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BE100: Loving it to death: Ecology & Human Impacts in the Rocky Mountain West

Tourism and outdoor recreation, such as skiing, hiking, fly­fishing and river rafting for example, are major economic drivers in Colorado. Yet, the popularity of these year­round activities is taking a major toll on the local ecosystems. Historic and traditional activities compound the problem, as abandoned mines from the gold rush era leach toxic chemicals into mountain streams and farming/ranching influence species diversity and watershed health. This course aims to establish a foundational understanding of ecological theory and practice, then utilize this foundation to investigate various ecosystems and evaluate the extent of human impacts. Tackling these questions will promote problem­solving skills in the context of complex multifactorial issues and ultimately foster an understanding of the interdisciplinary and holistic nature of conservation biology.