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Explore an Ancient Land Ö Explore Australia!

Leaving the U.S. on May 18, 2013 and departing Australia on June 16th, 2013

PTRM 345X Sustaining Human Societies and Natural Environments (3 cr.) and NRSM 246N Natural History, Ecology, and Environmental Management of Queensland, (3 cr.)

Information sessions: February 26th from 5-6pm in Clapp 452Australia

Again this summer, University of Montana students can experience the amazing landscapes and wonderful people of Queensland, Australia. Itís a pleasantly warm and stable time of the year to hike in lush green rainforests, explore the remote Outback, and snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef. This 6 credit course offers the chance to visit some extraordinary natural environments, study the sustainable use of local resources, and interact with the local and Aboriginal peoples of Australia.

From unspoilt beaches, tropical rainforest, rugged mountain ranges and vast tracts of desert, Australia is a country of contrast. As the Australian landmass separated from the other continents over 50 million years ago, indigenous animals have developed a range of individual and unusual characteristics in a unique habitat. The result is a wealth of wildlife not found anywhere else in the world. In addition, Australia's ocean area contains one of the greatest arrays of marine biodiversity on earth.

AustraliaWe use an experiential education approach where students spend about a third of our time in the classroom and two-thirds traveling the stunning national parks, forests, wildlife reserves, coastlines, and islands of Far North Queensland. We start with a bit under a week on Magnetic Island, just offshore Townsville, taking lectures from the faculty of the James Cook University. Then, itís out to go snorkel and explore the marine diversity of the Great Barrier Reef; investigate natural resource management, ecotourism and farming practices in the Outback; learn about Aboriginal culture and history through interactions with indigenous communities; and hike within coastal areas and rainforest of the Daintree National Park and Wet Tropics World Heritage area to study the diverse wildlife and flora of Australia. The course wraps up in the vibrant regional city of Cairns, a popular ecotourism and backpacker destination.

This program uses the theme of sustainable development to explore the relationship between people and their natural environment. In particular, we focus on the flora, fauna, and ecological processes of rainforest, outback woodlands, and reef ecosystems, as well as issues of coastal development, conservation management, agriculture, World Heritage, global climate change, and Aboriginal history and traditional use of resources. The course is suitable for all majors, led by University of Montana faculty, and counts towards Davidson Honors College requirements.

A sample itinerary is available here.

AustraliaAbout the Instructor

Libby completed her undergraduate studies at Southern Connecticut State University where she received a BS in Leisure Sciences and a BA in Communications. She completed her master’s studies in forest recreation at West Virginia University. For her thesis, Libby studied the major constraints that diverse users face when recreating on national forests around the Seattle area. For her PhD she pursued a dual degree program of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment at Pennsylvania State University. There, her dissertation focused on the major constraints to women participating in hunting.

Registration Information

The program cost for 2013 is $5690.00, which includes:

  • tuition for 6 upper-division credits (with out-of-state students paying the same as in-state students), and
  • a program fee (which covers accommodation at hostels and motels, group activities and excursions, emergency and international health insurance, in-country transportation, and some meals).

Airfare is not included, but an optional group airfare will be available from Los Angeles. The deadline for applications is March 1, although we recommend people apply as early as possible. Application forms can be found on this website.

Interested students with specific questions can contact our or Professor Metcalf (Covelli) at

For questions about any of the Study Abroad programs in the College of Forestry and Conservation, please contact us at:

Phone: 406-243-5521 | Fax: 406-243-4845