March 2022 Newsletter
Hello WRFI Community!

I’m looking out over Mount Sentinel from our California Street offices as I write this, watching the last patches of snow slowly melting out from pockets of shade. The weather has been weirdly warm this winter, and my skin has been prickling with heat as morning sun streams in through our windows. Spring is right around the corner—Or maybe it’s here already. Which means that courses are filling fast (only 18 spots until we’re at full enrollment!), gear has started to be shuffled around the basement, and students are writing and calling regularly for updates on their admissions status and course logistics. Our world is awakening. WRFI is awakening.

For the past month, I’ve been learning from the incredible team of staff, our board of directors, and a few instructors who have been generous in bringing me up to speed. I’m thrilled to be in a leadership role here at WRFI and am excited for the field season we have lined up! For the past decade, I’ve worked in classroom and field education in both the Northeast and Southwest, with many nights spent out with groups of students looking at stars, investigating ecosystems, and covering miles in the backcountry. I’ve also worked as a program administrator, building curriculum and partnerships for dozens of expeditions. Outside of my professional work, I enjoy fly fishing, skiing, backpacking, and camping—These days, all while chasing around my two boys, Sage and Parker with my wife Tori. I hope that in the coming weeks, months, and years, I’ll have a chance to meet each of you in some context, either by phone, email, or in person—I love hearing favorite memories from the field, stories of epic rainstorms and night hikes, and learning the stories that are woven into an environmental education program like ours. Please do not hesitate to reach out—My “door” is always open! For now, enjoy the warm(ing) weather, get outside and watch the world green!

In partnership,
The beginning of 2022 ushered in a number of significant organizational changes and transitions for WRFI. Notably, we had to say farewell to two incredibly pivotal board members who have given so much of themselves to WRFI over their many years of service. Dr. Libby Metcalf, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs at the University of Montana and our outgoing Board President, has spent the last six (plus) years guiding and supporting WRFI in all aspects of board operations. Dr. Daniel Spencer, Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Montana, former WRFI instructor, and long-time WRFI board member, also terms off the board this coming month. Both Libby and Dan have been integral in shaping WRFI and have helped make it the organization it is today. We are so grateful to them both for their vision, wisdom, dedication, and counsel through the years. We wish each of them the best on their next adventures!

We also have some big new additions to the WRFI team to announce! As Dan and Libby step down, WRFI welcomes in-coming Board President, Katelyn Hepburn, an attorney and WRFI alum (Baja ’07) who has served on the board for the last three years. We’re also thrilled to announce two new members of the WRFI Board. Helen Rolston-Clemmer, a professional photographer, accountant, and outdoor enthusiast, as well as Peter McDonough, Professor of Environmental Studies and Director of the Climate Change Studies Program at the University of Montana are both joining us and we couldn’t be happier.

With these recent transitions, there’s been no shortage of work to be done at the WRFI office. We’re feeling spring in the air and are so looking forward to getting outside and supporting our team and our students through what is shaping up to be another incredible field season!
Summer | June 14 - July 11, 2022
This month, we're highlighting our Cycle The Rockies: Energy and Climate Change in Montana course! This course, which follows a roughly 700-mile cycling route across Montana, offers an incredible opportunity to gain unique perspective on the past, present and future of energy and climate change in the West, all while gaining 6, 300-level college credits!

For a little overview, the course starts in ranch lands and coalfields near Billings, MT, touring through various renewable energy facilities on the central plains and eventually ending up in the center of energy policy debates in the state capital, Helena. From there, students cruise on along the Rocky Mountain Front, through the Blackfeet Nation and finally over the Continental Divide to Glacier National Park. Throughout the course, we will explore the ecological, social and economic issues associated with energy use and production and climate change. We'll traverse an ever changing landscape, from rolling plains to rugged mountains, stopping along the way to meet people deeply involved in energy and climate issues. All of this, and you'll learn the ins and outs of bicycle touring in a supportive community and beautiful landscape! No previous experience bike touring necessary - you'll learn it all in this course.

As always, we'd love to share more details (*cough gush*) about this course so feel free to call to the office for more info! You can also check out some stories straight from the field on the WRFI blog, such as Cycle The Rockies 2021 student Rachel French's blog post, 600 Miles Later.
Virtual info sessions for spring semester are now underway - free and accessible to anyone, anywhere! These sessions are structured to give those new to WRFI a comprehensive overview of our organization and the specific courses that we offer. At each info session, a 20-minute presentation will be followed by plenty of time for Q&A.We hope to see you there!

Are you a WRFI fan or an alum who loved your WRFI experience? Know someone who might love it too? Thanks for sending the zoom link along!
Register for a Zoom link below:

**Please note that times are listed in Mountain Time**
Can't make it to an info session? We'll also be hosting virtual office hours every other Friday for anyone who wants to pop in for a quick question or casual chat with WRFI staff and alumni. Check out the events calendar on our website for a full schedule of drop-in office hours.
Energy & Climate Change in Montana | June 14 - July 11, 2022

Summer Semester | June 16 - July 27, 2022

RESTORATION ECOLOGY *currently full. Accepting waitlist applications.
In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem | June 20 - July 10, 2022

ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS*currently full. Accepting waitlist applications.
Climate Change & Visions of a Sustainable Future | July 20 - Aug 9, 2022

Human/Land Relations | Aug 24 - Oct 25, 2022

Desert Canyons & Cultures | Sept 13 - Nov 14, 2022

*Now accepting applications for the 2023 field season!*

After a successful inaugural year, WRFI is excited to collaborate again with the University of Montana's Summer Programs Office to offer a Summer Explorations course for high school students. Participants will earn college credit for a summer field experience with WRFI. The course will take place from July 16-29, 2022, and will allow students to earn two University of Montana credits in Environmental Studies.

This program will be open to high school students who are at least sixteen years old, and who will be entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year starting in the fall of 2021. Cost is $2,800 and will include lodging, meals, and programs fees. There is no application fee and scholarships will be available. The priority application deadline is April 24, 2022. Visit this link to apply online.
Spring is a great time to stock up on new gear to keep you hydrated all summer long! Need a new Nalgene? We have lots in stock ready to go home with you!

In addition to Nalgenes, we have our usual stock of WRFI hats, t-shirts, mugs, and more. Check out our online store for all your WRFI swag needs!
Wild Rockies Field Institute is a 501(c)3 organization. Your gift is fully tax deductible. Our Federal Identification Number is 81-0487425.