Unique Opportunities

UM FLAT

The University of Montana Forum for Living with Appropriate Technology (UM FLAT) is an experiential live-in resource (house) for UM students to demonstrate the practicality of sustainable living.. In a time of rising energy costs, 'conservation of energy' is the most effective means of demonstrating appropriate development at UM and Missoula. By experimenting with and educating others about the social, ethical, and environmental benefits of appropriate technology, the UM FLAT will help to establish the University of Montana as a model for exhibiting efficient building practices. The ultimate goal of the UM FLAT is to encourage the development of efficient and affordable homes for a sustainable society. By retro-fitting an existing home, the UM FLAT demonstrates how such resources could be easily applied to the Missoula community.

Up to six UM students (grad and undergrad) live in the house. In exchange for rent, each member of the house contributes 10-15 hours of work per week to the FLAT’s upkeep and ongoing activities and service projects.

International Courses and Travel Opportunities

Field excursions are built into many Environmental Studies courses, and the program regularly offers full courses abroad. In the past, faculty members have led courses in Vietnam, Thailand, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala, among others. Environmental Studies has formed partnerships with the University of Montana’s Mansfield International Programs, Climate Change Studies Program, and Global Engagement Program to help students access courses, service learning opportunities, and internships.

Faculty contact: Len Broberg

Transboundary Initiative

The Transboundary Initiative immerses students in the political, social, ecological, legal, and management cultures of both Canada and the U.S. Focusing on the trans-border ecosystem straddling the spine of the Rockies, with Waterton Glacier International Peace Park at its heart, students and faculty from Environmental Studies and the Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta explore the possibilities for bioregionalism in an international context. A joint field course in the fall, and international internships in natural resource management, planning and environmental problem solving are all possibilities under the program.

Faculty contact: Len Broberg

Environmental Writing Institute

The Environmental Writing Institute (EWI) is a four-day workshop led by a nationally known environmental writer each fall and attended by a combination of second-year Environmental Studies student writers with other writers, teachers, and students from around the country. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to apply to EWI to learn more about the program and western Montana. Writers interested in an intensive workshop in a beautiful setting are also encouraged to apply. Previous EWI instructors have included David James Duncan, Richard Manning, Rick Bass, Elizabeth Grossman, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Sharman Apt Russell, Janisse Ray, Kim Todd, Phil Condon, John Elder, Robert Michael Pyle, and many others.

Faculty contact: Phil Condon

Camas: The Nature of the West, Environmental Literary Magazine

Founded by Environmental Studies graduate students at the University of Montana in 1992, Camas is a biannual environmental literary magazine produced by students in the Environmental Studies program. Two editors are chosen each year to publish two issues of the magazine in an effort to encourage a dialogue on environmental and cultural issues in the West; celebrate the people who work, study, write, and live here; and provide an opportunity for students and emerging writers to publish their work alongside established environmental authors.

Camas also organizes the annual Prairie Songs reading event in downtown Missoula, featuring prominent area writers and live music. Past readers include David James Duncan, Janisse Ray, Tami Haaland, Sheryl Noethe, Annick Smith, Phil Condon, Josh Slotnick, Bryce Andrews, Amy Ratto Parks, and Melissa Mylchreest.

Faculty contact: Phil Condon

Wild Mercy Reading Series

The Wild Mercy Reading Series features nature and environmental writing by environmental studies graduate students, Environmental Studies Visiting Writers, and alumni. The series runs every Thursday evening for two months in the spring, and features two writers each evening.

Faculty contact: Phil Condon

Visiting Writer

The Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer in the Environmental Studies Program brings an outstanding writer to teach a semester-long graduate writing course in Environmental Studies each spring semester.

Chris Dombrowski (Body of Water, forthcoming from Milkweed) will be the 2017 Visiting Writer.  Previous visiting writers include Sharman Apt Russell, William deBuys  Janisse Ray, Rick Bass, David Oates, Rebecca Solnit, Craig Childs, Terry Tempest Williams, Gary Ferguson, Kim Todd, Robert Michael Pyle, Annick Smith, and the Visiting Writer Program’s namesake, William Kittredge.

Faculty Contact: Phil Condon

Environmental Leadership Series

Each year, the Environmental Studies Program organizes a series of workshops and presentations designed to enhance the professional development of our graduate students.  Participating in this series is a great way to hear new ideas, learn new skills, make connections, and build your professional resume.  Past Environmental Leadership Series workshops have covered topics such as:  diversifying the environmental movement; grant writing and working with philanthropic organizations; getting media attention for your cause; working with elected officials; building issue-based campaigns; understanding leadership styles; and more. 

Faculty contact: Neva Hassanein

Watershed Clinic

The Watershed Health Clinic matches UM students and staff with community groups that need technical assistance protecting their watersheds. Students assist citizen groups and governmental agencies with designing and executing watershed studies, monitoring and restoration plans; preparing grant proposals; conducting surveys; training volunteer monitors; developing educational materials and web pages. The Clinic's Stream Team has covered a lot of Montana territory in the past 8 years as they helped the Montana Department of Environmental Quality characterize Montana's streams. A few of the recent stream encounters are recorded on the The Stream Dream Team video (no dialog, music soundtrack only).

Faculty contact: Vicki Watson

Campus Sustainability

The Sustainable Campus Committee is one of many University of Montana student groups working to keep the school green through education, research, policy development, information exchange, and community outreach in order to lead the way in creating an equitable and sustainable future. The Sustainable Campus Committee recognizes the importance of this and aims to lead by example through the adoption of the Talloires Declaration's ten principles. By identifying and recommending projects that move the University towards sustainability, the Committee provides guidance to UM administration, faculty, staff, and students to achieve environmentally and socially responsible living. Other campus committees of interest to Environmental Studies students include:

Faculty Contact: Neva Hassanein

PEAS Farm

Students will get their hands dirty in every facet of the University of Montana’s 10 acre PEAS farm, sowing seeds, transplanting, irrigating, and harvesting for our 100-member CSA.  We also custom grow tens-of-thousands of pounds of produce for the Missoula Food Bank, the WIC program, and a mobile market for seniors.

As a PEAS student you will learn about  propagation in the greenhouse, season extension, transplanting, direct seeding, farm planning, use of cover crops, harvest and post-harvest care of a diversity of vegetable crops, drip- and overhead-irrigation, tractor implements, hand and mechanical cultivation, composting, weeds and pests, CSA management and distribution, orchard care, and more. You will also learn to cook for the class and to collaborate with many other Missoula community groups. Most importantly, you will help form a lasting community that will make the farm go.

Faculty contact: Josh Slotnick

Renewable Energy Projects

Students can participate in periodic renewable energy projects, designing and constructing solar or wind energy systems for a variety of community uses.

Faculty Contact: Len Broberg

Natural Resources Conflict Resolution Program

The University of Montana offers a unique program allowing certification in natural resources conflict resolution. After completing a set of courses and a supervised conflict resolution experience, a student is certified in the field. This program is aimed at students desiring to work as facilitators of collaborative processes.

Faculty Contact: Matthew McKinney