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?
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.
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. Estimated program cost is between $1,500 and $2,000 per participant. The final cost will be determined by December 1, 2017.
AASCU will begin receiving applications for the 2018 seminar in early December 2017. Application details will be posted on this page.
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.
Program Introduction (participants only please)
Wildlife Within the Borders
Wildlife Watching on the Northern Range Lunch in Mammoth Hot SpringsRick Wallen, YNP bison management, Stephen’s Creek holding facility Structured Discussion, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference Room
Wildlife Beyond the Borders
Depart Mammoth Hot Springs for Tom Miner BasinExplore predator mitigation techniques with Hilary Anderson, Tom Miner Basin AssociationLunch in the FieldDruska Kinkie, Paradise Valley Rancher [cattle rancher perspective], Druska’s residence Structured Discussion, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference RoomGuest Speaker: MacNeil Lyons, Naturalist and Photographer, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference Room
Climate Change Implications in Yellowstone
Depart Mammoth Hot SpringsShort hike to observe pika, indicator species for climate change effectsLunch in the field|Short hike in fire revegetation area, discussion on climate change effects on wildfireMike Tercek, climate scientist, discussion on climate trends in the GYE and climate analyzer websiteStructured Discussion, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference Room
The Park’s Dual Mandate
Depart for Old FaithfulHike short Grand Prismatic Overlook trailWalk geyser basinsView Old FaithfulLunch in the FieldRyan Atwell, Yellowstone Social Scientist, discussion on current visitation trends and strategies to mitigate the pressures Structured Discussion, Mammoth Hot Spring Conference Room
Blended course information, policy, Mammoth Hot Springs Conference Room
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).
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.
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.