MSU Undergraduate Intern Deepens Understanding of Private Land Conservation in Montana

Jacob Zimmerer

My summer internship with the Institute on Ecosystems provided me with an opportunity to experience working in a research setting and to deepen my understanding of the importance of private land conservation in Montana. I began my internship with a trip to Eastern Montana to assist Dr. Julia Haggerty, one of my supervisors, with a workshop on energy transitions that brought interdisciplinary researchers from across the country together. The field-based investigation and interactions I observed aided me in expanding my awareness of the complexities of real-world issues surrounding communities and natural resources.

Following this workshop, I transitioned to working on private large landscape conservation (PLLC) case studies with Dr. Haggerty’s Ph.D. student, Katie Epstein. My role in the project was to gather information on three different models of PLLC in Montana in order to gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities different organizations face in their efforts to conserve landscapes. The day-to-day work consisted of searching for, reading, and analyzing a variety of literature on private land conservation and the specific models we were studying. This aspect of my internship was enjoyable as it exposed me to unique conservation efforts across the state.

After gathering the relevant literature, some information gaps remained. To fill these gaps, I conducted interviews with key stakeholders from each organization. This process was the most rewarding part of my internship as many individuals were more than willing to participate in our study and they all had valuable insights. The information gathered in each interview helped me to fully wrap my head around each specific model and private land conservation in Montana as a whole.  When interviews were complete, I began working on my final report, which included an overview of each model and an analysis of the opportunities and challenges each faces. I am grateful to the Institute on Ecosystems as well as my advisor, Dr. Julia Haggerty, for providing me the opportunity to spend my summer learning and challenging myself academically!



MSU IoE Office

Montana State University
605 Leon Johnson Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717
(406) 994-2374
MSU Director: Bruce Maxwell

UM IoE Office

The Universityi of Montana

The University of Montana
Davidson Honors College
Missoula, MT 59812
(406) 243-6058
UM Director: Maury Valett


Montana University System

Montana University System

Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
2500 Broadway Street
Helena, MT 59620