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Wilderness, Imagination, Story: Yellowstone

JUNE 2 - JUNE 11, 2017

6 Credit Hours: THEO 332 "Sacred Earth and the New Story" and ENGL 205 "Place, Identity and Imagination". Courses apply as CORE CREDITS; or 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 and based on increases/year from 2010-2016. They are subject to change). 

Security Deposit: To secure spot, a $400 nonrefundable deposit is due Feb 15, 2017, but the earlier the 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 Travel/Lodging 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. Sacred Earth and the New Story. Professor: Dr. Leon Chartrand 
[THEO 332: 3 credits undergrad, CORE THEO 200 Credit, E/RS, Enviro Science, Peace Studies or General Humanities/Free elective] 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. Place, Identity and Imagination. Professor: Jacki Lyon
[ENGL 205: 3 credits undergrad, CORE ENGL 205 credit, General Humanities/Free elective] The Wilderness has long inspired the imagination of thinkers. In this course, we will consider the possibilities that writers of place provide as they attempt to reimagine the human role in the ecological narrative. We’ll ask the following questions, and more: What role does the literary imagination play in how we view both place and self? How do the stories we tell affect the actions we take? Do our dominant narratives encourage or discourage a sense of alienation or interdependence? Do we still have a sense of place? How does displacement, either figurative or literal, affect our identity? To reorient our own relationship to the environment, we will do some of our own writing. Immersion within the Yellowstone landscape will heighten our sense of connectedness and may inspire us in unexpected ways. Since writing involves the senses as well as language, this opportunity is ideal for taking time to write and practice engaging more deeply with our surroundings. 

How do I prepare? |  What do I Bring?