Conserving Wildlife

Fall 2017 quarter

Taught by

sustainabilty, environmental biology, nature writing
landscape ecology, physical geography (climate, landforms, biogeography), spatial analysis/GIS
ecology, entomology, agronomy

How do we conserve endangered plants and animals? How do we set conservation priorities? How does continued climate change loom over these decisions? These are complex questions that demand interdisciplinary perspectives to address. This upper-division program will focus on examining and analyzing the threats facing some of the Pacific Northwest’s threatened or endangered species and applying that knowledge to the development of species conservation plans. Throughout this process, students will develop an intricate interdisciplinary suite of knowledge and techniques that include spatial analysis, ecological modeling, integration of scientific, legal and political information, forest management practices, and computer tools such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS). As a final project, students will develop and present a formal Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for a threatened or endangered Pacific Northwest species in accordance with the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been the defining piece of legislation used for the protection of threatened and endangered species in the US for over 50 years, but it has also been the focus of significant political tension. We will examine the tensions that exist between political and economic interests and species preservation. Students will be tasked with identifying and evaluating the competing interests of potential stakeholders and their positions with regards to species and habitat conservation. This will be accomplished by collecting and analyzing biological, ecological, and habitat data, and using GIS to develop habitat suitability models and cost surface maps. Habitat analysis will be conducted at the landscape scale, integrating the disciplines of landscape ecology with wildlife habitat analysis, forest management, wildlife biology, and habitat conservation planning.

Lectures will cover the areas of landscape ecology, island biogeography and meta-population theory, spatial analysis, GIS, wildlife habitat analysis, and habitat conservation planning. Field trips to examine current wildlife will expose students to methods of habitat assessment, conservation and restoration.

Note: Students who have previously taken Conserving Wildlife (Fall 2015 – Winter 2016) or Wildlife: Conservation and Writing (Fall 2014) should not enroll in this program.

Program Details

Fields of Study

biology ecology environmental studies field studies geography law and public policy

Preparatory For

environmental studies, ecology, public policy, biology, and natural resources.


Fall Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Online Learning

No Required Online Learning


$425 for a mandatory 10-day-long field trip to Yellowstone National Park from 9/29/17  – 10/7/17.