A new summer field course is allowing students to "take the pulse" of stakeholders across the state after the release of the 2017 Montana Climate Assessment last September. The three-week course, supported by the MSU Honors College, is led by Dr. Tony Hartshorn and Dr. Scott Powell, both faculty in the Land Resources and Environmental Sciences department at MSU.
From mid-July through August the class will travel to several locations across Montana to discuss the 2017 MCA with stakeholders and observe the impacts of Montana's changing climate across sectors and industries. From the course website:
"From July 16-19, [students] will travel west to Butte's Berkeley Pit, then Lubrecht Experimental Forest, then tour Pyramid Lumber's operation, hike to Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park, and review climate adaptation strategies on the Blackfeet Reservation. From July 30-August 2, we will camp in the Lamar Valley, drive over Beartooth Pass, tour the 250 MW Yellowtail Dam, tour the 2094 MW Colstrip Power Plant, and then meet with Montana Petroleum Association representatives before finishing with tours of the 60,000-barrel-per-day Laurel refinery and the Stillwater Recycling Facility in Columbus. From August 6-9, we will tour central Montana, beginning with a Helena meeting with Public Service Commissioners, a meeting with Timeless Seeds producers, a jaunt on the Ice Caves Trail, a tour of the Central Agricultural Research Center, a tour of TwoDot Ranch, and a tour of the Judith Basin Wind Energy Facility. "
In addition to their on-the-ground discussions and observations about Montana's changing climate, the students will write and post blogs about their experiences on the Climate Class 2018 website. The course will culminate with students developing a series of videos, podcasts, and op-eds to ultimately "catalog our journey into the science and politics and adventure of how Montanans are (and are not!) thinking about how Montana's changing climate might affect their future--our future."