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Our Sacred Earth: Yellowstone II


  • Grand Teton National Park' (map)

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.

Grizzly on bison carcass, Yellowstone

Grizzly on bison carcass, Yellowstone

Credits: 6 CORE Credit Hours. THEO 388: "Wilderness & Religious Imagination" (counts as THEO 200, Theo Perspectives, ER/S, Enviro Science, Peace Studies, Gen Humanities or Free electives) and PHIL 200: "Wilderness & Environmental Philosophy" (counts as PHIL 200 Phil Perspectives or Free elective).

Enrollment: Max 18 | Adventure Level: 1-2

Security Deposit: To secure spot, a $600 nonrefundable deposit is due Feb 15, 2018, but the earlier deposit is submitted the better, as spaces are limited. Also, note deposit is included within Program Fee. Once deposit is applied, $600 will be deducted from Program Fee listed below. 

Costs: $4,838 Program Fee is all inclusive. It includes 6 credit hours of tuition, which is approximately ~$2,778 ($463/hr x 6 hrs) + $2,050 all inclusive travel, which includes airfare, lodging, ground transportation, group gear, course materials, wilderness/national park fees, meals, beverages, whitewater rafting, etc. Note: 2018 costs are approximate. Estimates based on 2010-2017 increases/year and are subject to +/- 1% change. Security deposit will be deducted from total Program Fee amount once deposit is submitted.  

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, CORE THEO 200 credit, E/RS, Enviro Science, Peace Studies, 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. Adam Konopka [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."

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