Academic Credit Information

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Wildlands Studies works with Western Washington University and the Huxley College of the Environment’s Environmental Science Department to offer academic field-based courses.

wildlands studies academic course information


Wildlands Studies offers two types of courses: short courses during the summer and long courses year round. Short courses will be awarded 5 quarter credits and long courses will earn 15 quarter credits taught through three integrated but distinct courses each worth 5 quarter credits.


Our prerequisite is minimum one (1) college lower division science/biology or environmental studies/geography course or instructor consent.


Wildlands Studies courses involve 6-7 days per week of instruction and field research. Faculty and staff work directly with student’s 6-10 hours a day, and are available for tutorials before and after scheduled activities. Seminars and tutorials are held daily, usually both in the morning before specific field research activities take place and again after daily research activities conclude. Tutorials with individuals and groups of students are part of the regular fieldwork sessions as well. Field manuals and readings vary with each course, and include literature selections from recognized environmental academic writers, research texts and reports, and environmental impact assessments/planning documents for the specific study area. Resource speakers representing the principle wildland/wildlife management agencies concerned with the case study, researchers from nearby universities, national and regional conservation organizations, development proponents and citizen groups join the seminars on a regular and frequent basis. In addition, when possible students meet with public land management agency staff in their offices, where additional research literature, planning documents and agency materials pertaining to the case study are made available to the students.


Students will be graded on the basis of examinations; written term paper; formal presentations at group seminars; the quality of their field work; the maintenance of a field journal; participation in seminar sessions; completion of required readings; and presentation of an individual field study project to the class. Courses are given a letter grade.



Environmental Wildlands Studies
Description: Field investigations study of environmental problems affecting natural and human-impacted ecosystems, including the role of human interactions. Extended field study of flora, fauna, biotic communities, and ecological relationships at selected sites in the United States or international locations. Students participate in field research and evaluation of environmental policy options. Course may include: Concepts and principles of environmental research, wildland management, and public land planning methods; Environmental field study emphasizing onsite instruction and investigation of a specific wildland or wildlife case study; Field inventories; Field evaluation of planning/management options; Problems of sampling, quantification, and site-specific environmental impact assessment in wildland planning; The role of field research in wildland/wildlife management; Analysis of legislative public land planning mandates and how they affect the case study; Survey of the role of wildlands in regional thought and culture.  Credit: 5 Quarter Credits.

Wildlands Environmental Field Survey
Description: Field based course that conducts onsite examinations and analyses of environmental problems affecting North American/international wildlands and wildlife populations. Concepts and principles of environmental studies, wildlife management and public land planning methods are incorporated during assessment of the study area’s environmental characteristics, data collection techniques, quantification and analysis of field data, and environmental report writing. This course may include Research Design, such as: Historic and contemporary approaches to field research; Field limitations (availability and nature of data); Case study and assessment of environmental questions for a specific wildland area/wildlife communities (will vary with each project and reflect the research background of the instructor); Evaluations of environmental consequences of proposed management directions; Evaluation of socio-economic consequences of proposed management directions. This course may also include Field Applications such as: Data collection techniques (field experiences in identification, sampling, classification and/or organization of data); Field inventory and assessment of the study area’s environmental characteristics (forest composition, habitat components available for resident and migratory wildlife populations, examination of the natural history of wildland environments, opportunities for timber harvesting and/or mineral extraction, watershed qualities), introduction to population, community and ecosystem ecology, baseline documentation of environmental impacts, onsite analysis of planning directions and options, mapping of ecologically significant features and attributes, field examination of development and/or conservation proposals for the study area.(Emphasis of field work will vary depending on the nature of the field project); Quantification and analysis of field data; Environmental report writing, including background reports for public land managers, and the development of wildland management proposals for the study area.  Credit: 5 Quarter Credits.

Wildlands Environment and Culture
Description: Field studies course involves on-site research in a variety of North American and international locations, studying the relationships among cultural groups and the environment. Region and culture- specific case studies used to assess historical and current cultural and environmental uses of wildland and/or wildlife communities. Course examines consequences and outcomes of environmental policies and wildland/wildlife management. This course may include: Analysis of legislative public land planning mandates and how they affect the case study; Survey of the role of wildlands in regional thought and culture; Local, regional environmental use and issues of sustainability; Concepts and principles of environmental research, wildland management, and public land planning methods; The role of culture in wildland/wildlife management.  Credit: 5 Quarter Credits.