Academics in The Natural World
Academics is the primary focus of WRFI courses. Our courses seek to understand the complex relationship between ecological processes and human behavior. To varying degrees within each course, we study local ecology, land management policy, and the broad spectrum of ethics and values that determine our relationship to the land.
We promote rigorous interdisciplinary, holistic learning through a diversity of readings, discussions and experiences. We do not separate and compartmentalize course content as is done on most university campuses. Instead, subjects – including conservation biology, forestry, geography, environmental studies, resource conservation, philosophy, natural history, and Native American studies – are taught concurrently.
We teach, and you learn, in a hands-on, experiential way. On our courses, you will have the opportunity to talk to a variety of people with different perspectives, from local land managers and loggers to scientists and lawyers, survey impacted ecosystems, and explore alternative philosophies for living on the land. We will encourage you to integrate your knowledge and experiences and to identify the connections between issues in ways that go beyond the boundaries of traditional education.
In order to facilitate intimate and in-depth learning, WRFI offers a low student to instructor ratio. There is at least one instructor for every five students, and rarely more than 10 students on a course. Our courses are academically challenging and require motivated students who will be able to complete assignments and take part in class activities while still allowing time for backcountry travel and living. Students will find WRFI rewarding if they come willing to approach social and environmental issues/questions with an open mind, are curious about how ecosystems function, and are prepared to explore their own relationship to the natural world.