State of the Rockies Project

We encourage students to further their interests in the social and political challenges of living in the Rocky Mountain West. Students embark on inter-disciplinary investigations around the region to discover the possibilities for balancing human activity without spoiling the natural environment.

Upcoming Events

 Photo Contest 2Check out the judges and people's choice winners!






EOY Event Promo

COMING SOON: The State of the Rockies End of the Year Event will take place April 4th from 6-8 PM in Cornerstone Arts Center. The Adventurous Spirit Film Crew's short film Rootbound will be premiered alongside a variety of displays of student work from the past year. Be on the lookout for an email RSVP form!







Waldo Job Card 2023

The State of the Rockies Project is STILL HIRING for the summer! Apply to be a Film Producer/Project Coordinator or a member of our Film Crew!

All applications are due on Handshake.


Check out the 2023 Public Lands Survey and Waldo Canyon Student Collaborative Research (SCoRe) Program Posters!

PLS Score poster 2023Waldo Canyon Score Poster 2023

Director's Note

kat mill

I’m sad to say this is the last year I will be Director of the State of the Rockies Project.  We are currently in the process of finding a new Director whose transition into the position will begin this fall. The last three years have been such a joy for me working with our Project Specialist Cyndy Hines and the student fellows and researchers. As the outgoing Director, I want to highlight our many accomplishments of the previous three years and also say a huge thank you to Cyndy for her innovation and drive to expand State of the Rockies to engage more students than ever before, to our CC students for being incredible researchers and creative partners, to our CC colleagues for their support of - and involvement with - our many projects, and to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for providing the funding that allowed us to grow this program.

I’m pleased to say our research and projects over the past three years have been fruitful, and we have achieved many accomplishments including: journal, magazine, and online publications and podcasts, presenting papers and posters at national conferences, participating in the annual Colorado College SCoRE Research Symposium, hosting the annual Conservation in the West Poll, and teaching Rockies courses on specific topics related to the Rocky Mountain West, among many additional ongoing projects. Please see our detailed list of accomplishments.

We are also proud to say our Colorado College 50th reunion graduating class of 1972 chose the State of the Rockies Project as the focus of its ‘giving back’ fundraising campaign. The campaign raised over $130,000 to create an Endowed Fund for State of the Rockies Student Fellowships. 

The State of the Rockies has been a major highlight of my time at CC, and I will be forever grateful for this experience. I look forward to seeing what the future holds and where it will take our students!

With gratitude, 

Karina (Kat) Miller-Stevens, PhD
Director, State of the Rockies Project
Associate Professor, Economics & Business
Colorado College


Publications in Journals, Magazines, Online Media, and Podcasts

  • Anthropogenic”, a digital and print magazine. The Summer 2023 edition can be found here, edited by Alison Mueller-Hickler (‘26), Macy McCauley ‘(24) Nicole Craighead (’26), Rafi Donohoe (’24), and Cyndy Hines. The Fall 2022 edition can be found here, edited by Samwel Makayo (’25), Delia Freliech (’22), Eric Ingram (’22) and Cyndy Hines.
  • Podcast series: Forged by Fire, 2023.

Podcast description: A podcast about wildfire in the American west in 2023, and the way communities are responding by Henry Hodde (’24), Corey Hutchins, and Cyndy Hines, 2023.

Episode 1 Description: An introduction to the current state of wildfire in the American west, and what we can all do to help.  

Episode 2 Description: The story of two towns. Both faced devastating wildfires. Here's how they responded.  

Episode 3 Description: For the Battin's, fighting wildfire is a family affair.  

  • Castle Rock: Then & now”, Water Resources and Climate Change, by Anna Sofia Vera (’22) and Diellza Muriqi (’22), D. Freliech, Cyndy Hines, and Matt Cooney, 2021.
  • Conserve our constellations” by Katie Joslyn (’22) and Cyndy Hines, 2021.

 Papers and Posters Presented at National Conferences

Ongoing Research-in-Progress

Oil & Gas:

  • “A preliminary analysis of opinions on the oil and gas industry through the Annual Conservation in the West Survey” by Zoraiz Zafar (’24), Saigopal Rangaraj (’23), Mustafa Sameen (’25), Zoey Roueche (’23), and Katrina (Kat) Miller-Stevens.
  • “Why so emotional? An exploration of the use of emotional advocacy in nonprofit organizations influencing oil and gas regulation” by Katrina (Kat) Miller-Stevens, Jason Machado (University of Colorado Denver), Charlotte Toogood (’24), Layla Haji (’25), and Dr. Jonathan Pierce (University of Colorado Denver) with acknowledgments to Micah Arrison (’23), Willow Ma (’24) and Haley Harnisch (’24).

