| 03.24.2018

Students return from Semester in the Wild


The Taylor Wilderness Research Station — located in Valley County, Idaho — was home to 11 college students participating in the University of Idaho Semester in the Wild program
this fall.

Semester in the Wild, a program hosted by the UI College of Natural Resources, is a semester-long outdoor program consisting of classwork as well as hands-on fieldwork in the wilderness. Students from all over the country are able to participate in the program.

“It was experiential and very immersive because you’re actually going out and physically doing what you’re learning about,” said Bonnie Ricord, a sophomore at the University
of Vermont.

The journey was intended to begin with a backpacking trip 36 miles to the Taylor Wilderness Research Station. However, due to a fire, the group flew to the research station.

While at the wilderness station, the students took 15 credits of upper division courses consisting of Western Literature, Environmental Writing, Wilderness and Protected Area Management, Outdoor Leadership and
River Ecology.

On Wednesday, the group of students held a presentation to talk about their experiences during their Semester in the Wild.

Bobby Theer, a junior at the University of Wisconsin, discussed a typical day at the ranch.

“I feel like I should kick myself in the butt for saying a ‘typical day at the ranch’,” Theer said. “No day was a ‘typical day.'”

Theer said the wilderness was a nice change from his large hometown of Chicago.

“Having the wilderness as my background was so different,” he said. “It was
always changing.”

During the presentation, UI senior Wesley Green showed the personal skills all the students have improved upon — such as adaptability
and communication.

“These are important skills that we made, as a group, that we wanted to work on and build upon,” Green said.

Although the students all met each other for the first time at the McCall Field Campus, just days before the actual program began, the group said they all became close.

“We created a community out there that was isolated from the community and civilization,” Ricord said. “So we really got to know each other and our teachers really well.”

Wednesday’s presentation counted for a large percentage of the students’ final grade, so it was required that all of them come up to the UI campus — once they finished their work in the wilderness. Both UI students and non-UI students were given accommodations in the dorms.

“We feel empowered to make a difference knowing that we can not only understand material, but apply it to real-world situations,” Green said. “We gained an understanding and appreciation for this type of learning that will help us even after we graduate.”


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