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The Wilderness Institute

The mission of the The Wilderness Institute is to further the understanding of wilderness and wild lands stewardship through education, research and service.

Housed within the University of Montana's College of Forestry and Conservation, the Wilderness Institute provides students, agencies, and the general public with information, educational programs and resources, and technical tools to understand public lands conservation, land stewardship, protected areas management, and the social and ecological values of wilderness.

Rocky RidgeNew 23 Day Wintersession Patagonia Field Studies Course with
Wilderness Institute Staff 

Undergrads at UM have a unique opportunity to visit a remote region of Chilean Patagonia and earn 6 upper division credits this wintersession from January 3-25, led by Wilderness Institute Director Natalie Dawson and Assistant Director Rachel James.  Students must apply by October 25 and are encouraged to explore the $2000 sustainability fellowship opportunity for the Patagonia Field Studies course as well.  To learn more, please contact or call (406) 243-6916 and visit the Patagonia Field Studies web page and College of Forestry and Conservation International Sustainability Fellows webpage to learn more.

JanineThe Wilderness Institute Launches the Freshman Wilderness Experience 

Led by experienced and qualified UM students, for UM freshman only, the Freshman Wilderness Experience (FWE) is for students who want to make friends, learn about Wilderness out their backdoor, and hit the ground running before the first day of class.  

To learn more about the successful new program, read the press release or visit the Freshman Wilderness Experience page.

2015  Spring Wilderness Issues Lecture Series Topic Announced: 

Wild Lab: Weaving stories through wilderness research


The lecture series is free and open to the public and also available credit through the University of Montana. Spring semester Wilderness Issues Lecture Series is available for 1 credit as NRSM 371, CRN:  30273, February-March 2015, Tuesdays 7:10-8:30 p.m.  For more information visit the Wilderness Issues Lecture Series website.

Wilderness 50th Anniversary LogoThe Wilderness Act was signed into law on September 3, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson.  The National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) was created and 9.1 million acres of wildlands for the use and benefit of the American people was established.  As of 2014 over 100 million acres to this unique land preservation system.  Join us in celebrating 50 years of wilderness in our country.