Colorado Plateau: Desert Canyons and Cultures
Spring 2008, 2009
Wild Rockies Field Institute
*Accredited through the University of Montana
This course is an intensive nine-week field-course that explores the biophysical, cultural, and political circumstances of the Colorado Plateau. The curriculum integrates these features with the often-conflicting social and political demands for the region’s resources such as water, wilderness, recreation, biodiversity, grazing, mining, and agriculture. Discussion of human activities during the past century connect students’ observations of the current landscape with the policies that historically guided land management decisions. In addition, students evaluate how contemporary land management laws and policies set by federal and state land managers currently affect the natural and human environment.
This semester integrates four distinct yet interrelated courses: the first, Public Land Issues of the Colorado Plateau; the second, Environment and Culture of the Colorado Plateau; the third, Natural History of the Colorado Plateau; and fourth, Geography of the Colorado Plateau. Through a series of backcountry trips students explore the natural environments of the Colorado Plateau. In addition, students visit various rural and tribal communities throughout the region, providing the opportunity to engage directly with private landowners, land managers from concerned agencies, cooperating conservation groups, and representatives from First Nations.