The University of Montana is now offering a non-credit field course that allows participants to interact with Montana’s landscape, natural resources and cultural heritage. The class is being held by The School of Extended and Lifelong Learning. It’s a short course, lasting only two to five days each.

Experience Montana will be taught by UM facility, and a few outside experts. Learning time will be split between in-the-field experiences and a traditional classroom setting. I think the best part is that there will be no tests, papers due or grades given. The next scheduled Experience Montana course will be “Winter Animal Tracking in the Wild Swan.” It will be taking place January 26-27, 2013. This two-day course is going to be taught by Adam Lieberg and Melanie Parker of Northwest Connections. Students will explore the Swan Valley on snowshoes and learn to identify animals by their tracks, interpret animal behavior, and study the ecology of animals active in winter.

Another neat thing about this course is that participants will be residing at the Beck Homestead, a turn-of-the-century, 80-acre property complete with a barn, bath house and cook in Condon, Mont. For $395, the course will include all needed materials, instruction, local transportation and food. Participants will be responsible for their own transport to and from Condon.

If you are interested in participating, you better register soon as the class is only being offered to a small group, to ensure every person has a quality experience. Online registration is available on Animal Tracking website. For more information, you can also contact Beth Burman Frazee. Beth is the Marketing Director at the UM School of Extended & Lifelong Learning. She can be reached at 406-243-6721, or you can send her an email – beth.burman-frazee@umontan.edu

If you cannot participate in this course, you may be interested in a future course. Future courses offer participants the opportunity to learn about urban archeology in “Missoula Underground,” Paleontology in Makoshkia State Park, Grassland Ecology at the Matador Ranch, in Dodson, Mont, Montana’s colorful history in “Bannack Ghost Town,” and archeology at the Rosebud Battlefield. These are just a sampling of the future available courses offered in spring and summer of 2013.