“Experience Montana” Reinvents the Classroom

The School of Extended & Lifelong Learning at The University of Montana is now offering “Experience Montana,” short (two-five day), non-credit field courses that allow participants to interact with Montana’s landscape, natural resources and cultural heritage.

Experience Montana courses are taught by UM faculty and outside experts, and learning time is split between a traditional classroom setting and in-the-field experience. There are no tests, papers, or grades. It truly is the “classroom reinvented.”

The next scheduled Experience Montana course, “Winter Animal Tracking in the Wild Swan,” takes place January 26-27, 2013. This two-day field course is taught by Melanie Parker and Adam Lieberg of Northwest Connections. Participants will explore the Swan Valley on snowshoes and learn to identify animals by their tracks, interpret animal behavior and study the ecology of animals active in winter.

Turn-of-the-century Beck Homestead, an 80-acre property complete with barn, bath house, and cook house in Condon, MT will serve as both classroom and lodging. The $395 course fee includes all course materials, instruction, local transportation, accommodations, and food.  Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from Condon, Montana.  Registration is open, but limited to a small group to ensure every participant has a quality experience.  Online registration is available at Animal Tracking.

Past Experience Montana courses included “Discover the Crown of the Continent,” a three-day journey through Glacier National Park, led by UM professor Rick Graetz. Of the experience, one participant said, “The course assembled an impressive cast of authorities on different topics, including water, flora, fauna, geology, climate and fire. It was very successful in whetting our appetites to both learn more and spend more time in the environment.”

Future non-credit courses offer participants the opportunity to learn about Urban Archaeology in “Missoula Underground;” Paleontology in Makoshkia State Park; Grassland Ecology at the Matador Ranch, in Dodson, MT;  Montana’s colorful history in “Bannack Ghost Town;” and archaeology at the Rosebud Battlefield.   These are just a sampling of the unique field courses offered in Spring and Summer 2013.  Courses are limited to five days, to accommodate the schedules of busy, working adults.  All offer both classroom and hands-on learning experiences with an up-close view into research being conducted in Montana.


For more information, contact Beth Burman Frazee, Marketing Director, UM School of Extended & Lifelong Learning, 406-243-6721, beth.burman-frazee@umontan.edu