Twelve MSU graduate students and faculty are better-informed and (even) more inspired about their work after spending a week-end in central Montana. Traveling as the “Grasslands Working Group,” we visited land managers and land owners engaged in restoration of the sagebrush steppe and forest ecosystems of the iconic “Charles M. Russell” region.
Seeking to better understand the social, economic, political and ecological dimensions of restoration, we visited ranchers, farmers, and conservationists and the landscapes where they live and work.
We toured agricultural fields undergoing restoration to native plant mixes, water infrastructure and the site of the 2017 Lodgepole Complex grassland wildfire. Our local hosts and guides represented area ranch operations, local conservation districts, the NRCS and BLM, and the American Prairie Reserve.
The MSU Grasslands Working Group acts as hub for network building and knowledge exchange among diverse disciplines and off-campus constituencies. Our broader community of stakeholders includes anyone with an interest in the resilience of Montana’s rural range and grassland landscapes—including sagebrush steppe and mixed grass prairie plant communities and the variety of introduced plant communities among them, such as cultivated crops—and the diverse social and economic systems they support.