Politics and the Yellowstone Ecosystem: Announcing the 2013 Stewardship of Public Lands Faculty Seminar

By George Mehaffy, Vice President of Academic Leadership & Change, AASCU


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!

Program Highlights:

  • 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.

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