Ecology of Grazing and Grasslands in the Pacific Northwest

Spring 2019
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Michael (Mike) Paros
veterinary medicine

This academically rigorous, field-based program will provide students with the fundamental tools to manage livestock and grasslands by exploring the ecological relationships between ruminants and the land. We will begin the quarter learning about the physiology of grasses and their response to grazing and fire. Practical forage identification, morphology, and production will be taught. Ruminant nutrition, foraging behavior, and digestive physiology will be covered as a precursor to learning about the practical aspects of establishing, assessing, and managing livestock rotational grazing operations. Ecological assessments of energy flow and nutrient cycling in grassland systems will be emphasized.

We will divide our time equally between intensive grazing west of the Cascades and extensive rangeland systems to the east. Classroom lectures, workshops, and guest speakers will be paired with weekly field trips to dairy, beef, sheep, and goat grazing farms. We will take overnight trips to the Willamette Valley, where we will study managed intensive grazing dairy operations and forage production, and Eastern Washington/Oregon, where students can practice their skills in rangeland monitoring and grazing plan development. Other special topics that will be covered in the program include co-evolutionary relationships between ruminants and grasses, targeted and multi-species grazing, prairie ecology and restoration, riparian ecosystems, controversies in public land grazing, interactions between wildlife and domestic ruminants, and analysis of large-scale livestock production systems.

Fields of study: 

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: animal agriculture, ecology, conservation, rangeland management, animal physiology and behavior.

Online learning:
  • No Required Online Learning - No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional.

$250 for overnight field trips.

Scheduled for: Day

Located in: Olympia