UW Student Receives Fellowship to Study Migratory Issues in Grand Teton National Park

May 16, 2008

University of Wyoming graduate student Emilene Ostlind of Big Horn is the recipient of a fellowship award that will allow her to conduct research work in Grand Teton National Park.

Ostlind, pursuing a master of fine arts degree in creative writing and environment and natural resources at UW, is just the fourth recipient of the Boyd Evison Graduate Fellowship. She says she will use her fellowship award to produce a series of nonfiction essays about the pronghorn antelope herd that summers in Grand Teton National Park and winters in the Upper Green River Basin. The effort will promote designation of a national migration corridor for the herd's protection.

The fellowship, sponsored by Grand Teton National Park and the Grand Teton Association (GTA), was established in memory of Boyd Evison after his death in 2002. Evison was noted for his extensive and dedicated service to both the National Park Service (NPS) and GTA. Evison retired in 1994 after a 42-year career with the NPS and later became executive director for the GTA, a non-profit park partner dedicated to aiding interpretive, educational and research programs for Grand Teton National Park.

The fellowship encourages scientific and conservation-related research in national parks for highly motivated graduate students to conduct research within Grand Teton National Park and the greater Yellowstone area. It also supports study leading to a master's or Ph.D. degree in the biosciences, geosciences or social sciences.

Ostlind graduated magna cum laude from UW in 2004 earning multiple undergraduate degrees -- B.A. degrees in environment and natural resources, humanities/fine arts and Spanish. She also received numerous awards and honors during her academic career, including becoming a Wyoming candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship in 2004.

"While scientific studies, resource management planning and even political lobbying play crucial roles in the conservation of habitat and wild places, I would propose that creative arts most strongly influence public attitudes about how to prioritize land use," Ostlind says. "Throughout the history of American conservation, each landmark event or movement has been preceded by literature that compelled general audiences and connected them to landscapes, flora, fauna and the ecosystem elements -- often those in imminent danger."

As part of her project, Ostlind plans to hike the length of the pronghorn migration path from the Red Desert south of Pinedale to Grand Teton National Park. She also will spend the summer interacting with scientists and conservationist groups that are trying to bring attention to the pronghorn migratory path and the establishment of a national migration corridor.

The Evison Fellowship provides tuition assistance and a yearly stipend to cover travel and field research costs. Grand Teton offers housing and office space for students during field sessions.

For more information about the Boyd Evison Graduate Fellowship, call Jan Lynch, GTA executive director, at (307) 739-3406.

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