Grassland Ecology & Management

ecological sustainability and resilience Grassland Ecology & Management Option

thunderclouds over grasslands

This option focuses on the management of rangeland, the world's most abundant type of land. About 45 percent of the world's land area and half of Nebraska's is classified as rangeland. These are ecosystems made up primarily of grassland that involve complex relationships among plants, animals, microorganisms, and nonliving factors such as soil, water and climate.

The program is offered through the Center for Grassland Studies, where you will study basic sciences, natural resources and range science. Specialized courses may include forage crop and range management, range management and improvement, wildlife biology and conservation, range ecosystems, integrated resource management, range plants and rangeland analysis.

Rangelands have many uses, most commonly as a forage base for the large livestock industry. Proper range management is essential for sustaining livestock systems, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, quality recreation areas and watershed integrity. Effective range management conserves renewable resources and is a promising career dedicated to the sustenance of a crucial ecological system.

student inspecting grasses in field

Meet the Grassland Ecology & Management Team

Cheryl Dunn

Cheryl DunnResearch Manager-Herbarium Curator

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John Guretzky

John Guretzky Associate Professor, Agronomy & Horticulture

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Dirac Twidwell

Dirac Twidwell Associate Professor & Rangeland Ecologist

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Dave Wedin

Dave WedinProfessor, Plant & Ecosystem Ecology

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Sara Winn

Sara WinnAcademic Advisor, School of Natural Resources

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The Center for Grassland Studies has several funds available to provide Academic and Professional Development scholarships for eligible undergraduate students pursuing a degree in grassland management and stewardship. The Center and our students are very fortunate to have donors passionate about the Nebraska grasslands and committed to the education of our future professionals and grassland stewards. Deadline for scholarships is March 15.

Scholarship Application

Range Management Club

The Range Management Club exists to: foster advancement in the science and art of range ecosystem management; stimulate discussion and understanding of scientific and practical range and pasture problems; provide a medium for exchange of ideas and facts among club members and range scientists; and attend annual meetings of the Nebraska and International Society for Range Management where students participate in student activities, including the Undergraduate Range Management Exam, Range Plant Identification Contest, Undergraduate Public Speaking Contest, and the Undergraduate Student Paper Session.

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Professional Societies

Most clubs are chapters of professional societies. The annual highlight for many students is attending these professional meetings where there is a focus on student activities, including student contests, social events, and special sessions on job placement and career development. Membership in relevant societies is encouraged, especially for students in the Grassland Systems degree program. Many professional societies have reduced membership fees for students.