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Our Sacred Earth: Yellowstone I


  • Grand Teton National Park (map)

JUNE 12 - JUNE 21, 2017

6 Credit Hours: THEO 388 "Wilderness & Religious Imagination" (counts as Theological Perspectives) and PHIL 200 "Wilderness & Environmental Philosophy" (counts as Philosophical Perspectives). Graduate level option available. Courses apply as CORE CREDITS; Theo course counts as E/RS, Environmental Science, Peace Studies, or General Humanities electives.

Program Costs: ~$1,975 travel/lodging (all inclusive) + ~$470/credit hour (2017 costs are approximate. Estimates are based on 2010-2016 increases/year and are subject to change).  

Security Deposit: To secure spot, a $400 nonrefundable deposit is due Feb 15, 2017, but the earlier deposit is submitted the better, as spaces are limited. Also, note deposit is included within Program Costs. Once deposit is applied, $400 will be deducted from Program Costs listed above. 

Overview: This ten day 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. A 3 credit graduate-level option is also available. Enrollment: Maximum 18 | Adventure Level: 1

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 opportunities, guided wolf howls; lakeside solitude reflections; van safaris; whitewater rafting. To learn more, click here.

What courses are offered?

1. Wilderness and Religious Imagination. Professor: Dr. Leon Chartrand
[THEO 388/575: 3 credits undergrad, THEO 200 Core credit, E/RS, Enviro Science, Peace Studies, or general humanities/free elective) / 3 credits grad] Discover the Earth community as primarily a wilderness community that will not be bargained with or made into an object of any kind. Awaken to our sacred Earth by entering into the revelatory power of wilderness. Let your imagination "run wild" on the shores of a quiet alpine lake or on a bear-tracked trail within a seemingly endless pine forest. This course includes lessons, discussions and reflections in some of the world's most wild places. Throughout this course, we will explore how the Paleolithic world of mystery and power brought religious ideas to life in the human mind. We will, at the same time, explore how, even today, the landscape invokes religious imagination and how that imagination plays a fundamental role in how we may address the ecologial crisis. We will also discern how religion imagination has fostered and continues to foster an intimate, viable relation between the human and more-than-human world. We will ask the following: how can religious imagination contribute to a new era of conservation? How does religious thinking (limit thinking) inspire humans to recognize the intimate connection between preserving mystique and safeguarding the earth community? This course can be taken for graduate level credit.

2. Wilderness and Environmental Philosophy. Professor: Dr. Tim Furlan [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."

How do I prepare? |  What do I bring?

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