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Register for Public Lands Seminar in Yellowstone

We want to make sure that our higher ed NCDDers know that there are a few more spaces left for a great program on dealing with public issues being held in beautiful Yellowstone National Park this July 27 – August 1. The program is hosted for higher ed professionals by the AASCU. We’ve shared the NIFI announcement about the program below, and you can learn more from the program page here.

Public Lands Seminar Program PageHow does a democracy manage competing but often equally legitimate positions over public resources? How are the rights of all citizens protected in conflicts over public lands? How do universities design courses and programs to help undergraduates develop the understandings and skills necessary to think about, and become engaged in conflict management and resolution? How do we help undergraduates become more thoughtful, more engaged citizens for our democracy?

The American Democracy Project (ADP) is creating new strategies to answer that question. For the past ten summers, faculty and administrators from American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) campuses have spent a week studying political disputes in the iconic first national park in the world, Yellowstone National Park. The first year, 2005, we studied wolf re-introduction. Twenty-six (26) faculty members from 19 campuses spent a week in the Park, first studying the biology and the politics of wolf re-introduction.

But the most innovative part of the program is when we traveled outside the Park to talk to citizens and activists on both sides of the issue, to understand the controversy from their point of view. At the end of the week-long program, we considered ways that faculty might develop programs on their own campus that focused on (1) national public resource issues such as wolf re-introduction and (2) local public resource issues such as oil drilling on national seashores, wind turbines in state parks, and restoration efforts in wetlands.

For the last ten summers, we expanded the focus of the program to examine a variety of conflicts in the entire Yellowstone region, including bison and brucellosis, winter use, wolves, and grizzly bears. Our program is entitled Politics and the Yellowstone Ecosystem. In this program, we spend six (6) days in Yellowstone National Park in a combination of activities, beginning with a study of the science and history of the controversies, listening to scientists and Park rangers. Then we interview local citizens on both sides of the issues, including political activists, business people, ranchers, and other citizens.

The goal of this project is to develop new strategies and new approaches that colleges and universities can use to help undergraduates become thoughtful, informed, and engaged citizens. In a world too often filled with bitter partisan politics, this non-partisan project seeks to move beyond rhetoric and confrontation, providing students with new models that promote understanding and resolution. In a political environment where special interest groups tend to push people to polarized positions, we often try to seek common ground.

The program, held at Mammoth Hot Spring Hotel at the northern end of the Park, begins late afternoon on Monday, July 27th and ends at noon on Saturday, August 1st. The cost of the program is $1,395, which includes five (5) nights individual room lodging at Mammoth Hotel (each participant will have a separate hotel room or cabin); all instruction and instructional materials, AV rental, classroom rental; in-park transportation; and reception and dinner the first night, as well as several other meals. Space does not allow for guest participation in the full program. However, family members or guests may attend some classroom lectures, a few field trips, and evening films and presentations.

For more information on this program please contact:

George Mehaffy 202.478.4672  mehaffyg[at]aascu[dot]org

Jennifer Domagal-Goldman 202.478.7833  domagalj[at]aascu[dot]org

You can find the NIFI announcement on this seminar by visiting www.nifi.org/en/groups/registration-open-politics-and-yellowstone-ecosystem-july-2015-seminar-yellowstone-national. You can find the AASCU seminar’s page at www.aascu.org/programs/adp/SPL.

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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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