Montana Natural History Workshop

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Learn about Montana’s natural history through an intensive 2-week workshop hosted by the University of Montana Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum, the Montana Natural History Center, and the National Science Foundation.

This workshop will feature field trips focusing on Montana's landscapes and biodiversity, hands-on learning in natural history museum specimen preparation and curation, and optional Montana Master Naturalist Certification (2 UM credits for $155).

The workshop has passed.

COVID-19 Update

The status of the Montana Natural History Workshop is contingent on the success of the ongoing COVID-19 containment efforts.

The workshop will proceed only if we can safely follow all recommendations at the university, city, state, and federal levels. The decision on this will be made no later than June 8 2020. Once made, this website will be updated and all applicants and participants will be notified via email.

Please support your community and health care workers by following all hygiene and social distancing recommendations. Together we will keep each other safe and healthy!


  • Any student 18 years or older (by August 2 2020), enrolled or soon to be enrolled in the Montana University System, is eligible to apply. This includes students at the University of Montana, Montana State University, and the public Community and Tribal colleges. Prospective, part-time, full-time, undergraduate, and graduate students are eligible to apply.
  • Students from groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) are particularly encouraged to apply.
  • Open to all students interested in learning about Montana’s natural history—all majors, backgrounds, and perspectives welcome!


August 3-13 2020, roughly 9 AM - 5 PM each day. Participants should plan to arrive to the University of Montana campus on August 2 2020, and depart August 14 2020.


This intensive workshop will cover a variety of topics and provide a wide range of experiences for participants, with the goal of enriching their understanding and appreciation of Montana's natural history. In a partnership between the University of Montana and the Montana Natural History Center, the program will include the following activities—and more!

  • Behind-the-scenes tours of UM's natural history museums, including zoology, paleontology, and the herbarium
  • Activities highlighting the importance and use of natural history collections in studying biodiversity, ecology, evolution, climate change, conservation, and more
  • Hands-on experience preparing bird, mammal, and plant specimens for research, education, and outreach
  • Educational field trips to various landscapes and ecosystems in western Montana, covering topics such as geology, fire dynamics, and riparian ecology
  • Training in field identification of flowers, trees, insects, mammals, and birds
  • Montana Master Naturalist Certification (optional)

Costs and Logistics

Accepted applicants will receive FREE programming, logistics, materials, housing, and meals.  Housing will be in UM dorms for the evenings of Sunday, Aug 2 2020 through and including Thursday, Aug 13 2020.  Students must check out of the dorm by noon on Friday, Aug 14 2020. Meals will be provided through UM dining and catering services. Participants may opt out of dorm and/or meal services at their own cost, if preferred.

Students interested in receiving 2 UM credits as part of the Montana Master Naturalist Certification Course will need to pay only the $155 flat-rate recording fee.  No other tuition or fees will be applied.

How to Apply

This is a competitive application, and spots are limited. Applications received by Friday, April 30 2020 will be given priority consideration. Accepted applicants will be notified no later than May 1 2020. Waitlisted students and those who apply after April 30 will be notified if spots become available.

Use the webform below to apply. As part of the application, you will be asked to submit a 1-2 paragraph description of your background, interest in attending this workshop, and what you hope to gain from the experience. It may be easier to prepare this part ahead of time so you can simply copy-paste into the form.

The workshop has passed.


Please direct any questions to the UMZM curator, Dr. Angela Hornsby (