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UW Students Complete Outdoor Recreation-Based Projects Despite Pandemic

April 29, 2020
group of people seated at a long table
Students in UW’s outdoor recreation and tourism management program pause for a photo during the first part of their “professional semester” last fall in Lander. (Dan McCoy Photo)

Despite a transition to online learning, seniors in the University of Wyoming’s new outdoor recreation and tourism management degree program are wrapping up capstone projects based in Fremont County.

As part of the “professional semester” -- a suite of project, community and team-based courses -- students are presenting their findings and recommendations to project mentors virtually this week and next. In addition, students are completing final reports to provide to their project sponsors.

“While the transition to a virtual learning model has posed challenges, students in the professional semester have shown grit and perseverance to complete these important projects for Fremont County and the Wyoming Office of Outdoor Recreation,” says Dan McCoy, coordinator of the degree program and professional semester. “We are very proud of their work and ability to adapt, given the circumstances.”

In a semester disrupted by the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the UW seniors are wrapping up three projects this week and next that provide benefits to greater Fremont County. The projects students are completing are:

-- An outdoor recreation assessment of Fremont County. Students in this project completed a countywide inventory of outdoor recreation opportunities and an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The final product will be used by the Wind River Outdoor Recreation Collaborative and the Wind River Visitors Council.

-- An outdoor recreation collaborative toolkit. Students working on this project developed a toolkit to help rural communities form, run and implement collaboratives focused on enhancing tourism and outdoor recreation opportunities.

-- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) “Bus Loops” trails plan stakeholder input. The Bus Loops is a mix of Office of State Lands and Investment and BLM lands used by a grazing lessee and recreationalists alike. Students gathered feedback from identified stakeholders on a draft, proposed, trails plan for the Bus Loops area; the feedback will be presented in the form of recommendations regarding the trails plan.

The students working on the Fremont County projects, listed by their hometowns, are:

Ada, Okla. -- Shiloh Windsor.

Aurora, Ohio -- Brynn Hirschman.

Broomfield, Colo. -- Michaela Stark.

Cranberry, Pa. -- Allison Hale.

Florissant, Colo. -- Joseph Eisenhardt.

Fort Myers, Fla. -- Justin Santini.

Gillette -- Dillon Hayden.

Green River -- Alex Fernandez.

Greybull -- Emily Smith.

Laramie -- Jamie Hansen.

Lindenhurst, Ill. -- Dana Even.

Miami, Fla. -- William Paul Stuckey.

Milwaukee, Wis. -- Drew Petty.

Powell -- Alex Aguirre.

Upton -- Jett Materi.

Individuals who are interested in the work of these students can email McCoy to watch the virtual presentations or to request copies of the final reports at

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