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Wilderness, Imagination, Story: Yellowstone


Overview: This expedition takes us to remote places. We explore wildness firsthand by venturing off trail to discover how Earth influences our intellectual perceptions and our sense of the divine. On this trip, students can take advantage of a six credit option. With Dr. Leon Chartrand as our wilderness guide, we drink from ice cold streams, go bear-tracking in the Teton and Absaroka Wilderness, venture on wolf howls in the Washakie Wilderness and hold evening storytelling by campfires on a mountaintop in the Gros Ventre Wilderness under an awe-inspiring Wyoming night sky.

Moose family, Grand Teton National Park

Moose family, Grand Teton National Park

Credits: 6 CORE Credit Hours. PHIL 200: "Wilderness and Environmental Philosophy" (counts as PHIL 200, Phil Perspectives and Free elective) and ENGL 205: "Place, Identity and Imagination" (counts as ENGL 205 Lit. and Moral Imagination, ER/S).

Enrollment: Max 16 | Adventure Level: 1-2

Security Deposit: To secure spot, a $600 nonrefundable deposit is due April 15, 2019, but the earlier deposit is submitted the better, as spaces are limited. Also, note deposit is included within Program Fee. Once deposit is applied, $600 will be deducted from Program Fee listed below. 

Costs: $4,888 Program Fee is all inclusive. It includes 6 credit hours of tuition, which is approximately ~$2,778 ($463/hr x 6 hrs) + $2,100 all inclusive travel, which includes airfare, lodging, ground transportation, group gear, course materials, wilderness/national park fees, meals, beverages, whitewater rafting, etc. Note: 2019 costs are approximate. Estimates based on 2010-2018 increases/year and are subject to +/- 1% change. Security deposit will be deducted from total Program Fee amount once deposit is submitted.  

Where do we go? Region A: Absaroka Wilderness, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, Gros Ventre Wilderness, National Elk Refuge, Teton Wilderness, Washakie Wilderness, and Yellowstone National Park. To learn more about these places, click here

What adventures will we experience? Backcountry hiking; bear/wildlife tracking; raptor lessons, campfire creation storytelling; river/creek/water reflections; fly-fishing; lakeside solitude reflections; van safaris; glacial lake swimming opportunities; whitewater rafting. To learn more, click here.

What courses are offered?

1. Wilderness and Environmental Philosophy. Professor: Dr. Adam Konopka [PHIL 200: 3 credits undergrad, PHIL 200 CORE credit, general humanities/free elective] The Wilderness theme and the science of Ecology are vital to Environmental Philosophy. According to Frederick Jackson Turner, "What the Mediterranean Sea was to the Greeks, breaking the bonds of custom, offering new experiences, calling out new institutions and activities, the ever retreating Great West has been to the United States directly." For "Classical American Philosophy," land, freedom, and democracy are intertwined. So long as there is land, the conditions exist for possibility and novelty. Students will be introduced to major figures and themes in Environmental Philosophy (i.e, New England Transcendentalism, Biocentrism, Ecocentrism, Social Ecology, Eco-feminism, Pragmatic Pluralism, Cosmogenesis, etc) within the context of wilderness experiences, particularly in Yellowstone National Park and the Teton, Gros Ventre and Washakie Wilderness Areas. The importance of wilderness in the shaping of ideas and the need for its preservation will be emphasized throughout."

2. Place, Identity and Imagination. Professor: Jacki Lyon
[ENGL 205: 3 credits undergrad, CORE ENGL 205 credit, General Humanities/Free elective] The Wilderness has long inspired the imagination of thinkers. In this course, we will consider the possibilities that writers of place provide as they attempt to reimagine the human role in the ecological narrative. We’ll ask the following questions, and more: What role does the literary imagination play in how we view both place and self? How do the stories we tell affect the actions we take? Do our dominant narratives encourage or discourage a sense of alienation or interdependence? Do we still have a sense of place? How does displacement, either figurative or literal, affect our identity? To reorient our own relationship to the environment, we will do some of our own writing. Immersion within the Yellowstone landscape will heighten our sense of connectedness and may inspire us in unexpected ways. Since writing involves the senses as well as language, this opportunity is ideal for taking time to write and practice engaging more deeply with our surroundings. 

How do I prepare? |  What do I Bring?