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




College of Forestry and Conservation

Community Engagement and Service

Wilderness Issues Lecture Series
Wilderness Issues Lecture Series
The lecture series serves as a forum for the exploration of current wilderness issues. Each year, the series brings scholars and leaders from across the country to the University of Montana to focus on a particular theme. Recent series include Native Peoples and Conservation and The Future of Wilderness in America.

Banded Peak by Neil Patterson
courtesy of The Dana Gallery

Matthew Hansen Endowment
The Matthew Hansen Endowment provides funding for historical research, creative writing, and wilderness studies projects that explore Montana's land and people. The Endowment was established in 1984 as a memorial to Matthew and his ideals.

Citizen Science
The Wilderness Institute’s Citizen Science Program builds on a growing movement that engages citizen volunteers in monitoring the ecological and social aspects of our wildlands.  Wilderness stewardship is increasingly jeopardized by declining federal dollars available to wilderness managers.  Since 2005, the Wilderness Institute has worked closely with agency and community partners to address this short-fall by recruiting citizens to help trained field staff assess on-the-ground conditions, perform basic stewardship activities, and monitor wilderness character.

Student Service Learning
Throughout the year, our students engage with a wide range of conservation advocates, land managers, tribal leaders, and innovative landowners. Internships and community service projects provide an opportunity for students to work directly with community organization or land management agencies on specific projects.