This 1-credit course provides a common starting point and cohort-building experience for students in the Ecology & Environmental Sciences PhD program. In a welcoming and convivial learning environment, students will develop the vocabulary, peer group, and core professional skills necessary to support an interdisciplinary approach to grand challenges in ecology and environmental sciences.

Many of the issues that we confront in today’s society related to ecology and environmental issues are multifaceted, with scientific, social, political, and economic ramifications. To further explore these issues we will focus on the following topics: climate change, water quantity and quality issues, managing landscapes for multiple objectives, and systems thinking tradeoffs and optimization. 

We plan local excursions to meet with researchers, land managers, non-governmental organization representatives, and land owners who have been tackling “grand challenges” within this ecosystem and to witness many of the core geological and ecological attributes of the Greater Yellowstone region. Priority for enrollment will go to new or current graduate students in the Ecology & Environmental Sciences (EES) PhD program. Note that this course is required for new EES graduate students entering the program. Includes course fee to offset travel/food cost.