A Call to Action – Private Finance to Nature through Ecosystem Restoration—Dimitria Spathakis

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines nature-based solutions (NbS) as actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously benefiting people and nature. UNEP publishes “The State of Finance for Nature”, an annual report tracking global finance flows to NbS and compares them to Read more about A Call to Action – Private Finance to Nature through Ecosystem Restoration—Dimitria Spathakis[…]

Striking a Balance Between Restoration Costs and Benefits—Alaina Geibig

The Yampa River Valley, located in the Northwest corner of Colorado, hosts critical sagebrush habitat that supports wildlife and livestock. In this arid region, water resources hold disproportionate importance, with low-lying wet meadows providing essential sources of diverse forage (Rondeau et al., 2023). As such, wet meadows often fall under private ownership for agricultural purposes, Read more about Striking a Balance Between Restoration Costs and Benefits—Alaina Geibig[…]

Muddying the Water—Alex Wells

Let’s say that you live in northeast Nevada and ranch a stretch of sagebrush watered by a small cottonwood-lined creek. Or that you make your living from your senior water rights and an orderly orchard of fruit trees in western Colorado. Or that you grow alfalfa just north of the Gallatin Range in Montana, your Read more about Muddying the Water—Alex Wells[…]

Introducing Erosion Structures in Dryland Streams—Alaina Geibig

It was early in the morning, but the summer sun was already high above the horizon. I squinted, fumbling to find my sunglasses, as I drove racing against the clock to get to the project site before our partners and volunteers arrived. I slowed among a line of traffic. Traffic?! This was shocking considering I Read more about Introducing Erosion Structures in Dryland Streams—Alaina Geibig[…]

Local Payment for an Ecosystem-Service-Model for Working Lands Stewardship

In partnership with The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, UHPSI research assistants are exploring possibilities of developing a payment-for-ecosystem services model to support stewardship of wet meadows using low-tech methods on conserved working lands in the Yampa Valley. Specifically, our research assistants are investigating 1) the ecological benefits of installing natural erosion infrastructure in incised, Read more about Local Payment for an Ecosystem-Service-Model for Working Lands Stewardship[…]

Reflecting On a Summer in the San Luis Valley – Kathleen Voight

During the several months of interviews I conducted, I met with ranchers in work trucks, in hay barns, and in farm shops. I accompanied ranchers setting up fence, moving cattle, hauling round bales, checking sprinklers, and packing plant samples. We chatted over kitchen tables and on back porches, sharing meals and sharing stories. In addition Read more about Reflecting On a Summer in the San Luis Valley – Kathleen Voight[…]

A Future of Ranching in the San Luis Valley, Colorado

By area, livestock grazing is the single largest land use across the San Luis Valley, across the state of Colorado, and across the United States. While livestock producers are not often seen as conservationists in environmental spaces, ranchers steward private and public landscapes that provide ecosystem services and support plant, wildlife, and human communities across Read more about A Future of Ranching in the San Luis Valley, Colorado[…]

Reconciling Conservation and Conservatism in Cattle Ranching—Kathleen Voight

Much of my research involves talking to ranchers, who are often older, often male, and often conservative. I receive names and phone numbers through word of mouth, knowing many ranchers may not have cell service at their home, may not text, or may not want to speak with someone pursuing a Master of Environmental Science Read more about Reconciling Conservation and Conservatism in Cattle Ranching—Kathleen Voight[…]

Changing Agriculture in a Changing Climate: Exploring Farmers’ Responses to Climate Change via Multispecies Ethnography

Across the Southwestern United States, the already pervasive effects of climate change foreshadow a stark future for farmers. While there is substantial quantitative research regarding the impacts of climate change on agriculture, there is minimal qualitative research to ground abstract statistics in the lived experiences of farmers. Julia’s master’s research aims to understand how farmers Read more about Changing Agriculture in a Changing Climate: Exploring Farmers’ Responses to Climate Change via Multispecies Ethnography[…]

Assessing restoration outcomes on natural gas well pads in the Upper Green River Basin of Wyoming

The Jonah Field is a large natural gas field in southwestern Wyoming leased to energy operators by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The development of natural gas infrastructure is a large-scale disturbance on big sagebrush plant communities in this region. Reclamation is the mandated form of restoration meant to stabilize these disturbances after mineral Read more about Assessing restoration outcomes on natural gas well pads in the Upper Green River Basin of Wyoming[…]

Learning About Place—Julia Chen

I spent over a week in Wyoming and Idaho this spring learning about the environmental issues and organizations working towards solutions. From meeting the housing advocacy group Shelter JH to Wyoming Game and Fish, I began to think about how lived experience influences why we work on the issues we care about and persist. This Read more about Learning About Place—Julia Chen[…]

Gaining a Deeper Understanding of Ecosystems Through Collaboration—Rowan Sharkey

The past year working with the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative has presented a wide range of experiences, connections, and memories that I find carrying me forward on the path of conservation. Throughout this process, our team has been fortunate enough to collaborate with incredible partners such as The Nature Conservancy-MT, World Wildlife Foundation, and Read more about Gaining a Deeper Understanding of Ecosystems Through Collaboration—Rowan Sharkey[…]

Stepping Out of the Steppe—Rachel Renne

As temperatures climbed this summer, so did the elevations of the plots that I visited. My gradual ascent was an attempt to capture the plant community of each site at a time when I would be able to detect and identify most of the plant species. Higher elevations mean lower temperatures, and while many grasses Read more about Stepping Out of the Steppe—Rachel Renne[…]

Improving Model Outputs and Recommendations Through Field Work—Rob Anderson

As I write this, while sitting in my 82-degree New Haven apartment, I cannot help but feel some nostalgia for the two summers I have now spent in Pinedale, WY doing research for my Master’s degree. I have spent the vast majority of my life in New England. Prior to the past two field seasons, Read more about Improving Model Outputs and Recommendations Through Field Work—Rob Anderson[…]