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To provide Cal Poly students, faculty, staff and the public with a unique interdisciplinary environment in which to foster the Learn by Doing philosophy by providing educational experiences on a working ranch, supporting diversified agriculture and forest resources while maintaining the integrity of ranch operations.

  —Our Mission

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ASCI 470

Sustainable Rangeland & Livestock Management
ASCI 470

Course Overview

Swanton Pacific Ranch is proud to host this unique and valuable opportunity as a result of Cal Poly's commitment to the practice and education of environmentally sound rangeland management and livestock production. Sustainable Livestock and Rangeland Management is offered as a 2-week, 4-unit field-based course during the summer quarter. This course will greatly benefit students studying different aspects of animal science, agriculture production, and natural resource and environmental management. Through guidance and expert instruction from Cal Poly's Animal Science professors, Swanton Pacific Ranch's Rangeland Manager and many of California's top resource management professionals, students will gain an understanding for and incorporate sustainable rangeland management strategies into a Ranch Management Plan.

Many students choose to begin their stay at the ranch working on a concurrent internship to gain additional credits toward their degree.

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Industry & Agency Professional Oversight

The course is delivered by leading resource management professionals, who contribute their on-the-ground perspectives regarding effective and informed rangeland management. Industry and agency professionals will share perspectives and insights as they work side-by-side with students to train innovative management techniques based upon a combination of newly-developed approaches that address specific, contemporary resource management objectives and traditional practices that have been effective for centuries. Resource managers, producers, and agency professionals are involved in the education process and review of student developed rangeland management plans while providing their unique perspectives to elements of rangelend and livestock management. These professionals also attend class and field-based training to assist in the delivery of information and provide informed feedback to assist students during class activities.

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Field & Classroom-based Training

Our broad-based module includes in-class lecture, field-based labs, and group projects to maximize student interest and comprehension. Course work includes classroom-based introduction to topics involved in the development of a Rangeland Management Plan and are followed by field-based activities necessary for gaining technical skills. Topics include: holistic management concepts, animal production, water systems development, soil productivity, erosion control, and overall sustainable land management practices.

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Informational Meetings

This is an opportunity to gain insight to the course structure, meet and interact with fellow interested students and the course instructor. These periodic meetings will help you to gain information for coordination with your major professor and prepare you for a summer of learning and career enriching activities. Meetings are announced through email or in classes.

Student Testimonials

"The Sustainable Rangeland Management class offered at Swanton Pacific Ranch is a unique opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the complexities of caring for and manipulating our rangelands. All Animal Science students should have the chance to participate in the course, as the many presenters that visit from throughout California expose students to a range of perspectives from the many different viewpoints in academia, government agency, and private industry. This class was fun, engaging, and indispensible in providing students with hands-on learning in the field".

"Sustainable Rangeland Management was intense. It completely immersed the students in an intensive, inter-connected experience. The class was composed of students from a variety of majors, yet the expanse of topics covered throughout the course made it beneficial to all. I feel as though I learned more in these last three weeks than I had in the previous year at Cal Poly. I would definitely recommend the course to others".

"This class has taught me so much about sustainable rangeland management and how we should live our everyday lives. I know it affected the way I will live and cook and grocery shop! The speakers are awesome and three weeks at Swanton Pacific Ranch near Santa Cruz is a nice change of pace from the Cal Poly campus, and you get to hang out with Gordon Claassen! You can't beat that"!

"I have never learned more is a span of three weeks in my entire academic career than I have during Sustainable Rangeland Management. What is even more remarkable is that I am not satisfied; the material has a resonant quality that causes me to question both concepts that I have already learned as well as those which I am currently learning. This class is an amazing opportunity. It is one of the most beneficial things for my education that I have taken advantage of here at Cal Poly".

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