Summer 2024: Section 1: June 10 - 30, 2024
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Summer 2024: Section 2: August 2 - 22, 2024
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This course takes place in the Greater Yellowstone Ecoregion of Montana on successive explorations of the Snowcrest Mountain Range, Red Rocks National Wildlife Refuge, Yellowstone National Park, and the Clark Fork River. The course begins and ends in Missoula, Montana.

Permitted activity takes place on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and Yellowstone National Park.

Semester Credits

Browse Course Syllabi

3 Semester Credits/4.5 Quarter Units

Natural Resource Science & Management 311: Restoration Ecology in Greater Yellowstone
This course will focus on restoration ecology in the context of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, a vast area that is home not only to humans, but to diverse organisms including many threatened or declining species as well as species that are showing signs of recovery. Students will examine how human uses of the land affect ecological systems, explore the role of restoration in repairing damaged ecosystems and watersheds, while participating in ongoing ecological restoration projects in the area.

Academic Credit:

All courses offered through the Wild Rockies Field Institute are accredited through the University of Montana and the School for Extended and Lifelong Learning. Each Wild Rockies Field Institute course is approved and supported by University of Montana departmental leadership and faculty.

Quarter System Students:
The “Restoration Ecology” course is worth 3 semester credits. For colleges and universities on the quarter system, the course is typically worth 4.5 quarter system units.

Block System Students:
At institutions where one course is equal to one credit, each class (e.g. NRSM 311) within a WRFI course is typically equal to one credit.

Restoration Ecology Course Description

On “Restoration Ecology” students will experience their academic coursework first-hand as it integrates into two wilderness backpacking trips, hands-on restoration work, meetings with guest speakers, and site visits. Approximately one half of the course will be spent in an expeditionary context. When not in the backcountry, the group will camp at designated campsites, on public lands, and occasionally on the property of a gracious guest speaker.

Restoration ecology aims to assist in the recovery of the ecological integrity of ecosystems that have been damaged by human activity. This course explores the scientific, cultural and philosophical bases of restoration ecology through a combination of field investigations, readings, work projects, and meetings with land managers. The course is framed by two extended backpacking trips, during which students will study fundamental concepts of restoration ecology and, in the second half of the course, apply their understanding to philosophical questions and issues around ecological restoration. A cornerstone of this course is the unique opportunity for students to participate in ongoing restoration projects in the area. Additionally, between backpacking trips, the group will meet with a variety of stake holders and guest speakers to gain a broad perspective on the various dimensions of ecological restoration.

Student coursework will examine the effects of diverse land use policies on habitat conditions and subsequent restoration efforts. Students will immerse themselves in ecological restoration, natural history, and environmental policy and hands-on opportunities in the field will ground the curriculum in applied, tangible, and relevant experience.

In addition to the academic topics mentioned above, throughout the course students learn and cultivate skills in wilderness travel, minimum impact camping, orienteering, and natural history.