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[…]

A How-To Guide for Beaver Monitoring—Alex Wells

May is here, bringing with it the end of a semester and the end of my time working as a UHPSI Research Assistant in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy Wyoming’s Tensleep Preserve. Even as Wyoming has been re-blanketed in snow, every maple and oak tree in New Haven has spun out fresh fractals of green Read more about A How-To Guide for Beaver Monitoring—Alex Wells[…]

Building Markets for Wetland Restoration: Challenges and Considerations in Colorado’s Yampa Valley— Dimitria Spathakis

How can additive conservation measures be financially incentivized on Western working lands?  Working with Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT), Alaina and I are exploring market-based models for ecosystem services to compensate landowners for their stewardship of wet meadows in Colorado’s Yampa Valley. Often the idea of payment for ecosystem services (PES) conjures thoughts of Read more about Building Markets for Wetland Restoration: Challenges and Considerations in Colorado’s Yampa Valley— Dimitria Spathakis[…]

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[…]

Who Cares?—Sam Wilson

I was explaining my research to someone recently and the proceeding conversation got me thinking. When I described my project and where it was going to be conducted (see project description here) I got a response that I had yet to encounter. The woman I was speaking with asked me ‘who cares about sagebrush?’. At Read more about Who Cares?—Sam Wilson[…]

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 Night of Astronomy—Uthara Vengrai

The astronomer walks up to the podium and everyone goes quiet. There are probably 80 people sitting in this amphitheater at 10:30 PM, waiting to be toured through the sky. We’re at a star party at the McDonald Observatory around 30 miles outside of Marfa, TX. Tonight, this astronomer will guide us, help us see Read more about A Night of Astronomy—Uthara Vengrai[…]

Exotic annual forbs present restoration challenges on natural gas well pads—Damaris Chenoweth

Restoration of natural gas well pads is plagued by invasion from annual forbs and grasses. Exotic annual forbs particularly are well suited to the sandy, salty, disturbed soils found on natural gas well pads in the Upper Green River Basin of southwestern Wyoming. While conducting research this summer on well pads in the Upper Green Read more about Exotic annual forbs present restoration challenges on natural gas well pads—Damaris Chenoweth[…]

Sampling soils in an ancient lake—Damaris Chenoweth

Some days our soil auger hits a layer of shale and instead of retrieving messy handfuls of sandy soil, we hear the dreaded grinding of steel on rock. We accept the disappointment of a missing data point because the alternative is to litter the ground with small holes to find a penetrable spot. Around 50 Read more about Sampling soils in an ancient lake—Damaris Chenoweth[…]

What is the Difference Between a Crop and a Plant?—Julia Jacobson

A few months ago, during one of my first interviews of the summer, I was trying to discern how farmers’ experience of farming varied from crop to crop. For example, what is different about farming tomatoes versus, say, potatoes? I wondered if farmers favored certain crops — or certain methods — and if that might Read more about What is the Difference Between a Crop and a Plant?—Julia Jacobson[…]

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[…]