Payments for Water-Based Ecosystems:

  • “Working together: A governance perspective of payments for water-based ecosystem services collaboratives” by Katrina (Kat) Miller-Stevens, Mark Eiswerth (University of Northern Colorado), Ewan Henderson (’24), and Samwel Makyao (‘24).
  • “Challenges, opportunities, and practices in payments for water-based ecosystem services: Results of a survey of program managers” by Mark Eiswerth (University of Northern Colorado), Katrina (Kat) Miller-Stevens, Ewan Henderson (’24), and Samwel Makyao (‘24).

 Dark Skies:

  • “Light pollution keywords: Stories, relationships, and impacts” by
    Nathalie San Fratello (’25) and Cyndy Hines.
  • Big starry skies: A State of the Rockies virtual exhibit” by Sarah Bedell (’24) Dark Skies Artist in Resident and Cyndy Hines.
  • “Light pollution: A threat to biodiversity” by Guanyi Yang (CC Economics & Business) and Natalia Segovia-Soto (’25).
  • “Contingent behavior modeling for dark skies valuation at Great Sand Dunes National Park” by Guanyi Yang (CC Economics & Business), Mark Eiswerth (University of Northern Colorado), Liam Mullen (‘25), and Ben Slater (‘26) with acknowledgment to Willow Ma (‘24), Jacob McDougall (‘24), Avery Morgan (UNC student) and Duaa Nakshbandi (UNC student).
  • “From brightness to burden: The impact of night light pollution on infant health” by Guanyi Yang (CC Economics & Business), Mark Eiswerth (University of Northern Colorado), Ben Slater (‘26), and Ella Reese-Clauson (‘26) (with acknowledgment to Willow Ma (‘24), and Sergio Hernandez (‘26).

 Waldo Canyon:

  • “The re-establishment of a Ponderosa pine forest: a multiple-scale twenty-year retrospect of the Waldo Canyon fire, Coloradoby Sydney Morris (’24), Charlotte Pulido (’24), Chris Burich (’24), Theo Ollier (’26), Liam Keilty (’25), Cyndy Hines, and Matt Cooney.
  • Climate Change and Wester Forest fires Artists in Residence:
    • Height and size does not reveal age”, Waldo Canyon, Colorado by Maren Greene (’24) and Cyndy Hines, Photography project.
    • Ponderosa pine webs, Waldo Canyon, Colorado, by Ollie Beland (’25) and Cyndy Hines, Photography and Fibers project.

 Public Lands:

  • “Exploratory model of CO2 emissions to estimate the carbon footprint of public lands visitors” by Jesus Lara Rivas (’25) and Cyndy Hines.
  • “On the outside, in the outside” by Brigitte Arcoite (‘24) and Cyndy Hines.
  • “Reflecting on Awe” by Lily Frost (’26) and Cyndy Hines.

 Climate Change:

  • Climate Investigations Through Film:
    • “Environmental film: An ethnographic study” by Katy Chapman (’24) and Cyndy Hines.
    • “Rootbound” by Audrey Colgin (’23), Daniel de Koning (’23), Matan Fields (’26), Charlie Marks (’26), Sada Schumann (’26), Melanie Shea (’22), Aaron Patterson (’12), and Cyndy Hines.

Research Presented at the Annual Colorado College SCoRE Research Symposium

In 2021:

 In 2022:

 In 2023:

 Other Notable Accomplishments

  • Sharing the Conservation in the West Poll data with academics, news media, and students through our Data Viz website, coordinated and supervised by Cyndy Hines.
  • Exhibiting the State of the Rockies Orange Skies Student Photos in the Tutt Library and the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, coordinated and supervised by Cyndy Hines.
  • Coordinating our annual Vintage Poster Contest and Student Photo Contest, led by Cyndy Hines. Our students’ State of the Rockies Vintage Posters were displayed at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt during Dr. Sarah Hautzinger and Myra Jackson’s class trip.

 Rockies-Related Courses

In 2019:

  • GS233: Topics in Journalism: Environmental Journalism in the Rocky Mountain West: Changing Climates: Changing Lives, taught by Visiting Professor Bruce Finley, Denver Post.

In 2021:

  • EC/BU110: Topics in Economics and Business: Nonprofit Advocacy, taught by Kat Miller-Stevens.

In 2022:

  • BU110/EV260 People, Planet, and the Environment: The Oil and Gas Industry, taught by Kat Miller-Stevens and Jonathan Pierce (University of Colorado Denver).
  • GS233 Topics in Journalism: A Writer’s Field Guide to Colorado Springs, featuring State of the Rockies, taught by Visiting Assistant Professor Dot Devota.

In 2023:

  • EV261 Topics in Environmental Humanities: Environment and climate journalism: True stories of people in the natural world, taught by Bruce Finley, Denver Post.
Report an issue - Last updated: 04/22/2024

2024 Conservation in the West Survey Results

See the Editions of Anthropogenic!

2023 Student Photo Contest



2023 Photo Contest poster


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