The study of plants and animals has been artificially separated from the study of humans for more than a hundred years. This Utah-based program, coordinated through the Kennedy Center, will study biology, outdoor leadership skills, Utah history, and writing as one subject—integrated natural history. We will follow five water systems from their origins in the mountains to their use in a human community, and we’ll study the relationships between human recreational and economic practice and the plant and animal systems. We will spend most of a week backpacking in each of four areas: Vernon Creek in western Utah, the Bear River in northern Utah, the Provo River in central Utah, the Green River in eastern Utah, and the Escalante River in southern Utah. We will explore the Pony Express Trail, the Uinta Mountains, the site of the Battle of Bear River, the Bear River Bird Refuge, Upper Calf Creek Falls, Coyote Gulch, Capitol Reef National Park, a corner of the Mojave Desert, and dozens of other areas.
In addition to these field experiences, we will spend time at BYU where we will study the principles of inquiry for biology, history, recreation, and creative writing, specifically the personal essay; we will also learn how each discipline uses the library. We will learn specific skills associated with each discipline, for example, canyoneering, kayaking, snowshoeing, recording oral history, making photographic and biological collections, close observation of humans and animals, and classification of species.