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The Tuholske Institute for Environmental Field Studies promotes place-based learning where law, nature, and people meet.  

An initiative of Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Center, the institute’s experiential education opportunities equip students to advance environmental protection. Field courses across the world enhance students’ cultural competence and understanding of racial and socioeconomic disparities in environmental benefits and harms; diversify their learning experience through exposure to different landscapes and practitioner perspectives; and provide training for hands-on knowledge of natural resources. The institute also advances scholarship, dialogue, and best practices related to the role of field study curriculum in law school, promoting place-based education across institutions.   

The institute honors late Vermont Law School professor Jack Tuholske. A leading public interest environmental lawyer, Tuholske inspired an entire generation of environmental lawyers and his brilliance in the courtroom left a legacy of protection for the wildlands he loved. He was a leader in place-based education, establishing a field course that took students on a two-week backpacking trip in the Montana wilderness to learn public lands law. The course served as a model as Vermont Law School expanded its field offerings and leadership in experiential environmental education. VLS now offers courses in Utah, Cuba, Southeast Asia, the U.N. Climate Change Conference, and more—in addition to the original course in Montana—while the Tuholske Institute for Environmental Field Studies continues his work promoting deep field-based experiential education.   

Students sitting in a circle in the forest while Jack Tuholske lectures

Jack Tuholske (right, in blue) and students in their outdoor classroom in Montana. Photo by Dave Colwyn.