How did students in one political science class learn about public land management policies? Not by reading textbooks or looking at slides. Last month, Professor Adam Brown, assistant professor in BYU’s political science department, took his class for a hands-on learning experience to Utah’s famous national park, Moab.
“This was an opportunity to examine the impact of national park management policies on the ground, and to see how the national park service balances its two competing missions that Congress has given it: To preserve the parks for the future, but also to develop them such that the public can easily enjoy them,” Brown said.
The class visited paleontological and archeological sites on federal lands in the Moab area after learning about environmental politics and public lands. The last site visit was spending a few hours in Arches National Park, famous for its towering red rock landscapes.
Studying different management policies in a hands-on learning environment gave students the opportunity to think about which lands the community chooses to preserve and which lands they choose to leave alone to the elements.
“Viewing fascinating sites that are just sitting there unprotected outside of a national park on public land – such as a site full of exposed dinosaur bones – definitely gave them the opportunity to consider what sorts of lands we value enough to protect – as a national park – and which ones we’re going to leave sitting there,” Brown said.
What do you think about land preservation – what lands are most important?