University of Idaho - I Banner
students walk on University of Idaho campus

Visit U of I

Learn about the many reasons the University of Idaho could be a perfect fit for you. Schedule Your Visit

campus full of students

U of I Retirees Association

UIRA has a membership of nearly 500 from every part of the University. Learn about UIRA

Contact Us

Mailing Address:
U of I Moscow
Natural Resources Bldg.
Room 205
875 Perimeter Dr. MS 1135
Moscow, ID 83844-1135
Phone: 208-885-6536  
Fax: 208-885-6564

Physical and Mailing Address: 
U of I Boise
Idaho Water Center
Suite 242 
322 E Front St.
Boise, ID 83702
Phone: 208-364-3176

Directions

Digging Into Research at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch

At U of I’s new working ranch, interns gain experience in rangeland science

Shannon Wilkey has wanted to be a conservation officer ever since she was a high school student in Rexburg, Idaho.

“I wanted to gain research skills, and Rinker Rock Creek Ranch is at the forefront of new discoveries for rangeland science and ranching.”Shannon Wilkey, intern at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch

Now a senior in wildlife resources with a minor in rangeland ecology and management, Wilkey pursued an internship at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch primarily to gain research experience; conservation officers are often called on to perform research assistance for management agencies like Idaho Fish and Game.

“Careers in wildlife are really competitive,” Wilkey said. “I wanted to gain research skills, and Rinker Rock Creek Ranch is at the forefront of new discoveries for rangeland science and ranching.”

Her internship at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch exposed her to different research activities such as digging soil pits, assessing soil stability, monitoring riparian areas, and sharpening her plant identification skills.

“Every ranch runs differently, and every rancher thinks differently…(y)ou can take away what works best for you or your situation.”Shannon Wilkey, intern at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch

While learning research methods was a new experience for her, Wilkey was no stranger to a ranch lifestyle; for the past three summers, she worked on a dude ranch in the Tetons and she also participated in Semester-on-a-Ranch, a program that pairs students in Rangeland Conservation with the Wisdom Ranch near Arco, Idaho. But working at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch broadened her perspective on ranching.

“Every ranch runs differently, and every rancher thinks differently,” Wilkey said. “One ranch might find something that works better for their setting, and it’s good for me to see those things. You can take away what works best for you or your situation.”

Wilkey wants to stay in Idaho after graduation and is motivated to work in sagebrush steppe ecosystems. She was grateful for the opportunity to participate in some of the scientific work underway at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch.

“The research we do there will help Idaho ranchers and inform policy in the future,” she said.

Shannon Wilkey at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch
Wilkey wears a backpack and hauls a gallon of water during a field day on Rinker Rock Creek Ranch.

Article by Lindsay Lodis, College of Natural Resources

Published October 2019

Contact Us

Mailing Address:
U of I Moscow
Natural Resources Bldg.
Room 205
875 Perimeter Dr. MS 1135
Moscow, ID 83844-1135
Phone: 208-885-6536  
Fax: 208-885-6564

Physical and Mailing Address: 
U of I Boise
Idaho Water Center
Suite 242 
322 E Front St.
Boise, ID 83702
Phone: 208-364-3176

Directions