The stunning Crown of the Continent is your classroom, its wild and working landscapes stretching from Glacier National Park to the Blackfoot Valley. Wildlife in the West is not your typical academic experience—instead of a lecture hall, you will be in the field every day, interacting with guest speakers and delving deep into observational ecology. Swan Valley Connections instructors are involved in wildlife monitoring, conflict management, and community-based policy work throughout the year; we incorporate our rich experience into the curriculum. As a result, our students gain rare access to the projects, researchers, local citizens, and policymakers shaping the future of wildlife conservation in the Crown. You will learn field methods of tracking and monitoring wildlife, become proficient in the Endangered Species Act and other wildlife policies, and contribute to ongoing conservation projects and community discussions.
Endangered species management necessarily involves understanding diverse stakeholders' perspectives on wildlife. Communication is therefore fundamental to this course. You will be challenged daily to interact with loggers, environmentalists, anglers, hunters, ranchers, biologists, agency officials, trappers, and more in order to develop the communication skills needed to work effectively towards solutions.
We look for students who don't shy away from challenging physical and academic work, and are willing to open their minds to new ways of thinking. By combining field ecology skills with exposure to key wildlife professionals, landowners, agency officials, and other citizen stakeholders, Wildlife in the West gives you direct access to wildlife conservation in a real-time, real-world experience that will prime you for your future endeavors after graduation.
IMAGE: Top - Lauren Kearns; Left - Faith Bernstein