What is sense of place? What does it take to truly know a place? What can we learn about the world at large through where we are right now? What is my relationship with nature and my community? What are my strengths as a leader and how can I effectively use those strengths in the communities I am involved in? These are just a few of the questions we’ll explore this summer.

At HMI, we believe that the world around us is an endlessly fascinating subject and teacher. The academic program at the Summer Term focuses on developing each individual student’s sense of place, leadership skills, and environmental ethic. Our curriculum is interdisciplinary, allowing us to consider topics and ask questions from multiple perspectives. The Summer Term is designed for students who are intellectually curious and enthusiastic about learning by doing.

Summer Term Field Classes

Explore the courses listed below for a brief synopsis of coursework and content.

Practices & Principles: Wilderness & Leadership

Practices & Principles includes wilderness skills, leadership studies and environmental ethics. Learning how to camp and travel in the mountains gives students personal confidence and more comfort in the wilderness, while a carefully crafted leadership development curriculum gives students a leadership “tool box” and helps them develop their own leadership styles. On campus and in the backcountry, students also discuss readings on environmental ethics that challenge them to develop their own ethical framework for thinking about the natural world.

Developing a Sense of Place: Social & Environmental Science in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains

Using environmental science, history, anthropology, politics and literature as our guides, this interdisciplinary course is centered on exploring what it means to have a sense of place. As a framework for the study of place, students learn about Leadville’s rich mining history, conduct ethnographic interviews with local residents, and examine the science of the human impact on the natural world in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Science labs are place-based and experiential in nature and focus on topics such as the geology of the region, environmental remediation efforts, the impact of forest fire prevention, and the current pine beetle infestation in Colorado. Excerpts from the works of Western writers such as Edward Abbey and Terry Tempest Williams serve to highlight how individual authors represent their own sense of place. The course culminates with an independent project where each student reflects on a place that is personally significant to him/her via a historic, scientific, or creative writing lens.