students at a campfire

During the 2017 Fall Semester, 14 students, two professors, and a program coordinator will load books, camping gear, and themselves into a couple of vans and hit the road for a semester-long tour of the American West.

The trip is designed as an exploration into the issues at the heart of the contemporary West. Students will earn 16 credits in environmental studies and history as they study Environmental Cooperation and Conflict, Landscape and Meaning, the History of Public Lands, and the Native West.

This prolonged journey into the field will allow us to learn directly from landscapes and ecosystems, as well as from people who live, work, and study in those places. Together, we expect to build a cohort of impassioned scholars with a particular breadth and depth of experiential knowledge who are equipped to build a better future for the West.

We will visit iconic, protected sites like Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, contentious places like the Little Bighorn and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, working landscapes like the Butte Copper Mines, and communities from present-day Native nations to "New West" towns like Bend, Twisp, and Moab.

Meet the Expedition

Learn More About the Students and Faculty on the Expedition

Read the Latest Journal Entry

March 3, 2016

March 3, 2016

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I can't believe spring break is here already, however the weather is certainly suggesting that winter is over. Faculty and students get a week off to rest before the final seven-week push to the end of the semester. Staff get a well-deserved Friday off on March 11 to enjoy time with family and friends. Sandy & I are celebrating our 40th anniversary by going to the Caribbean, a trip we had planned to take last year and had to cancel when I was asked to serve as the interim president.

When we get back, I invite you to attend the All College Meeting on Thursday, March 17 at 3:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Gore School of Business. The format for the meeting will be different this year. Rather than a lot of PowerPoint presentations, we are going to send in advance the various administrative reports. I will begin the meeting with a brief report on the state of the college and then turn the remaining time over to Q&A. The Senior Team and I would like to address any questions or concerns you may have about the college. I would invite you to submit your questions or concerns in advance so that we come prepared to answer them.

Finally, I invite you to volunteer to attend Admitted Student Day on Saturday, March 19. I would especially encourage faculty to attend the lunch from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Behnken Field House on that day. This is the most important recruiting event of the year and for many of our prospective students and their parents, it's the day when decisions are often made about whether they come or not to Westminster. Achieving our enrollment goals for next year is my number one priority and assisting our Admissions staff on this day is one way you can help. (See schedule attached). Please contact Kristie Ross in Admissions by phone or email, if you would like to volunteer.

Be safe and enjoy Spring Break.

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Expedition in the News

Two people on a canoe
Group of Students around Campfire

The Route

Our proposed route is an enormous figure eight, heading northwest first (because of potential early winter weather) and including Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Course-related sites include sites of environmental/cultural conflict or cooperation (e.g., Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; East Tavaputs Plateau tar sands; Klamath River dams; the Berkeley Pit, the Nevada Test Site, Owens Lake); National Parks (e.g., Yellowstone, North Cascades, Olympic, Redwood, Grand Canyon, Great Basin); wilderness areas (e.g., Bob Marshall, Glacier Peak); Native nations and sites (e.g., Burns Paiute, Coast Salish, Miwok, the Nez Perce trail, Colville, Pyramid Lake, Hopi); dam sites (e.g., Teton, Grand Coulee, Hoover, Hetch Hetchy, Snake River); and relevant towns/cities (e.g., Bozeman, Bend, Cody, Moab, Winthrop, Page).

Expedition Route

Course Descriptions

Follow the Expedition's Progress