stewardship of Public Lands faculty seminar was held in Yellowstone National Park from July 27-August 1, 2015. This year 14 faculty members from across the United States and Canada spent a week exploring three public lands controversies in and around Yellowstone. The group talked to various stakeholders about 1) wolf reestablishment, 2) disease management in elk and bison, and 3) winter use of the park.
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This blog post includes excerpts from a recent Indiana State University news release. You’ll find the full release here: http://www.indstate.edu/news/news.php?newsid=4402.
Ten years ago, John Conant, chair of the economics department and the course instructor, and former Indiana State biology department chair Charles Amlaner designed the summer Yellowstone experience after participating in the Stewardship of Public Lands Program as part of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ American Democracy Project, a program that teaches faculty how to promote good citizenship and advocacy.
“We decided we could take secondary teachers to look at the science, policymaking process and economic factors that lead to public policy,” Conant said. “We wanted to show them how to take passionately held beliefs and create policy.”
This year, instead of teachers, the course was geared toward currently enrolled Indiana State students, Conant said, “to let our students see that the issues in Yellowstone are not all black and white.”
“I learned the importance of thoroughly examining an issue from all perspectives, and I realized how important it is to be politically involved,” she [Carter] said. “I really need to do a better job at paying attention to local politics – not just national politics. The best way to make change nationally is to start locally.”
It was an experience that put students at the center of Yellowstone’s “complex, interrelated system,” where [John] Conant said issues of wildlife, environment, politics and advocacy often come to a head.
“Yellowstone is an incredible, beautiful and fascinating lab in which everything clashes and you can see it all more clearly there,” he said. “The social science students can see how complex the science stuff is and a science student can see that it’s not just a research paper being published that gets things done, but it takes a whole process to make change happen.”
Read the full story here: http://www.indstate.edu/news/news.php?newsid=4402
Introduce your students to the stewardship of public lands through the science, history, and politics of Yellowstone National Park in this field program developed jointly by the Yellowstone Association and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Student groups will explore how resource issues on public lands are managed; how land managers deal with different viewpoints on the proper management of those lands; and what role citizens, organizations, and agencies play in the stewardship of those lands.
Multi-day programs are based in Gardiner, Montana at the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park, and are offered year-round. Tuition and lodging are available for as little as $90 per person per day.
For more information: http://www.yellowstoneassociation.org/institute/youth-programs.aspx or call (406) 848-2400. Scholarships for 25% of tuition costs may be available.
The Yellowstone Association, in partnership with the National Park Service, connects people to Yellowstone National Park and our natural world through education.
Politics and the Yellowstone Ecosystem: Announcing the 2013 Stewardship of Public Lands Faculty Seminar
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, and prairie lands, are all sites of controversy. The major points of contention are over ownership and use of the land. 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. Yet whose interests have primacy? And in a democracy, how do the interests of all of these groups get addressed and resolved?
Registration is open for our 9th annual summer “Politics and the Yellowstone Ecosystem” faculty seminar in Yellowstone National Park. Download the program announcement and registration form here. This Stewardship of Public Lands initiative program, one of ADP’s Civic Engagement in Action series imitative with The Yellowstone Association, is open to faculty from any discipline who are teaching at an AASCU college or university. Our community college colleagues from The Democracy Commitment are also welcome to participate!
- We spend six (6) days in Yellowstone National Park in a combination of classroom and field activities, examining four key political controversies: bison, wolves, snowmobiles, and grizzly bears. We begin the week examining the science and history of the controversies, listening to scientists and Park rangers. Then at the end of the week, we interview local citizens on both sides of the issues, including political activists, business people, ranchers, and other citizens.
- The goal of this project is to develop new strategies and new approaches that colleges and universities can use to help undergraduates become thoughtful, informed, and engaged citizens. In a world too often filled with bitter partisan politics, this non-partisan project seeks to move beyond verbal attacks and confrontation, providing students with new models that promote understanding and resolution. In a political environment where special interest groups tend to push people to polarized positions, we seek common ground. The key question of this initiative is: How are competing but equally legitimate interests about public lands resolved in a democracy?
- Family members or guests are welcome to come to Yellowstone with the faculty participant. However, space does not allow for guest participation in the program except for some classroom lectures, a few field trips, and evening films and presentations.
- The cost of the program is $1,295, which includes five (5) nights individual room lodging at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel (in Yellowstone National Park; single occupancy hotel room or cabin); all instruction and instructional materials, AV rental, classroom rental; in-park transportation; and a number of meals, including reception and dinner the first night, lunch Tuesday, and breakfast Wednesday.
For details and registration, see the Program Announcement and Registration Form.
I hope some of you will join us for this program. Please also pass this along to anyone who you think might be interested.
To read more about ADP’s Stewardship of Public Lands Initiative, click here.
You can also read about the 2012 Yellowstone Seminar on the ADP national blog, here.
Copies of ADP’s Stewardship of Public Lands: A Handbook for Educators monograph are available for purchase.
By Jo Arney, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Administration and ADP Campus Coordinator, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
As you drive through the Roosevelt Archway entering Yellowstone National Park you notice an engraving that reads “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”
While just over 3 million visitors both benefit from and enjoy the park each summer, a unique set of environmental policy problems arises in trying to manage this public good. From the reintroduction of wolves to debates about the winter use of snowmobiles, citizens hold divergent opinions about polices related to the park and its surrounding communities.
One of the current controversies involves control of a disease, brucellosis, in Yellowstone bison. For over four decades the management of this idyllic symbol of the American West has been labeled as a “wicked” policy problem. The brucellosis controversy stems from a biological disease, but manifests itself as a political conundrum for the state of Montana. As the bison migrate out of the park they come into contact with herds of cattle; the livelihood of private ranchers is dependent upon keeping their cattle brucellosis free. Over the course of the last decade, thousands of wild bison have been sent to slaughter in an attempt to protect the ranching industry.
In August 2012, 17 faculty members from a variety of disciplines and campuses gathered in Yellowstone for the eight annual Stewardship of Public Lands seminar, a Civic Engagement in Action Series initiative of the American Democracy Project. We were led by the AASCU leadership comprised of George Mehaffy and John Hammang and a Yellowstone Association team comprised of Brad Bulin and Danielle Chalfant. Together, we spent six days exploring controversial issues in and around Yellowstone.
This was my second time as a seminar participant. After returning from my first SPL seminar in Yellowstone during the summer of 2009, I credited the seminar with being one of the single greatest learning experiences of my career. I believed the same during this second iteration. Over the past three years I have become very passionate about many of the issues covered in the seminar and I have been lucky enough to be able to take students to Yellowstone to have the same experience. One of my student’s wrote the following upon his return:
Throughout my college career, I have always been extremely interested in public policy. However, I never considered myself an outdoorsman. Despite this fact, I still consider going to Yellowstone and studying public policy there one of my most positive experiences in my academic career. It was extremely beneficial to have the firsthand experience and chat with the Yellowstone locals about issues that impact them on a daily basis, such as brucellosis, the wolf population, the consequences of having non-native fish in Yellowstone, and efforts to reduce pollution in the area. Not to mention it is an added bonus to have the remarkable scenes around you every day at Yellowstone Park. Studying these challenging issues really opened my eyes to other public policy issues that I may not face in the Midwest region.
I encourage you to consider participating in next year’s Stewardship of Public Lands seminar (July 29 – August 3, 2013)!