High Plains Stewardship Initiative

In May 2013, the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies began a joint operation with the Ucross Foundation, the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative, with the purpose of integrating state-of-the-art research tools and models with the existing ranch management. The project originated with Ucross Foundation Chairman and Founder Raymond Plank’s (Yale ’44) long-term vision for Ucross as a working model of land stewardship for the 21st century.

The Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative team includes current Yale students and recent Yale graduates who will spend the next three years working to combine summer fieldwork with remote sensing (from satellites and existing aerial imagery) to address a variety of land stewardship issues including, but not limited to, invasive plant species distribution, wildlife presence, water flow, and soil erosion. At its essence, effective land stewardship seeks to understand and manage for the benefit of an entire ecosystem — including living and non-living aspects, animals and plants, human and non-human entities.

A large component of the Initiative will be to engage professionals, ranchers, technical experts, and stakeholders local to Wyoming in the research so as to ensure the models, tools, and products that are developed will be useful for on-the-ground-management.  The team will pursue a suite of topics specific to the Ucross ranch that will also be applicable beyond the High Plains of Wyoming.  Intersections with Ucross Foundation artists-in-residence, Wyoming educators and legislators will add creative sparks to the project.

The Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative is based in two locations: Greeley Memorial Laboratory (370 Prospect St, New Haven CT 06511) and the Raymond Plank Center (2755 E Highway 14 Clearmont WY 82835). For any questions or curiosities about the project, please email Devin Routh (devin.routh@yale.edu). During the summertime, the team is happy to host visitors at the Raymond Plank Center (though we ask that you contact us beforehand to schedule a visit during non-fieldwork hours).

Visit the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative Facebook Page