Learning from the past to preserve the future.
We have changed our name! The Public Lands History Center is now the Public and Environmental History Center. Our name change reflects our broad commitment to working at the intersection of public and environmental history, whether that is on public lands or in our local communities.
Welcome to the Public and Environmental History Center!
The Public and Environmental History Center (PEHC) gets students out of the classroom and into the field to get the experience and connections they need for fulfilling careers after graduation. Established in 2007, the award-winning (PEHC) integrates research, education, and outreach in the best tradition of a land-grant university. Faculty and students collaborate with National Parks, state parks, CSU Extension, local Colorado communities, and other entities interested in connecting public audiences to their past to conduct historical research that directly informs current challenges in our world. Our American West Program seeks to expose audiences to significant research, dynamic speakers, narratives of change and contestation, and the excitement of interdisciplinary dialogue on human-environment issues in the West.
Intern with Us!
The PEHC hosts one to two undergraduate internships each semester. PEHC interns engage in all levels of our work and learn career skills in a professional, supportive environment. Interns select a two credit (80 hours) or three credit (120 hours) option. We pay a token honorarium of $50 per credit hour. Interns work at the center’s offices in the Tiley House under the supervision of Program Manager, Ariel Schnee, and PEHC Director, Dr. Jared Orsi. For information about PEHC internships, contact Dr. Jared Orsi, email@example.com. Be sure to also check out the History department’s internship program.
Work with Us!
We hire graduate students and advanced undergrads for hourly work on our research projects. Employed students learn oral history, archival research, GIS, and other public and environmental history methods while also getting to network with history professionals outside of CSU. We make periodic announcements of paid position opportunities, or you can contact Dr. Jared Orsi, firstname.lastname@example.org, to learn about what might be coming up in the future.
About the Public and Environmental History Center
The Public and Environmental History Center (PEHC) is a group of university-based historians who use the past to help our partners resolve “real world” problems. We use community history and historic preservation to help our partners connect to the past and address current concerns. Since 2007, we have produced numerous environmental histories, oral histories, administrative histories, historic contexts, and historic register nominations. We have evaluated historic buildings, structures, and landscapes for public lands management agencies and private partners. We have also provided technical assistance to resource managers on more than 40 funded research projects and produced nearly $3 million in funded projects.
The PEHC edits a public lands book series with the University of Oklahoma Press and its faculty, past and present, continue to produce books and articles based on their work with the center. Be sure to check out the PEHC Blog to see what we have been working on recently.
In addition to project work, the PEHC also hosts several public programs. These include the American West Program, Parks as Portals to Learning, and History Day.
The PEHC has garnered a number of awards for its work, including:
- 2016-Present Programs of Research and Scholarly Excellence (PRSE) Designee, Office of the Vice President for Research, Colorado State University
- 2019-2023 Henry Luce Foundation Grant, “Telling the Untold Stories of Public Lands”
- 2019 Pre-Catalyst for Innovative Partnerships Program Recipient, Office of the Vice President for Research, Colorado State University for development of a Climate Adaptation Partnership
- 2018 Outstanding Public History Project Award, Honorable Mention to PEHC Council member Sarah Payne for "Confinement in the Land of Enchantment: Japanese Americans in New Mexico During World War II"
- 2016 Pre-Catalyst for Innovative Partnerships Program Recipient, Office of the Vice President for Research for the American West Program
- 2012 Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) National Network Award for its research contributions to the CESU Network
- 2012 Rocky Mountain-CESU Student Award to PEHC researcher Nichelle Frank for her work at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
The PEHC welcomes partners from both the public and private sector. If you would like to work with us on a project or a program, please contact our Director, Dr. Jared Orsi, at email@example.com. You can reach our office at (970) 491-6130. We are experienced in negotiating contracts between the PEHC and external partners.
The Public and Environmental History Center (PEHC) is a special unit of the Department of History in the College of Liberal Arts for research, teaching, and engagement at Colorado State University. The PEHC's values reflect and transmit those of our institution.
The PEHC is committed to doing community history and historic preservation through an alternative model for collaborative research and engagement grounded in place-based history and the environment, shared authority and reciprocity. Recovering histories of difference in partnership with public agencies, local historical societies, and students promotes shared community values, justice and democracy, and public dialogue. The PEHC upholds its mission in every component of its work, whether we are operating in the field or in the classroom.
The American Society for Environmental History awarded the Rachel Carson Prize for Best Dissertation to Dr. Will Wright. Dr. Wright was the graduate fellow on PLHC’s Global Challenges Research Team, which brought scholars in ecology and history together to discuss common and divergent threads in their approach to conservation. After he graduated, Dr. Wright also […]
Telling Untold Stories: A profile of Kristy Ornelas, First-year Student in the History Graduate Program
CSU Source featured our very own PRSE fellow Kristy Ornelas. Learn how she got excited about public lands and decided to attend CSU for her master’s degree in history! Follow this link to read her story: https://libarts.source.colostate.edu/telling-untold-stories-kristy-ornelas/
Shaun Rose presented his work at the Graduate Student Showcase, which earned him the College of Liberal Arts Highest Achievement in Scholarship Award. Shaun’s presentation is an extension of work he has done on a project for the PLHC! You can see a recorded version of Shaun’s presentation on Cultural Resource Management at Fisher’s Peak here. Congratulations […]
A City Without Cars In the late 1800s, Denver’s transportation infrastructure was built for the convenience of pedestrians, rather than drivers. Denver’s historic streetcar system was an efficient way for people to move throughout the city and helped develop community ties among riders. A little under a century later, Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD), was […]
Along Highway 34, twenty-five miles southeast of Greely, sits a ghost town from the 1910s. It is easy to miss – just a few worn-down buildings and a small commemorative stone with a plaque – but the little town was once home to a flourishing Black agricultural community. Now bare and desolate, Dearfield sits unprotected […]
Into the Wild: A Modern Wilderness Narrative In 1992, Chris McCandless walked into the Alaskan wilderness seeking the sublime power of nature, and ultimately became immortalized for his tragic devotion. Jon Krakauer’s bestselling novel, Into the Wild, recounted McCandless’ nomadic journey until it untimely ended with his death . Since publication, readers have been fascinated […]