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Old 08-31-2007, 08:29 PM   #1
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Does this interest you?

Have you ever been on vacation and wished you knew more about the geology, or the history, or wildlife than you could find out from the 30 minute ranger talk? Do you sometimes wish you could be around others interested in the same sort of thing on your vacations rather than people rushing from attraction to attraction with a check list? If you answered yes the rest of this post is directed to you.

I have a hypothetical here, but before answering the questions below, please give it some thought. I have been pondering trying to put together a university sponsored class out in the field. The class could be taken for credit or as a “interest class”. The idea would is to travel to a neat area, say the mountains outside of Santa Fe NM and have what amounts to a summer camp for grown ups. The class would run Tuesday to the following Thursday. This would allow three days travel time at each end for those working and taking 2 weeks vacation.

Experts in fields such as history, geology, anthropology, biology, forestry, ect would lead day trips to interesting sites nearby. In Santa Fe this could include Los Alamos, the Jemez Mountains (think vulcanology and hot springs), Santa Fe, maybe Pecos NM, the list here could get pretty long pretty fast. There would probably be a break for the weekend for following what ever interest you might have. There would be study materials to delve into before the trip so you would have the basics of all the topics ahead of time. Think of it as living the discovery channel for a week.
The housing would be camping, campers welcome. BUT it would be boondocking.

So here are my questions: how appealing does this idea sound in general, and if it were available how likely would you be to take advantage of it?

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Old 08-31-2007, 08:38 PM   #2
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We often take one of the "Roadside Geology series books when we travel. I think a natural philosophy rendevous would be great. Let's make it happen!
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:52 PM   #3
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'classes' like this already happen.

30+ years ago i took a 1 credit hour class entitled the 'flora and fauna of florida'

we meet 1 hour each week to study the plants and critters and geography and geology of the panhandle state.

the instructor was a botanist and photographer for the national geographic.

then we all went camping for a week in florida,

to 'collect specimens' for the university natural history museum...

over spring break

many schools still have classes like this that include a week long field trip.

your proposal has some issues....

insurance will cover officially enrolled for credit university students

but 'non students' aren't included or covered, so it's hard to mix for credit with un-enrolled people

then there is the issue of 'too many instructors'

imo it's better to have 1-2 that cover the full palate than several.

there are liability issues for instructors as well.

it might be easier to sponsor this sort of 'class' at a 'communiversity' or adult learning annex...

UMKC Communiversity

many areas have these now and they regularly do these sorts of classes...

many larger universities now also offer non credit or degree programs for senior aged alums for free or very small fees...

just another option.

so it's a good idea rodney,

and many folks already do take these outdoor field trip classes on natural sciences, photography, social sciences, anthropology, archeology and related topics

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Old 09-01-2007, 12:21 AM   #4
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I think it's a great idea. It might be fun to invite some experts to give a talk at a forum rally, or invite a lot of experts and make it the focus of a rally. If it was in my region, I'd definitly go.

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Old 09-01-2007, 12:37 AM   #5
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Nice idea. Are you thinking of doing this as an official WBCCI caravan or signing up a bunch of AS friends for a university field trip?
The wife and I have done this sort of vacation thru university extension classes. Rafted down the Colorado River for a week with two professors. Camped on the beach every night. Same thing to the Santa Barbara Islands off the coast of southern california. Same thing to the easter Sierra and the owens valley of eastern california. Lot of fun, lot of learning and you meet people with similar interests. I'll bet the Univ of NM does the same sort of things.
Keep us posted on what you do.
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Old 09-01-2007, 08:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by bobkelly
Nice idea. Are you thinking of doing this as an official WBCCI caravan or signing up a bunch of AS friends for a university field trip?
The idea I have is to do this in conjunction with the universtity where I work. Also, part of my motivation would be to get international students out into the hinterland to see america. I think it would be neat to get a mix of regular students and travel minded folks together. The longer range notion is to try and set up a yearly tip that would rotate between places (eg grand canyon, tetons, ect). Right now I am trying to gauge interest in doing something like this to see if it is worth bringing up with the administration.

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Old 09-01-2007, 01:10 PM   #7
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I think it is an awesome idea. Especially for international students that are here with class not in session. Sure they can get a job and earn a few bucks to help with college. And the education process that they are currently engaged in may benefit far more in the untouched areas of this country with an instructor (guide) than the benefit they may get from entering into the capitalist market place. And the instructor guide might get something from this too. I would suggest that the students actually work for a period prior to enrolling and they earn 50% of the cost of the event if the students are recieving support from other sources.

Some what of a related event, my son who goes to college in western Michigan has been on a cross country trip with 4 other guys in a mini van since August 16th. They are due back in school on September 3rd or 4th. (I forget the exact date) They have been to a dozen states and places like Yellowstone, Tetons, Bad Lands, Pacific Ocean, and Grand Canyon. It isn't a structured trip and if it was it could have some powerful educational benefits. Plus it is giving them the experience of living and cooperating with others in a small space. (it is a mini van)

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