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Dachin N. Frances
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
dfrances89@gmail.com
Department of Biology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
To List or Not to List?: What to Do About the Greater Sage-Grouse

The federal governments in Canada and the United States have adopted vastly different positions regarding the conservation status of the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). This international issue provides students an opportunity to examine the complex interplay between biological and economic factors surrounding conservation policy development. The students act out the roles of either conservation groups interested in conserving the species and its habitat, or corporations that require land or resources currently used by the greater sage-grouse. Students must research and then defend their stakeholder's stance on whether or not the bird should receive protections. When fully implemented, the case study takes place over the course of a semester; however any combination of the three subunits may also be used.  The activities would fit well in an upper-division undergraduate conservation biology or ornithology class, or adapted for a larger, sophomore-level ecology class.