About Wildlands Studies

  • Wildlands Studies offers participants first hand experience about the issues facing our wildlands.  Started 38 years ago by Crandall and Marcee Bay, in 2008 Wildlands Studies moved under the direction of Leslie Arutunian, a long-time Wildlands Studies colleague, and Wildlands Studies alumni of the Hawai'i and Baja, Mexico programs. 

    Wildlands Studies is an educational partner of Western Washington University. We have been providing environmental field programs to undergraduates for over 36 years, and can transfer credit to your home institution.

    Participants of Wildlands Studies field study projects come from all over the US and Canada.  Generally our participants are undergraduate students or recent college graduates.  We often have participants who graduated and are looking to build their resume with field research experience or intend to apply for graduate school.  More and more, we are excited to welcome international students.

    Faculty of Wildlands Studies programs come from around the world, and hold either a PhD or Masters of Science.  Many are professors and enjoy field study work, others are researchers who want to help broaden students' exposure to wildlife and environmental issues.  All are concerned about the impact of development and growth on our natural environment. Our instructors are experienced backcountry field guides as well as academicians, and are certified in First Aid and CPR.

    Risk management is one of the most important factors in the planning and preparation of Wildlands Studies projects. We have a structured risk management plan that is tailored to each specific project itinerary enabling us to adapt to changes in the natural and political world to help prevent and respond to risk quickly and soundly. Although we work hard to prevent incidents, wilderness travel does come with inherent risks. Injuries and accidents can happen. Participants should be aware of the potential for dangerous situations to arise. 

    As a part of our risk management strategy, we require standards of behavior from participants intended to maximize the safety of our students, our staff, our organization, and the local communities in which we visit. Learning to identify and avoid potential risks is one of the most valuable skills that participants can learn in the field. Wildlands Studies provides an orientation and overview upon arrival of our projects, and our instructors work with students throughout the program to learn how to manage risks that may occur in the project’s specific region. We expect students to acquire and use risk management skills on our projects, and as adults, accept responsibility for following our risk management protocols. We require all our students to sign a Participant Agreement and show proof of medical insurance before participating in our projects. Wildlands Studies provides exciting and unique backcountry field study experiences and we strive to achieve our program and educational goals while preventing injury and illness.

    We love our wildlands. Wherever we go, we strive seriously to minimize our impact on the land. We believe that to know its beauty and feel its inner music is a human need, a need important to our hearts as well as our heritage. As concerned citizens, we invite you to join one of our teams, and help in the effort to solve critical problems facing our wildlands and wildlife populations.

    We’re eager to hear about your interest in our programs. Please contact us at:

    Wildlands Studies
    PO Box 3403
    Santa Cruz, CA  95063
    E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.