January 29, 2009
The two-week mobile classroom will follow a route through the Western United States including Nevada, California and Arizona.
A group of Texas Tech University graduate students will spend two weeks this summer traveling through Nevada, California and Arizona studying the ecology of the nation’s critical grazing lands systems.
Following a route that includes Reno, Davis, Modesto, Fresno, Barstow, Kingman, Peach Springs, Flagstaff and Phoenix, the two-week mobile classroom is set to begin in early June with about two dozen students from five major universities, including Texas Tech.
“The concept of the class is to bring students together from across the U.S. and from around the world to share a unique and intense learning opportunity centered on grazing lands,” said Vivien Allen, Horn Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences.
Today, grazing lands occupy more than half of the land area in the United States and play a key role in addressing sustainability issues in agriculture and the environment.
Carlos Villalobos, an associate professor of Natural Resources Management, and Kristin Hales, a research assistant of Animal and Food Sciences, are among the group of traveling instructors for the class.
“Our challenge is to keep our students in contact with the land,” Villalobos said, “and that means fostering a new land ethic by taking students to the field.”
One of the goals of the ecology program is to provide students with an opportunity for first-hand experience in grazing land ecology through various eco-regions and to learn about techniques that address education and researchable needs. Another objective is to provide interactions with professionals active in the multidisciplinary areas of forage livestock research, teaching, extension, industry and production.