July 1, 2020

Current Fellowships

Wreckreation? Livelihood, Labor, Work, Play, and the Environment in the Rural American West

Industry, based on landscape, has been foundational to the American West’s cultural and ideological underpinnings. The extraction and outdoor recreation industries are two of these core industries, both reliant on the vast public lands and natural resources of the West. For her Master’s thesis, Mara is exploring community change within the context of transition from extractive natural resource use to the “non-extractive” natural resource use of the outdoor recreation industy. Read more here.

Energy Use and Access on the Hopi Reservation

Delaney is working with the Hopi Utility Authority to better understand electricity and energy use on the Hopi Reservation. Her research examines energy burden, both in its monetary manifestations as-well as its emotional and temporal manifestations. Through semi-structured interviews she is determining the current energy paradigm and use patterns of households and sentiments regarding electricity. Her research is focused on understand household energy burdens holistically as well as residents’ perceptions and preferences regarding electrification. Read more here.

Impact of Climate Change on Plant Community Composition in Western Wyoming and Implications for Wildlife Migration

Increasing temperature and changing precipitation patterns with climate change will have substantial impacts on plant communities, particularly in water-limited drylands. In western Wyoming, these climatic variables could result in a shift in plant community composition from cool season (C3) species to warm season (C4) species. Altered resource-level dynamics have the potential to then make changes to wildlife behavior, and migrating ungulates tracking spring green-up through the region could be particularly susceptible. Read more here.

Investigating Shrub-Grass Interactions in Big Sagebrush Ecosystems Across the West

In temperate drylands, the amount and timing of precipitation interacts with soil texture to determine patterns of seasonal soil water availability at different soil depths. The coexistence of grasses and woody plants in these ecosystems has been attributed to partitioning of soil water resources, with grasses relying on resources in shallow soils, while woody plants rely on those in deeper soils. Yet, in ecosystems where grasses and woody plants coexist—such as big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) ecosystems in western North America—the consequences of soil water resource partitioning on competition remains unresolved. Read more here.

Elevating Native Led Bison Restoration Stories on the Great Plains

Ross is partnering with Tanka Fund, a Native led non-profit on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Tanka Fund’s mission is to return bison to native land, lives, and economies across North America. Ross is providing support to the Tanka Fund through the creation of a promotional storytelling campaign that highlighs Indigenous bison caretakers and the importance of their work to ecosystems and local communities. Read more here.

Clay, Silt, Sand, and Data: Revealing Soil Organic Carbon on Native Lands

Raffa is supporting Indigenous data-empowerment efforts by researching how Tribal Nations may engage with soil carbon markets, which offer compensation to land managers who build up Soil Carbon on their land through regenerative rangeland practices or agriculture. He will be working with Aude Chesnais (Native Land Information Systems), Dr. Justin Farrell (Yale), and Dr. Kyle Whyte (Univ of Michigan) to analyze soil carbon on Native land across the West, and how carbon stock may change in the future with altered land management strategies. Read more here.