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Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative

Ucross Foundation has recently launched an innovative new partnership with Yale University’s Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.  Two Yale graduate students will work on-site at Ucross throughout the summer, with a third student splitting time between Ucross and Yale, where specialized technology will be used to create models, maps, and other scientific tools.  The project, which follows Ucross Founder Raymond Plank’s vision for Ucross as a demonstration and testing area for land stewardship, is intended to last three years.

The Yale students will conduct their research on the 20,000-acre Ucross Ranch, and their offices will be located in the new Raymond Plank Center.

As Yale Professor Chad Oliver has stated, “To continue human prosperity, we need to continue integrating local know-how with technologies to make land stewardship as effective as possible.  Effective management means efficiency on the one hand, but not losing the unique lifestyle that makes the High Plains special.  That is, we need to manage for as many values as possible—and make no more ‘tradeoffs’ and ‘sacrifices’ among values than necessary”.

Issues to be studied at Ucross include water use, cattle grazing, health of flood plains and riparian areas, native and invasive insects and weeds, bird and mammal populations, and arboreal management. While in Wyoming, the Yale team plans to connect with many local community members, public officials, ranchers, educators, scientists, and others to achieve collaborative success in the project.

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Pictured above, from left:  Sharon Dynak, Ucross Foundation President; Devin Routh, Project Director; Raymond Plank, Ucross Foundation Chairman and Founder; Chad Oliver, Pinchot Professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Director of Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry; and Vivian Banks, Ucross Foundation Director of Development and Community Relations.

Yale Members of the Ucross High Plains Stewardship team, pictured in Ucross Plant Trees T-shirts, from left: Charlie Bettigole, Philip Marshall, Devin Routh, Star Childs, Henry Glick, and Lindsi Seegmiller. In center: Chad Oliver.