Montana State University

Greater Yellowstone inspires six new projects

October 4, 2007 -- From MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN -- Six projects that build on Montana State University's reputation as the University of the Yellowstone have received one-year grants from MSU's Thermal Biology Institute and Big Sky Institute.

The grants were awarded to faculty in the humanities and social sciences, the Museum of the Rockies and the Burns Technology Center, said John Peters, TBI director. When the recipients finish their projects, they will have produced music, art, essays, a book, exhibits, podcasts and other new media productions related to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

"They are exciting projects," Peters said. "There is a lot of breadth, a lot of interesting things about Yellowstone going on across the campus. We are trying to support that effort."

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dave Dooley said, "This is one more step in MSU's on-going efforts to capitalize on the enormous talents and productivity of our faculty as related to our long-standing focus and interest in the Yellowstone region."

The grants, all given to support the University of Yellowstone Initiative, average $5,000 each. Peters said the initiative was intended to support interests in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem that went beyond research in the physical and biological sciences with particular emphasis in ethics, the arts, history, public policy and political science issues.

John Varley, BSI director, said, "MSU's claim to the University of the Yellowstone name is largely based on the extraordinary commitment from many MSU scientists over decades of hard work. While we expect that work to continue in the future, I think it's important that we also foster routine cross-fertilizing projects between the sciences and humanities."

Grant recipients, their departments and projects are:

-- Jerry Johnson, political science, will coordinate and edit a book, tentatively called "Knowing Yellowstone." The book will explain the methods behind various studies of the Greater Yellowstone. Each chapter will be written by a different author, most of them from MSU or the U.S. Geological Survey.

-- Ilse-Mari Lee, music, will produce a DVD of her composition, "The Yellowstone Suite." Lee plans initially to distribute 200 DVDs to Montana public television stations, schools and libraries. She will present the suite March 6 as part of the MSU President's Fine Arts series.

-- Sara Mast, art, will research, design and implement an exhibit of her paintings that incorporate unique life forms from Yellowstone. The project will involve faculty and students from the School of Art and the Thermal Biology Institute.

-- Kim Obbink and Ritchie Boyd, Extended University/Burns Technology Center, will develop a suite of multimedia tools showing the breadth of MSU projects involving Yellowstone. The tools will be flexible so they can include future projects and findings.

-- Kiki Leigh Rydell, English, will research and begin writing an essay on the relationship between wildlife biologist Aldo Starker Leopold and Yellowstone. The main question she wants to address is the role Yellowstone played in forming Leopold's ideas about ecological management.

-- Martha Sellers, Museum of the Rockies, will develop an exhibit that examines the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The project will involve visiting scientists and young scientists, a K-12, data repository, Native American and rural Montana communities. Traveling exhibits will carry the lessons to students outside of Gallatin County.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or