Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative Wins Google Research Award
– January 29, 2014
[Press Release] – The Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative research team (UHPSI), directed by Yale University’s Pinchot Professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies Chadwick Oliver, has recently received a “Google Earth Engine Research Award”. The award has been granted in support of UHPSI’s ongoing land-cover studies undertaken in close partnership with the Ucross Foundation on its ranch near Clearmont, WY. The initiative was set in motion by Ucross Founder Raymond Plank, an alumnus of Yale, and is part of the Foundation’s ongoing land stewardship work. UHPSI is staffed by a team of graduate students and research scientists connected to Yale University who spent extended time at the Ucross ranch in the summer of 2013.
This award will provide the team the opportunity to make advanced methods for rapid land-cover detection and assessment available to the public through the use of freely available satellite data. Specifically, the team will work to integrate various statistical methods into Google’s new Earth Engine platform as pre-set tools that will allow users to evaluate vegetation or land-cover types of interest for any portion of the globe. The research will incorporate contemporary methods for remote sensing, coding, and multivariate statistic analysis, and the team plans on releasing their work at the end of the 2014 calendar year. These pre-set tools will be available to anyone in the world with an Internet connection and a Google account.
While working in Wyoming in 2013, the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative team also made important connections with faculty from the University of Wyoming, Sheridan College, the University of New Mexico, Colorado State University, and Kansas State University. Another element of their work at the Ucross ranch included the set-up of acoustic monitoring stations to collect data on the distribution of bird life, an important indicator of landscape health.
In Wyoming, the UHPSI team is based at the Ucross Foundation’s new Raymond Plank Creative Center, located at the Park at Ucross near the intersection of Highways 14 and 16. The team will return to Wyoming in May 2014 to spend another summer at the Ucross Foundation’s ranch. Visitors are welcome to stop by the Center to meet the team and learn more about their work. For further information on UHPSI, or to find contact information, please visit http://www.highplainsstewardship.org.
Ucross Foundation, located on a 20,000-acre working cattle ranch, is a nonprofit organization founded in 1981 by Raymond Plank. The Foundation operates an internationally known artist-in-residence program that has supported nearly 2,000 writers, visual artists, composers and choreographers with the gift of uninterrupted time and studio space. Approximately 90 individuals each year come to Ucross from throughout the United States and the world to focus on creative work. Alumni include Pulitzer Prize-winning writers Annie Proulx and Doug Wright, Tony Award-winning composer Adam Guettel, and writers Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett and Karen Russell. For more information about Ucross Foundation, visit www.ucrossfoundation.org