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[…]

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[…]

A Monitoring Plan for Beaver Wellbeing and Hydrologic Impacts

Effective ecological monitoring is a critical component of managing ecosystems in a way that balances the needs of people and wildlife. In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy – Wyoming (TNC) and the Water for Wildlife Foundation, UHPSI research assistant Alex Wells is developing a monitoring plan that will evaluate both beaver wellbeing and the impacts Read more about A Monitoring Plan for Beaver Wellbeing and Hydrologic Impacts[…]

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[…]

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[…]

Dis-Assembling Agriculture— Julia Jacobson

Clouds of dust plume behind my car as I venture down the long driveway to my first farm interview of the summer. Despite the high water year and lush greenery, the ground here is distinctively dry. A curious butterfly flutters through one open window and out the other. Toward the end of the driveway, an Read more about Dis-Assembling Agriculture— Julia Jacobson[…]

Modeling Radiation Use Efficiency in Big Sagebrush Understory

Sam’s research focuses on gathering field data to pair with remotely sensed imagery to then model a physiological plant trait called radiation use efficiency. Radiation use efficiency is the proportion of incoming solar radiation that is converted to biomass. Decreases in efficiency of plants has been shown to correlate with stress and decreased production and Read more about Modeling Radiation Use Efficiency in Big Sagebrush Understory[…]

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[…]