Graduates Energize a Frigid World

The surface hoar reached over one centimeter in length on this morning; the thermometer reads -25 below zero. The winter world on the Kelly Campus brings little sound and even fewer movements. All is still; there is not an animal to be found outside. Inside, however, there is an abundance of activity. Graduate students started 2013 by engaging with various endeavors; all of which require full commitment and engagement.

One third of the Graduate cohort began 2013 by working with 12 high achieving students from Missouri. Graduate students carefully crafted a series of lessons that will educate this group of gifted and talented students from the Midwest about the various plant and animal adaptations of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, snow science, and how abiotic forces influence the biotic world. Each day, students will have an opportunity to travel on cross-country skis or snowshoes, further honing their connection to this winter wonderland.

Graduate students who did not begin the year teaching are currently engaged in the course Ecological Inquiry, taught by Dr. Kevin Krasnow. During this interdisciplinary course, graduate students will examine one of the many highly contentious natural resource management issues of the Rocky Mountain West. Some will choose to explore the various stakeholders involved with the supplemental feeding of elk in the region. Others will look at the effects of fossil fuel extraction on human and natural communities. Regardless of the topic, graduate students will develop an understanding of how various natural resource issues in the West shape our policy and our understanding of the land.

Whether teaching or participating in academics, 2013 has started off with a flurry of activity for graduate students. And while the temperature outside remains low, their enthusiasm for educating others about the splendor and complexity of this place remains intense. Not even a morning when mercury reads well below zero can squelch their passion.

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