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Home on the Range

April 19, 2018
woman in tall prairie grass
Transfer student Jordan Skovgard pursues her passion for rangeland ecology at UW.

Transfer student Jordan Skovgard pursues her passion for rangeland ecology at UW. 

By Micaela Myers 

Transfer student Jordan Skovgard of Buffalo, Wyo., plans to make rangeland restoration work her life’s career. It’s a passion she fostered through internships at the University of Wyoming Sheridan Research and Extension Center while earning her associate degree from Sheridan College. She then transferred to UW to complete her bachelor’s in rangeland ecology and watershed management. She’s also working toward an accelerated master’s program through the extension center and UW’s Department of Plant Sciences.

Skovgard says that the rangeland ecology program offers many possibilities and room for growth. “It is a very tight-knit, supportive atmosphere for students,” she says. “There are also plenty of opportunities to learn outside of class and be part of a community. There are lots of clubs and organizations, such as Range Club, that help you build a support system when coming to a new place.”

At Sheridan College, Skovgard was part of a team that placed third in an international competition at the Society for Range Management meetings in 2017, and she participated that same year in the inaugural Ranch Crew rangeland problem-solving practicum—a cooperative program among Yale’s Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative, the Sheridan Research and Extension Center, Sheridan College and the Plank Stewardship Initiative. Skovgard also presented her research at UW’s 2017 Undergraduate Research Day and at a Western Society of Weed Science conference in March 2018.

Undergraduate research is one of UW’s strengths, and Skovgard has had the opportunity to work on a number of projects—including studying effective management techniques for bulbous bluegrass at the extension center and sorting pollinators at UW’s integrated weed management experiment area in Cheyenne. The Sheridan Research and Extension Center is one of four research and extension sites operated by UW.

“Working at the Sheridan Research and Extension Center has had a huge influence on my life,” Skovgard says. “This opportunity allowed me to realize how intricate and rewarding working with rangelands can be. There is always something new to learn or a different way to solve various problems on the range.”

Skovgard chose UW for its strong rangeland ecology program and its value. To other transfer students, she emphasizes communication and involvement: “Communicate about everything, including questions and concerns. The other recommendation I have is to get involved. The more input you have, the more informed decisions you can make about your college education. It’s important to work on building a good base within your college community.”

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