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USU Degrees at the Swaner EcoCenter

Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010


Annette Herman Harder

Executive Director of USU Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter

Utah State University

Phone: (801) 979-5714


Martha Archuleta

Associate Dean, Professor

Utah State University

Phone: (385) 646-5576


USU Degrees At The Swaner Ecocenter

LOGAN, UT – Starting in January, Utah State University will provide new degree opportunities for Park City and Summit County residents. USU will offer both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Swaner EcoCenter through the university’s Regional Campuses and Distance Education program.

Bachelor’s degrees include recreation resource management, residential landscape design and construction, accounting, entrepreneurship, economics and management information systems. A professional master of natural resources will also be available. Courses will be delivered online and to the Swaner Center in real-time using state-of-the-art interactive video conferencing.

“We had no idea we would be able to offer these degree programs so quickly after we joined with USU,” said Annette Herman Harder, executive director of USU Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter.

Education is part of Swaner’s mission, and the university’s land-grant mission brings educational opportunities to people throughout the state. Together, the Swaner Center and USU now offer unique services and opportunities not previously available to residents of Park City and Summit County, she said.

Sally Tauber, Swaner’s director of community relations, said they are excited because the classes give Summit County and Park City residents the opportunity to stay in the area to get a degree, even an advanced degree.

“Imagine, people can ski during the day and attend classes in the evening,” Tauber said. “People from this community have always had to go ‘down the hill’ or away for their education. These degree options are really great for area residents.”

The location, diversity of habitat and wildlife, and land use history of the Swaner Preserve make it an ideal fit for research projects in many aspects of  natural resources. Applied research opportunities will allow students to positively impact the area even after they graduate.

“We in the college view the Swaner Preserve as a real bonus to our research programs. A number of our professors and graduate students have already begun projects on the preserve and throughout the county,” said Nat Frazer, dean of USU’s College of Natural Resources.

Herman Harder said the intent is to use the research taking place on the Swaner Preserve as a platform for education of many sorts — research projects for students, citizen scientist involvement for the community, and even science projects for the county’s elementary and high school students.

“Education at this level is something our board never dreamed we could provide,” Herman Harder said. “We have been teaching children for a long time, this really ups the ante.”

Over the long term, USU plans to offer adult and youth programs that complement and expand the current offerings. In addition, the preserve will serve as a research and demonstration space for world-class research in ecology, wildlife and human interaction with nature.

The Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter consists of a 1,200-acre land trust in the Snyderville Basin and a 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility dedicated to environmental education. The preserve protects critical wetland and foothill terrain in the heart of one of the state’s fastest-growing areas. The EcoCenter, completed in 2009, is a multi-use facility with space for educational and community activities. The facility is LEED Platinum Certified, the highest standard for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

For more information about classes or to enroll, contact Steve Geyer,, 385-646-5570.

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