…provided opportunity to learn more about grazing systems and the positive impacts that can have while preserving the ecological functions…one of the best opportunities to learn about the challenges [faced] in other regions of the country and to learn from an experience that cannot be brought to the classroom. Observing the diverse systems … gave me the opportunity to prepare better as graduate student and to develop new connections that have been very beneficial for collaborations and partnership in current Extension and Research assignments. The benefit and experience that students gain in this tour cannot be measured with grades, but how we translated the information to be better scientists and stewards of the land.
Ecology of Grazing Lands Systems is a field oriented course that takes participants into diverse grazing lands ecosystems across several states and may include other countries. Students learn about:
- The components and functions of grazing lands and how these vary in different ecoregions.
- Research needs, objectives and techniques in soil-plant-animal research.
- Forage-livestock ecology and systems in grazing lands (cropland, pastureland, range land and forestland).
- The role of forages in conservation practices, wildlife habitat, and sustainable agriculture.
- Industries involved with forages and livestock.
This graduate level course includes a two-week field trip open to students who meet the qualifications set by their professor. Graduate credit is received through the students home institution and is credited to their chosen program of study. Enrollment is limited to about 30 students and is taught during the summer. At least two faculty members will participate in the field trip in its entirety each time that the class is offered. Routes for the field trip will be different each time the course is offered, and students will travel through widely divergent ecosystems. International trips may be offered in some years. A student can enroll for this course more than once, but with no additional credit and pending available space.