Some of Wyoming’s most influential leaders will discuss the importance of collaboration in solving environmental and natural resource challenges Thursday, Aug. 23, at the University of Wyoming.
To mark the 25th anniversary of UW’s Haub School and Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources, former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson, former Gov. Mike Sullivan and Haub School Board Chairman John Turner will take part in a panel discussion, “Civility: The Case for Collaboration,” at 5:30 p.m. at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. The event is free and open to the public.
Retired Wyoming Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kite will moderate the discussion, with introductory remarks from Liliane Haub.
“This is a great opportunity to hear from some of the state’s most prominent political and other leaders as they look back at the last 25 years and ahead to the next 25 years, exploring the role of civility in addressing pressing challenges of the day,” says Melinda Harm Benson, dean of the Haub School. “In an increasingly divisive and polarized world, it is more important than ever to bring people with diverse perspectives together in fair, inclusive and open forums. That is one of the founding principles of the Haub School and Ruckelshaus Institute, and it will continue to be a priority as we look to the future.”
With collaboration in mind, in 1993, a group of UW visionary leaders created the School and Institute of Environment and Natural Resources. The school offered students from any disciplinary field on campus a concurrent major or minor studying interdisciplinary approaches to environmental problem-solving. Since then, more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students have graduated from UW with a major or minor in environment and natural resources, sustainability, outdoor leadership or environmental systems science, which make up the school’s suite of academic offerings.
The institute also convened stakeholders to build robust, collaborative solutions to environmental and natural resource challenges. It became a place where environmentalists, ranchers, land management agency representatives, energy industry representatives and other disparate groups could negotiate solutions together to not only meet each of their needs, but also provide real gains while averting the alternate outcome of expensive and time-consuming litigation.
The Ruckelshaus Institute continues to convene stakeholder groups to work together on some of the West’s environmental and natural resource challenges, such as forest management, ozone pollution in natural gas fields, prairie dogs in the Thunder Basin National Grassland, economic diversification and the fate of Wyoming’s wilderness study areas.
Some of the 25th anniversary event presenters have been involved with the Haub School and Ruckelshaus Institute since the beginning.
Simpson, a Republican who served in the U.S. Senate representing Wyoming from 1979 until his retirement in 1997, helped establish the School and Institute of Environment and Natural Resources and invited William D. Ruckelshaus, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to chair the first advisory board in 1994. In 2002, the institute was named in Ruckelshaus’s honor to recognize his leadership and lasting contributions.
Sullivan, Wyoming’s Democratic governor from 1987-1995, also held a seat on the founding advisory board and later served as board chair.
Turner directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1989 to 1993, during the administration of President George H.W. Bush; served as CEO and president of the Conservation Fund; and runs his family’s Triangle X guest ranch in Jackson Hole. He currently serves as chair of the Haub School and Ruckelshaus Institute advisory board.
Kite, the first woman to serve on the Wyoming Supreme Court, also holds a seat on the advisory board.