October 2020 Newsletter
It's not just names on the ballot. It's justice. Public lands. Climate change. Public health. It's real impacts, on real people and places. Historically, only a fraction of our eligible voters have decided what those impacts will be.

In honor of all the people who have fought for voting rights in this country, in honor of all the places you love, in honor of all the human and non-human entities that do not have a voice in our elections: PLEASE. VOTE.

Check your registration status: https://www.vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote/

Our 2021 field season is fast approaching, and we'll be dedicating a section in each of our next several newsletters to highlighting specific courses. First up: COLORADO PLATEAU: Desert Canyons & Cultures, which will be our very first course of the 2021 season. This is our only course that runs twice per year: once in the spring, and once in the fall. As one of our semester options, this course offers students an opportunity to spend two months in the field while earning 15 semester credits in Natural Resource Science & Management, Geography, Native American Studies, and Environmental Studies.

Students on this course gain an academic and experiential understanding of issues facing the cultures and landscapes of the Colorado Plateau region of the American Southwest. While exploring slot canyons, examining fossilized dinosaur tracks, and meeting people whose communities are deeply embedded in the history of these desertscapes, students consider the unifying theme of the course, "Resilience and Revolution in a Region on the Edge." Learn more and apply on our website!
UPCOMING INFO SESSIONS: Join from anywhere!

We still have four virtual information sessions ahead of us this fall. Join us if you're interested in learning more about WRFI and the different courses we offer. Staff and alumni will be available for any questions you might have. We'd love to meet you!

Thursday, October 15: 2:00-3:00 (MST)

Wednesday, October 28: 11:00-12:00 (MST)

Thursday, November 12: 2:00-3:00 (MST)

Wednesday, November 25: 11:00-12:00 (MST)

Wilderness Watch is accepting submissions for "Wilderness Experienced," their new story-sharing platform

The Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance (currently directed by veteran WRFI instructor Peter Metcalf!) is hosting their annual Fall Gathering from October 9-18

Watch the documentary film Public Trust about threats to American public lands and the communities committed to protecting them, which premiered at the 2020 Big Sky Film Festival and is now streaming free from Patagonia Films.
Check out our WRFI goods

T-shirts! Hats! Buffs! Tumblers! Used gear! Check out our WRFI gear collection in our online store.
Meet Kiki Kane-Owens
Kiki Kane-Owens was an undergraduate student at the University of Vermont when she started hearing about WRFI from friends who had completed WRFI courses. She appreciated that WRFI appeared to be more than just an outdoor program, and was especially drawn to WRFI courses’ focus on ethics and human relationships with the natural world. She was soon readying herself to spend the fall of 2017 in Montana, about to embark on a semester-long adventure with nine other students on WRFI’s Montana Afoot & Afloat course.

Kiki says the following of her WRFI experience: “I fondly look back on my WRFI trip as one of the most laughter- and wonder-filled experiences of my life—an experience that was both a paradigm-shifter and a conduit for personal growth. One of my biggest takeaways from WRFI was an understanding of the power of community and mutual experience. The inter-reliance that outdoor living and learning necessitates yields a really powerful sense of community, support, and love that I have used as a framework for community-building in my regular life. I think WRFI provided a reference for my ability to build community and relationships with those of different personal ideologies and cultural backgrounds.”

Kiki cites her WRFI course as a catalyst for completely changing her personal and professional trajectories. During her time in the field, discussions about the exclusivity of outdoor spaces in the U.S. brought the idea of outdoor inclusivity to the forefront of her mind. She cultivated tools for understanding the problematic lack of cultural, racial, economic, and geographic diversity on public lands and the outdoors in general, and she began to better understand her own feelings of exclusion from “outdoorsy” cultures. As a mixed-race woman from NYC, Kiki felt like WRFI gave her the tools to bridge certain gaps between her home communities and the communities she found within outdoor spaces. It became clear that it was extremely important for her to find ways of sharing the feelings of community, belonging, and self-sufficiency that come with outdoor living with people of all backgrounds.

As a recent college graduate, Kiki is just beginning to lean into a career focused on inclusivity in the outdoors. Earlier this year, she completed a NOLS Fellowship for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and is currently pursuing work in wilderness therapy, specifically focusing on neurodiversity in the outdoors. She is constantly examining the place she holds in outdoor spaces, and reassessing when it is appropriate for her to take up space. It is perpetual work, but she’s excited to continue these critical conversations!

Kiki will be a member of WRFI's DEI Advisory Committee in 2021. More information on this committee will be featured in future newsletters, but please feel free to email Mel at mel@wrfi.net if you are interested in participating and/or learning more in the meantime.
Wild Rockies Field Institute is a 501(c)3 organization. Your gift is fully tax deductible. Our Federal Identification Number is 81-0487425.