Stewardship of Public Lands

This program provides interdisciplinary experiential learning and professional development for faculty, staff, and administrators by exploring conflict resolution in public lands. It leads to strategic intentionality in prioritizing sustainability and constructive discourse on campuses.

Learn more.
Glacier National Park

Glacier National Pace entrance

Exploring conflict resolution in public lands.

Between 2004–2019, AASCU’s ADP offered the Stewardship of Public Lands (SOPL) program, allowing over 170 participants to integrate conflict resolution, sustainability, and experiential learning into more than 80 AASCU institutions. We are thrilled to accept applications to join the SOPL 2024 cohort that will visit Glacier National Park from June 24–28, 2024.

Who should participate?

  • Administrators 
  • Faculty  
  • Staff  

How you’ll benefit.

  • Develop strategies for integrating sustainability into the curriculum and co-curriculum 
  • Plan for experiential student trips to national parks 
  • Explore regional collaborations with cohort members 
  • Share resources and teaching strategies surrounding controversies within and about public lands 
The Glacier National Park 2024 Program

How does a democracy manage competing but often equally legitimate positions over public resources?

How are the rights of all citizens represented in conflicts over public lands?

The answers to these questions are found by modeling how discourse can be filled with conflict and disagreement and, yet, still produce a way forward for all stakeholders. For over 15 years, SOPL brought participants to Yellowstone National Park to explore conflict resolution. This robust program was re-envisioned during the pandemic.

The heart of the program remains the same. SOPL will place participants in the heart of a community that is dealing with major issues and plans a curriculum devoted to hearing various perspectives, exploring the ongoing strategies for resolution, and reflecting how this information can be reconstituted within a participant’s own community to encourage students to think critically and compassionately about society.

Participants will engage for a full year with a cohort and develop a compendium of their discoveries including, but not limited to, strategies for conflict resolution, ideas for incorporating discourse related to SOPL into curriculum, and approaches for encouraging students to be better stewards of place.

Glacier National Park waterfallGlacier National Park woods

Participants will engage in interdisciplinary experiential learning during this professional development opportunity and will create a community of practitioners and collaborators. In addition to producing a compendium that can be used on all AASCU campuses, the cohort members will develop strategic goals of how to prioritize sustainability and constructive discourse for students on their campuses.


  • January−May: The engagement begins virtually, building community and deepening knowledge of stewardship efforts and strategies.
  • June 24-28: The group will meet in Glacier National Park for a four-day/five-night convening where we will study how rangers, indigenous tribes, scientists, and community members are engaging in productive dialogue about climate change and diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility issues. While at the park, we will explore the cultural history and significance of Glacier National Park to indigenous communities; learn of the historical presence of bison in the area and the controversy of reintroduction; and witness the impact of tourism, ecosystem change due to climate change, and water and land management decisions.
  • July−December: The cohort will put into practice the lessons they’ve learned and collaborate on a compendium of their discoveries including, but not limited to, strategies for conflict resolution, ideas for incorporating discourse related to SOPL into curriculum, and approaches for encouraging students to be better stewards of place.
  • Monday, June 24: Arrival to airport, transportation into Glacier NP (provided by Glacier Institute), Field Camp welcome, camp logistics, itinerary overview, AASCU program in evening
  • Tuesday, June 25: Hikes to Upper Two Med Lake trail and Rockwall Falls or Swiftcurrent Nature Trail and Iceberg/Grinnell/Cracker Lakes.
    Objectives: Indigenous initiatives; cultural history and significance of Two Medicine Valley; discuss the historical presence of bison in the area and the controversy of reintroductions
  • Wednesday, June 26: Hikes to Hidden Meadow or Covey Meadow and Big Prairie.
    Objectives: how to foster a community of land stewards; mitigation of “nuisance” wildlife activity; history of the homesteads and settlements; wolves and bears in North Fork Valley
  • Thursday, June 27: Hikes to Highline Trail or Hidden Lake Overlook.
    Objectives: Climate Change in the Alpine; GNP’s glaciers, pika as a bioindicator, & white bark pine habitat loss; explore park visitor use, methods to reduce visitor impact, & dual mandate
  • Friday, June 28: Camp wrap-up, move out of cabins, transportation to airport by Glacier Institute
  • Dates: Monday, June 24, 2024 through Friday, June 28, 2024
  • Cost: $1600 per person. This includes all lodging, meals, and transportation to and within the park.
  • Lodging and meals: The Glacier Institute’s Field Camp is located inside Glacier National Park’s West Entrance. Field Camp consists of five rustic cabins with twin size beds that can house up to five guests each; there is a separate community bath house. All meals will be provided during the stay at Field Camp and dietary modifications will be honored.
  • Transportation: Participants are responsible for their own transportation to/from the Glacier Park International Airport (Kalispell, MT) airport. The Glacier Institute will provide shuttle trips to and from the airport to their Field Camp. All in-park transportation will be provided during the seminar. If you choose to drive to Glacier, we will arrange parking by the Glacier Field Camp.

