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Service-Learning Reforestation Field Course -- June 1-9, 2013

GuatemalaAbout the Course

This course provides first-hand insight into restoration challenges and reforestation practices in Guatemala. Students will witness the effects of deforestation on rural villages, share in community-based reforestation efforts, tour tree seedling nurseries, and visit past reforestation sites. Students will work alongside staff of the Alliance for International Reforestation (AIR; From its headquarters in Guatemala’s Altiplano (highlands), AIR works with closely with local communities to organize tree-planting projects, establish seedling nurseries, promote sustainable agricultural practices, and distribute fuel-efficient wood-burning stoves, in a comprehensive effort to reduce catastrophic flooding and alleviate rural poverty.


Christopher Keyes, Research Associate Professor of Silviculture, Department of Forest Management; and Director, Applied Forest Management Program. Email


Students will be expected to participate in nightly discussions. All students are esponsible for completing and submitting: 1) Observations Journal, with daily entries made during the trip (25%); 2) Annotated Photograph Collection (25%); and a Summary Report that synthesizes those elements with technical details about reforestation/nursery practices encountered during the trip (50%). Graduate students will also prepare a research pre-proposal that addresses a topic relevant to the experience. All work must be completed by July 15.


The course is limited to 7 participants. The course is targeted to upper undergraduate students and graduate students in a natural resources discipline. Academic background or work experience in reforestation, silviculture, or nursery practice is preferred but not required. Spanish is not required. Applicant screening will commence during the last week in February. Applications are available at Forestry Building Room 201 (attention: Marie Rothell). Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting February 26, until all slots are filled.

Course Details

Tuition cost is $1,050 plus airfare (estimated $700-$800). Tuition includes: airport transfer to/from Guatemala City; lodging (shared hotel room); board (3 meals/day); purified drinking water; local transport; and health insurance. Any additional travel-related expenses and in-country expenses (snacks, meals, souvenirs, etc.) are borne by the student. Students are responsible for acquiring a current passport and immunizations. 2 credits may be available via the University of Montana’s School of Extended & Lifelong Learning Academic at an additional cost of $135. It is not necessary to be enrolled in a degree program to qualify for credits.

Travel arrangements between Missoula and Guatemala City are the responsibility of the student and must be purchased individually. Students must plan in advance to ensure arrival in Guatemala City at the specified dates and times. Details on flight specifics will be covered upon selection. Several mandatory planning meetings will be held during the spring semester in preparation for the trip. Meetings will address travel planning, health, safety, and other elements requiring preparation.

A valid U.S. passport is required. If you have a passport, make sure it will be current at the time of the trip, or else renew it now. If you do not have a passport, apply for one immediately. The processing can take several months. There is no charge for the passport itself but local official passport facilities in Missoula may charge a service fee (typically $25), and you will need to submit a passport photo with your application. You can apply at the passport office of the Postal Service at 1100 West Kent Avenue, or at the Missoula Public Library at 301 East Main Street. No special visa is required; tourist visas are stamped upon arrival.

All travel entails some risks and this trip is no exception, but precautions have been taken to minimize risks to the extent possible. Evening curfews will be in effect. You are encouraged to read the latest U.S. State Department travel advisory of Guatemala and determine whether the risks are acceptable to you: All students must enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which will provide automatic updates of travel safety and security, and will allow you to communicate with friends and family in the event of an emergency.

Medical insurance for the duration of the trip is included in tuition. Students are responsible for ensuring that routine immunizations are current. These include measles/mump/rubella (MMR), diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT), polio, etc. If enrolled at UM, vaccinations against these diseases are already required, but students must ensure that vaccinations are still current.

Several vaccine-preventable diseases may be encountered in Guatemala. For more details, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention ( These include (immunization cost is estimated): Hepatitis A ($58); Hepatitis B ($63); Typhoid ($85 oral, or $99 injectible). The Missoula County Health Department at 301 West Alder has a Travel Clinic program that can help inform you of the health risks and provide the necessary immunizations. They offer a free consultation, but any required immunizations are available for a fee.


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