To celebrate its 25th anniversary and look ahead to the next 25 years, the Haub School and Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming will host a public reception and panel discussion in August.
“Civility: The Case for Collaboration” panel discussion celebrates the 25th anniversary Thursday, Aug. 23, at 5:30 p.m. at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. The event is free and open to the public.
Panelists will include former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson, former Gov. Mike Sullivan and Haub School Board Chairman John Turner. Retired Wyoming Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kite will moderate the discussion, with introductory remarks from Liliane Haub.
“The panelists will make the ‘Case for Collaboration’ as we look ahead to the next quarter century of work advancing solutions to complex environmental and natural resource challenges,” says Amanda Korpitz, Haub School special events coordinator.
The presenters will both look back at the last 25 years and ahead to the next 25 years as they explore the role of civility in addressing pressing challenges of the day. They will discuss how — in an increasingly divisive and polarized world — it is more important than ever to bring people with diverse perspectives together in fair, structured and open forums.
The event will address the founding principle of the Haub School and Ruckelshaus Institute: the “Case for Collaboration,” or the idea that collaborative approaches lead to better, more productive and longer-lasting solutions than other methods of dealing with environmental challenges. Ensuring that a range of representative voices comes to the table is, in many cases, the only way to build sound solutions and avoid future unforeseen confrontation and litigation, according to event organizers.
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 collaborative approaches to environmental problem-solving from an interdisciplinary perspective.
The institute convened stakeholders to build robust, collaborative solutions to environmental and natural resource challenges. It also would be 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.
Some of the 25th anniversary event presenters have been involved with the Haub School and Ruckelshaus Institute since the beginning.
Simpson, 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 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; 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 also holds a seat on the advisory board.
This year marks a quarter century since the institute and school were first approved by the UW Board of Trustees. 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.
German entrepreneurs, sustainability advocates and part-time Wyoming residents Helga and Erivan Haub provided an endowment to the academic programs in 2004, and the school was subsequently named in Helga’s honor.
The Ruckelshaus Institute continues to convene stakeholder groups to work together on some of the West’s environment and natural resources 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.
The institute also communicates cutting-edge natural resource science to the public via the Wyoming Open Spaces Initiative publication series, Western Confluence magazine, biannual emerging issues forums, film production and other outreach tools.
Haub School and Ruckelshaus Institute faculty members conduct critical research and produce high-level scholarship to advance thinking and decision making around environment and natural resource challenges.