Pitt in Wyoming Summer Programs

Environmental Policy Writing in Wyoming

This two-week, three-credit program focuses on the impact of environmental policy in the American West.   The program includes time in Laramie, WY and Cheyenne, WY, as well as Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Meet with local community members, experts in environmental policy, legislators, lobbysists, and members of Native American communities to gain a comprehensive and well-rounded understanding of environmental policy and issues.  You'll leave the program with a portfolio of policy papers, too. 

Yellowstone Field Studies Program

This class uses a month of day hikes to explore the myriad natural resources in and around the greater Yellowstone region.  The first ten days focuses on unravelling the forces that have produced the spectacular geology of the region as well as the underlying natural resources that plants, animals, and humans need to make a living.  The biology section focuses on the diverse ecosystems of the region, including those of the dry basins, the relatively wet mountains and plateaus, and the near-arctic settings of the Beartooth Plateau.  Particularly noteworthy is the diversity and abundance of birds, mammals, and wildflowers across the region.  The final third of the class focuses on how people should best interact with the natural resources of the area.  What should the roles of government regulation and private enterprise be when it comes to hunting wolves and elk, exploiting petroleum and mineral resources, protecting wild areas, and making the natural wonders of Yellowstone and beyond accessible to tourists?  Students will see abundant wildlife, amazing geology, and come to appreciate the many ways in which the West is culturally distinct from the East.

Spring Creek Field Studies Program

This 6-week course is a unique introduction to the practices of ecology, paleontology, and archaeology, with a strong emphasis on field technique. The first 4.5 weeks focus on the rich resources of Pitt’s Spring Creek Preserve outside Laramie, WY, as well as the Medicine Bow, Laramie, and Vedauwoo mountains.  The Preserve includes an intact, mixed-grass prairie, largely untouched beds of dinosaur and other fossils, and prehistoric Native American campsites. We use the overall region to explore stream and terrestrial ecology in areas ranging from dry prairie basins to alpine forests to mountain snowfields; we conduct surveys of plants, mammals, birds, and insects in these ecosystems; we discover dinosaur bones and marine fossils in the varied sedimentary formations that stretch across the property, and we reconstruct the ancient environments revealed by these formations and the fossils they contain.  We also search for and document Native American artifacts concentrated at several sites around the property.  In the midst of all of this, we discuss current issues facing the region, including water rights, cattle grazing, wind farms, and economic development.  Finally, we embark on a hiking and camping trip around the state to consolidate and expand what we learned in southeastern Wyoming.  This trip includes a spectacular array of natural wonders, including those of Yellowstone and the Tetons.  A fundamental result of this class is an understanding of the complex geological, biological, and historical processes that shape the landscape, habitats, and natural and human communities that we see today.

Studio Arts Field Studies Program

Modeled after an artist residency, the field study is situated in Rock River, Wyoming between a 1930s-motor lodge as primary residence, a 1919 bank building as makeshift studio, and the University’s 4,700-acre Spring Creek Preserve. Offering a complete focus on creative work within a community engaged in the same pursuits, students are fully immersed as artists without distraction. Students interact with the science field course participants on the preserve exploring the landscape, flora and fauna, and gaining greater historical and geologic context while absorbing impressions for creative work.