Fostering land stewardship and conservation in the American West
through teaching, research, outreach and leadership.
Browse current applied, collaborative research projects
Get the latest updates from students as they chronicle their work
Find out about our programs and how they engage students with western partners
Learn what aspects are at our core and meet our team
program impacts 2021
Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative (UHPSI) within the Yale School of the Environment focuses on stewardship and conservation in the American West. At its core, UHPSI seeks to engage in teaching, research, and outreach on land stewardship, primarily through mentoring students on applied research and management projects with western partners.
Justin Farrell, PhD
Michelle Downey, MS
On December 31, 2020, the Kayenta Coal mine in Arizona officially closed its doors, bringing an end to nearly 40 years of operation on the Navajo Nation. While the closure of the mine has been met with a mix of emotions, there is no denying the significant impact it has had on the Hopi people, Read more about Out in the Cold—Delaney Heileman[…]
In conjunction with The Nature Conservancy-Montana (TNC), Montana Conservation Corps (MCC), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), our team is creating a protocol to evaluate the impacts of low-tech stuctures, sometimes referred to as beaver dam analogs, that have been installed in central Montana. This protocol will leverage GIS and remote sensing technologies, challenging our team Read more about Evaluating Mesic Restoration Efforts in Montana with Geospatial Tools[…]
Kathleen Voight is working with the Additive Conservation department of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) to determine funding priorities for their internally-managed Agricultural Resiliency Fund. CCALT holds easements over 700,000 acres of ranchland across Colorado, with the goal of conserving working landscapes for the benefit of future generations. The Agricultural Resiliency Fund will Read more about Funding Priorities for Improving Ecological Value and Agricultural Viability on Colorado Rangelands[…]
George E. P. Box once said that “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” As we try to make sense of the world, we attempt to rationalize the patterns we see and how they are connected. However, generalizing these connections often narrows our views and eventually solidifies the basic facts we begin to organize Read more about On Developing a Systems Thinking Model—Julia Chen[…]
It’s December here in New Haven, Connecticut. The leaves have all fallen, the grass is done growing, and the days are getting quite short. It also means that Christmas is right around the corner. I was having a conversation with friends the other day about Christmas movies. Afterward, I remembered one that hadn’t come up Read more about Beavers and Space—Sam Wilson[…]
As we examine the complex system of forests, management, and wood products in Wyoming, we are finding that the mosaic of forest type, ownership, and industry infrastructure drive past, current, and future forest restoration. Wyoming’s forests are scattered across the state in five main pockets. Northwestern Wyoming is home to the cultural and ecological behemoth Read more about Restoration Through Ecological Forestry—Jake Barker[…]
Being a research assistant with the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative at YSE has afforded me a variety of opportunities to expand my knowledge in the field of mesic restoration in the western United States. Focusing on a region that is highly susceptible to drought events creates an interesting challenge when tracking water availability. The Read more about Utilizing Geospatial Analysis to Increase Water Availability in the American West—Rowan Sharkey[…]
Julia Chen and Jake Barker are collaborating with The Nature Conservancy-Wyoming to investigate strategies to improve forest health and resilience through targeted forest restoration in Wyoming. At present, the pace and scale of forest restoration in Wyoming is constrained by several factors, including high costs and limited wood-processing infrastructure. The team will apply a system Read more about A Systems Thinking Approach to Wood Processing and Forest Health in Wyoming[…]
Check out Shannon’s published article here, which draws on the research she did with Ucross.
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[…]
Hear from some of our 2022 Western Resource Fellows about what they are doing!
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[…]
Industry, based on landscape, has been foundational to the American West’s cultural and ideological underpinnings since the beginning of colonization. While natural resource extraction industries (mining, logging, ranching, agriculture) spurred westward expansion and continues to be a significant industry in the West, a new industry is of increasing importance, outdoor recreation. Both the extraction and Read more about Why study outdoor recreation in the American West?—Mara MacDonell[…]
Place, People, and Politics: A Short Reflection on a Summer of Research and Rivers in the American West—Mara MacDonell
Over the course of 14 days this August, I traveled down the calm waters of Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons of the Green River and the raucous and roiling waters of Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River. I went on this journey after a summer of conducting interviews and thinking critically about the role of the Read more about Place, People, and Politics: A Short Reflection on a Summer of Research and Rivers in the American West—Mara MacDonell[…]
Soil is the tapestry upon which all life is weaved. Our water is cleaned through it. Our food rises from it. As young children, our bare feet kiss it. After death, we return back to it. And so, the cycle goes, for time immemorial. Most splendid of all, a full-spectrum of life flourishes in just Read more about Gold Underfoot! Soil Organic Matter matters—Raffa Sindoni[…]