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We’re inspired by wildlife and wildlands.

We believe connecting to their beauty satisfies a basic human need that is important to our hearts as well as our heritage.
And we believe in the transformative effect they have on people.  

We first started introducing students to this beauty through immersive field studies in 1979, and over the years have continually refined and improved our programs to provide both rich learning experiences and deep connections to the environment.

The students who participate in our programs are as diverse as the programs themselves. Students come from across North America and Canada. They tend to be undergraduates looking to gain firsthand knowledge of our wildlands while earning credit toward their degrees. They’re scholars and adventurers and recent graduates aiming to build their resumes to improve their credentials for graduate school or a job.

Our instructors hail from across the planet, have earned PhDs or MS, and are subject matter experts in the topics they teach. They share a concern about the impact of development and growth on our natural environment, and they share experience as backcountry field guides,
certified in first aid and CPR.

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Our programs are intellectually and academically rigorous.

Expect to be challenged. Wildlands Studies programs are equivalent to upper division classes at most universities. Students have about 280 hours of direct contact with our faculty, and complete field exercises, presentations, written exams, term papers and daily entries in field journals. There’s also assigned reading and discussion of reading assignments.

It’s worth it. Successful completion of the program will earn up to 15 quarter credits, which is conferred from the Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University, a nationally recognized school accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


 

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You’ll be a big part of a small team.

Our teams are small in size, typically with just 9–16 students. The student–faculty ratio of eight to one ensures a high level of interaction
and quality instruction. 

We believe small teams are best suited for sharing energy, responsibilities and discoveries. Fellow team members will come from a variety of college and career interests, a mix that provides ample substance for backcountry conversation and new friendships.


We put the adventure into learning.

When we say “learning adventure,” we really mean it. You’ll learn a lot, have an amazing time doing so and make friends and connections you’ll probably keep for life. Our faculty use a mix of teaching methods from formal lecture to informal hands-on instruction in settings that span backcountry excursions, information exchanges with local experts and participation in key community events. The hands-on approach to learning and focus on our immediate surroundings is what often ignites a student’s excitement for learning and often results in a stronger academic focus. 

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You’ll become a global citizen.

Students leave our programs with a broad, global view. Living and studying in another country or region provides an eye opening and life changing perspective on culture. Being a part of a tight knit community and project team is a learning opportunity as well. Students learn skills for collaboration, sharing and giving—each of which is a valuable life skill that transcends career choices and contributes to
greater confidence and maturity.


We rise to the challenge.

Our programs occur entirely in the field, and while there is time for solitude and
relaxation, they are not vacations. Fieldwork sometimes means long days and uphill trails in not always ideal weather. At times, research can be frustrating, repetitious, or just plain hard work. It is also a rare and fascinating opportunity to explore our wildlands firsthand, while striving toward shared goals with experienced instructors and new friends. 

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We manage risk.

We’re serious about managing and mitigating risk. Each Wildlands Studies program has a tailored, structured risk management plan that can adapt to changes in the natural and political environment.

Students are instructed in general risk management protocols and also skills specific to their program and location. We also want students to play an active role in individual and group risk management, learning to identify and avoid potential risks before they happen.

This approach has helped us provide great experiences for students while minimizing the chances of injury and sickness.