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Sagebrush rangeland habitats and energy development, the shortgrass prairie ecosystem, and immigration issues in Wyoming are topics of discussion for the Thursday, Nov. 12, fall edition of the University of Wyoming’s popular one-day program -- Saturday U.
Participants are invited to attend one, two or all three of the Saturday University lectures from UW and Gillette College professors from 6-9 p.m. at the Campbell County Public Library. No pre-registration is necessary, and the lectures are free and open to the public. The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a free buffet-style meal and end with dessert and conversation during a concluding reception with the three presenters.
In its eighth year, Saturday U is a collaborative program that connects top UW and community college professors with lifelong learners. Offered six times a year -- twice each in Jackson, Gillette and Sheridan -- Saturday U is sponsored by the university, the UW Foundation and the Wyoming Humanities Council. The Gillette program is presented locally by the UW Outreach School and Gillette College.
Listed below are program topic descriptions and UW and Gillette College professors lecturing:
6:05 p.m. -- “Indirect Responses of Sagebrush-dependent Wildlife to Energy Development in Wyoming,” Jeff Beck, UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Department of Ecosystem Science and Management associate professor.
Sagebrush-dominated rangelands in Wyoming provide essential habitat for a variety of animals that require or depend upon sagebrush, including big game and the greater sage grouse, Beck says. These rangelands overlie economically important energy reserves, including coal, natural gas, oil, uranium and wind.
Beck will discuss studies in Wyoming that are designed to obtain information to better harmonize energy extraction activities with viable wildlife populations in energy-impacted sagebrush habitats.
6:50 p.m. -- “Survival and Adaptation in the Shortgrass Prairie: The Mid-Continental Steppe Ecosystem,” Matthew Craig, Gillette College Department of Science biology faculty member.
Craig says plants and animals that have carved out niches in the shortgrass prairie ecosystem have developed adaptations to withstand climatic extremes, harsh competition and taxing predation pressures.
In his presentation, Craig will explore the adaptations of the extinct Pleistocene megafauna and current flora and fauna, including a look at how explorer Hernando Cortez returned the horse to its ancestral home in the mid-continental steppe ecosystem.
7:35 p.m. -- “The Cowboy State in a World on the Move: Exploring Contemporary Immigration Issues in Wyoming,” Suzan Pritchett, UW College of Law assistant professor and director of UW’s International Human Rights Clinic.
Global migration is on the rise, and national immigration reform appears elusive. Many assume that Wyoming, as the nation’s least populous state, is insulated from the larger immigration debate, Pritchett says. However, immigrants continue to make Wyoming their home, and national and international immigration policies have an effect on local Wyoming communities.
Pritchett will give context to contemporary immigration issues in Wyoming and provide an opportunity to discuss the future of immigration in the Cowboy State.
The next session of Saturday U is Feb. 6 in Sheridan.
For more information, visit the UW website at www.uwyo.edu/saturdayu/.