The settlement of the West and livestock grazing on public lands is a shared heritage of all Americans. The iconic image of a lonesome cowboy tending his herd, ready to give his life to defend it from four-legged and two-legged predators, continues to stir the imaginations of Americans everywhere.

A lot has changed, though. There are still cowboys on the range. There are still predators for them to deal with, including the two-legged variety. But today’s cowboy has to cope with additional pressures – increased demand for other uses of public lands from extractive resource development, recreation, invasive plant species and, of course, drought. So, what’s a cowboy to do? Turn to science.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) range specialists will be presenting a series of workshops/field trips of how science is used to monitor land health on BLM lands and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and how the collected data helps ranchers and land managers make livestock management decisions.

These workshops will explain long-term trend studies, study site selection and set-up, how photo points are used, how data is collected and recorded, and plant identification.

“You don’t have to be a scientist, or a rancher, or a land manager to learn something from these workshops. Our range specialists are very excited about the work they do and are really looking forward to sharing what they’ve learned with the public,” said Richard Madril, assistant monument manager for resources.

The workshops are scheduled in Escalante for November 7 from 1 to 3 p.m.; and November 9 from 9 a.m. to noon. Participants are asked to arrive at the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center, 755 W. Main, 15 minutes prior to the start of the field trip.

The workshops will be conducted in Kanab on November 13 from 1 to 3 p.m.; and on November 16 from 9 a.m. to 12 Noon. Participants are asked to meet at the Kanab BLM Visitor Center, 745 E. Hwy 89, 15 minutes prior to the workshop.

Attendees will be required to provide their own transportation from the visitor centers to the monitoring sites. Comfortable hiking shoes and season-appropriate attire should be worn for the walk from the vehicles to the monitoring sites. Also, attendees should bring water and any snacks they may like.

The workshops are free and open to the general public. If you have any questions, please call Richard Madril at 435-644-1245.