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Using a hands-on approach, the field seminar Public Lands Management takes place during summer each year in Montana. Students travel to Missoula, home to the headquarters of the Northern Region of the National Forest System, the Lolo National Forest, and the University of Montana School of Forestry. There, they spend two weeks immersed in the realities of public land management while hiking into the wilderness, exploring a roadless area whose management fate is undecided, and visit restoration logging sites, among other experiential education opportunities. They don't just read endless NEPA cases about the logging debate; rather, they discuss forest management sitting amid a 600-acre clearcut, pondering hundreds of square miles of Forest Service lands, a visual patchwork of old harvests, vigorous newly regenerated stands, burned areas, a web-like network of roads, and vast swaths of potential new wilderness areas.

The course explores themes of resource utilization versus preservation, the changing legal framework for public land management, current controversies over salvage logging, motorized vehicle use, conflicts between wildlife management and recreationists, ecosystem restoration, the role of fire on public lands, and the impacts of climate change.

"The Montana Field Course was pivotal to my decision to go into conservation law, preserving and restoring working and natural lands where I'm from in northern California. I came into the course with an excellent legal education and more than a decade working in public service, but the field course allowed me to connect the dots between the work I love and places I love. I could be a lawyer and wear hiking boots to work. I could be a lawyer and go outside sometimes. I could be a lawyer and bring people together for a common solution. It was challenging, but I came away from it more centered and self aware and ready to forge my own path. A decade on, I'm still figuring the whole career thing out, but I now have the confidence to do it on my own terms. Also, I learned to shut up and not fill the silence."


Students outside in a green field in Vermont
Study forestry, ecology, and more in the rural landscapes surrounding Vermont Law School.
Students pose for a group shot in the red desert at Canyonlands park
Travel through Arches, Canyonlands, and Bears Ears to learn about the federal laws governing public lands. 
Students in the back of a truck in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Tour Cambodia, Vietnam, and/or Myanmar to learn about environmental governance in the developing world.
A group of VLS students poses for a group shot on the steps of the University of Havana, Cuba
Visit urban and rural areas of Cuba to learn about sustainable energy and agriculture. 
Students pose next to a sign for the 25th UN Climate Change Conference
UN Climate Change Conference
Attend the world's most important climate conference—held in a different country each year—to serve as a delegate.
Jack Tuholske
Tuholske Institute Home
Learn how the institute promotes place-based learning where law, nature, and people meet.