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Exploring Rural Issues

 

We connect college and university students with the people and stories of Wallowa County. Despite economic hardships from a declining forest industry, Wallowa County has joined together to adapt and thrive. Visiting students engage directly with local residents and learn first-hand about rural values, issues, and problem solving. These personal interactions strengthen rural-urban relationships. We have partnered with Oregon State University, Whitman College, and Portland State University to offer dynamic undergraduate and graduate courses.

Current University Courses

  • Whitman in the Wallowas, a month-long, 4-credit interdisciplinary course in the summer. This program, developed by Wallowa Resources and Whitman College faculty, explores the natural and human communities of Wallowa County. Student fieldwork integrates the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The course begins with natural history, followed by community-based conservation. Participants camp on private lands and learn directly from Wallowa County residents. The final segment of the course is a writing workshop based on field journals.

  • Semester in the West. Whitman students spend a semester traveling and studying public land conservation in the American West. The field program offers coursework in ecology, writing, politics, and integrative projects. Wallowa Resources coordinates 7 days of the program during which students meet with ranchers, land managers, county government officials, and entrepreneurs to learn about rural problem solving in Wallowa County. The Wallowa County wolf issue is a popular for student final video/writing productions.

    Listen to student podcasts, watch presentations of their "Epiphanies", and learn more about Semester in the West

    Read a blog and reflections by Allison Bolgiano, a Semester in the West student and former Wallowa Resources intern

  • Communities and Natural Resources. Oregon State University offers this graduate level field seminar for students in Forest Ecosystems and Society and Human Development and Family Science programs. Wallowa Resources coordinates and leads the program in Wallowa County. The Communities and Natural Resources seminar provides students interdisciplinary, experiential learning about contemporary community and natural resource issues in rural Oregon. Students learn firsthand from community leaders about current conditions and future prospects for Oregon's rural, natural resource dependent communities. Students synthesize what they learn on-site about poverty, natural resource dependency, community well-being, adaptive capacity, resilience; social, human, economic and natural capital; and land tenure.
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