The cohort has been filled, but please fill out an application if you would like to be added to the waitlist.. We do require that all applicants are able to join the in-person trip from June 24-28, 2024.

Once you have filled out your application, we will review it and send a link to process your payment. Once we have received payment, you will officially be part of the cohort. Space for this trip is extremely limited and the cohort will be filled on a first-come basis.

Join waitlist.

AASCU will fully refund your payment if you provide Cathy Copeland a written refund request by January 15, 2024. After that date, refunds will not be issued.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park



institutions integrated information about public lands or public resources onto their campuses. 


participants developed resources to share their work with students. 


years of participants creating their own unique programs to explore national parks with undergraduates. 

2024 cohort
Scott W. Bonham

Scott W.


Associate Professor

Western Kentucky University



Professor of English

Indiana University Kokomo

Tiffany Deater



Assistant Professor of Environmental Film & Literature

State University of New York at Oswego

Kyle Fredrick



Professor of Geology

Pennsylvania Western University

Lesley Graybeal



Director of Service-Learning

University of Central Arkansas

Jarrod Hagadorn



Professor, Cinema and Screen Studies

State University of New York at Oswego

Hannah Hanshaw



AmeriCorps Program Director

University of Central Arkansas

Ian Kaleoʻokalani Pilago


Kaleoʻokalani Pilago

Center for Maunakea Stewardship: Education and Outreach Coordinator

University of Hawai’i at Hilo

Steven Koether



Assistant Professor – Biological Sciences; ADP Coordinator

Sam Houston State University (TX)

Katrina Lacher



Chair and Professor; Director, Sustainability Studies

University of Central Oklahoma



Professor, Political Science

Middle Georgia State University

Matthew S. Makley

Matthew S.


Professor and Chair, Department of History

Metropolitan State University of Denver (CO)

Cayle Moreo



Sustainability Director

Indiana State University

Alana Ortiz



DEI Specialist

University of Hawai’i at Hilo

Sarah Praskievicz



Associate Professor

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Nathan A. Schaumleffel

Nathan A.


Associate Professor & Program Coordinator, Public Lands & Recreation Administration Program & Nonprofit Leadership Program

Indiana State University

Nona Shipman



Co-Director, One World One Water Center

Metropolitan State University of Denver (CO)

Jennifer Stotter



Director, Office of Equal Opportunity

University of Hawai’i at Hilo

Scott Turner



Professor of Political Science

University of Montevallo (AL)

Jeffrey Wozniak



Associate Professor

Sam Houston State University (TX)

Kim Yates



Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Environmental Education

Northern Kentucky University



Professor and Chair, Department of Administration of Justice

University of Hawai’i at Hilo

Program resources

Released in 2010, this monograph details the work of the AASCU institutions as they explore the various issues surrounding the controversies over public lands.

Read the full report.

A faculty member’s story of how she implemented lessons learned from the initiative.

Read more.
Member Spotlight
Mammoth Cave

Mammoth to Mammoth documentary

Three faculty members at Western Kentucky University created this film while they participated in the American Democracy Project’s Stewardship of Public Lands Seminar, a one-week professional development course in Yellowstone National Park. As they studied the history, science and politics of some of the major controversies in the Yellowstone ecosystem (snowmobiling, grizzly bears, and bison), they developed a team-taught course to deploy at their local national park, Mammoth Cave. 

Buy video.

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