State of the Rockies Project

We of Colorado College's State of the Rockies Project 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.


Anthropogenic_Fall_2022.jpgRead the premiere edition of the State of the Rockies digital magazine.

2022 Project

Kat Miller Stevens AUG19

Understanding Policy Debates on the Future of Hydraulic Fracturing and Abandoned Wells in the Rocky Mountain West

Kat Miller-Stevens
State of the Rockies Faculty Director


Student Opportunities

Going Public with the Conservation in the West Poll: Public Lands Survey of Visitors

Public Lands survey poster

This spring and summer of 2022, The State of the Rockies is collaborating with CC’s Outdoor Education department and the Journalism Institute to send five summer interns to survey visitors in three or four of the most popular national and state parks, forests, and monuments in Rocky Mountain West. The student researchers will tour the identified parks and while doing so, interview other visitors to the parks, campgrounds, visitor centers, etc. Who is using our public lands?

Dark Skies/CC After Dark project

Dark Skies Social Media NOV 28In collaboration with the Office of Sustainability, CC’s Physics department, and CC's Anthropology department, students will research the region's Dark Skies initiatives and policies. The project also will examine the eco-environmental impacts of too much light during dark hours. A survey of community members’ attitudes toward the Dark Skies initiative around campus, Colorado Springs, and other Dark Skies communities will help determine if this is a conservation concern and if so, whether questions such as these should be included in the 2023 State of the Rockies Conservation in the West Poll and whether this might be a consideration for policy-making.


How a free poster turned into a Rockies Fellowship

Izzie Hicks Catalyst photo

Izzie Hicks, '21 shared how she accomplished her goal of becoming a State of the Rockies Fellow in her recent article published in Colorado College's independent student newspaper, The Catalyst.

'Behind the scenes of the State of the Rockies Project'

CC art student's work inspired by smoke and flames

calaya hanging art

Calaya christens Rockies
Lab with dedicated
work 'Dawn at Midday'

26 October 2021

Calaya Hudnut, '22 worked last spring as a student curator for the State of the Rockies Orange Skies project.  A California resident, Calaya has experience living in a fire-prone ecosystem, but it was working on the project that helped her gain an understanding of the important role of fire in shaping western landscapes. After working on Orange Skies, Calaya appreciates the natural beauty and understands the function of fire in western US semi-arid ecosystems.  She also gained insight into how the influence of hotter and drier climate conditions drive bigger and more frequent western fires.

"While creating the Orange Skies exhibit, I was in awe of how wildfire holds a multitude of dichotomies; the images of fire evoke beauty, destruction, loss, anger, rebirth, hope. What angered me the most was how these recent mega fires are yet another, impossible to ignore symptom of climate change and settler colonialism...."
- Calaya Hudnut

Calaya Hudnut Artwork

This summer, some of Calaya's art was shown in a downtown gallery, The Space, that features aspiring local artists.  Among her intriguing pieces were several prints inspired by her recent work on the Orange Skies project. 

"I worked on the Orange Skies photo exhibit for the State of the Rockies Project and afterward found that the themes of fire, the elements, and the natural cycles of destruction and creation influenced my artwork."

Time to Go Away
Ink on Paper
Calaya Hudnut, 22 - Studio Art Major

State of the Rockies presents


Colorado College State of the Rockies Project launches Orange Skiesa student-curated exhibit of amassed wildfire photos taken across the west. The aim: to capture social and ecological effects of the recent record-breaking 2020 fire season.

Partnerships & Collaborations

State of the Rockies created a new fellowship with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the outdoors.  This summer, we partnered with Colorado College's Field Study program to fund student research.

Assessing the Co-Management of Bears Ears National Monument, Utah


An inter-tribal council of Hopi, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, Diné, and Uintah and Ouray Ute have been denied the role of being a partner in managing the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah.  State of the Rockies DEI fellow  Rosalee Bayer, '22 is working with Drew Cavin, CC's director of Field Study, to explore what factors shape the implementation of collaborative management in the US in order to understand why they are being excluded from participating.

Rockies Rapid Response Research Projects

Learn more and apply for a Rockies Rapid Response Research grant

CC students present Rockies Rapid Response research at 2019 SCORE conference

Our Latest Investigations

2020 Plains to Peaks Bulletin

This Bulletin contains summaries of the six 2019-2020 Research Fellows' projects. Please contact us if you'd like more details on each study. The Bulletin also reflects work accomplished this year in partnership with Colorado College's Journalism Institute, geology and GIS departments, and State of the Rockies supported faculty research grants.

Associated Sites

Report an issue - Last updated: 11/07/2022

See who won the PEOPLE'S CHOICE award!


Judges announce Conservation in the West Vintage Poster Contest WINNERS!!

Bryce Vintage Poster 1934

2022 Conservation in the West Survey Results

 Whitton Feer
Cold Light, Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Photo by Whitton Feer '21

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