Seminar Schedule

NEH Seminars provide rich opportunities to explore new ideas and to exchange insights with a small group of peers. We look forward to forming a vibrant learning community this summer. We ask that you help this seminar reach its full potential by completing primary source reading assignments in advance of your arrival at Carroll College. Doing so will empower you to participate fully and actively in each day’s topics and activities.  

Issues concerning nature bring out passionate points of view. We expect that seminar participants will bring with them a range of perspectives, allegiances, and interests concerning the topics to be addressed. Summer scholars should expect the same. We strive to be guided in all our conversations by principles of charity and empathy.  

A detailed schedule follows below. You can also select the links below to see the schedule for each week.

Print schedule

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3


Week 1

Monday, July 1

Introduction: A Failure of Imagination?

9:00 AM - Morning Session on Berry, Snow, et. al.
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Orientation to Carroll College and its Resources
3:30 PM - Prep Time/Individual Meetings with Project Directors


  • "It All Turns on Affection" by Wendell E. Barry
  • "The Two Cultures" by C.P. Snow
  • "Meet the Humanities" by Michael Hulme
  • "Environmental Humanities" by Sverker Sörlin

Tuesday, July 2

Exploring Origins - Written Traditions

9:00 AM - Morning Session on Genesis 1-2
12:00 PM  - Lunch
1:00 PM - Session on Genesis and Huxley
3:30 PM - Prep Time/Individual Meetings with Project Directors


  • Genesis 1-2 (online here)
  • "On the Relations of Man to the Lower Animals" by Thomas Huxley (online here)
  • "Subduing the Earth: Genesis 1, Early Modern Science, and the Exploitation of Nature" by Peter Harrison

Wednesday, July 3

Exploring Origins - Oral Traditions (with guest scholars Mike Jetty and Shane Doyle)

9:00 AM - Native American Origin Stories
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Teaching the Stories: Montana’s Indian Education for All Curriculum
3:30 PM - Origin Stories in the Classroom Activity


  • Read selections from American Indian Myths and Legends
  • "From Native North American Oral Traditions to Western Literacy: Storytelling in Education" by Nathalie Piquemal

Thursday, July 4

Defining Nature: Pictographs and Poetry (with guest scholar Melissa Kwasny)

9:00 AM - Field Trip to Hellgate Canyon
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Session on Poetry and Nature 


  • Pictograph by Melissa Kwasny 
  • "Sci-Animism: American Poetry and Science" by Gioia Woods. 

Friday, July 5

Defining Nature - Hard Times

9:00 AM - Dickens as a response to Modern Approaches to Nature
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Continue Discussion of Dickens
2:30 PM - Pedagogy Session with Christina Torres


Week 2

Monday, July 8

Defining Nature - Field Trip to Butte, America ("The Richest Hill on Earth")

9:00 AM - Travel to Butte, Montana for guided tour and discussion
4:00 PM - Return to Helena, debrief trip.


  • "The Pit" by Nathaniel Miller.
  • Butte,  America documentary film.

Tuesday, July 9

Defining Nature - Ansel Adams and Wilderness

9:00 AM - Morning Visual Exercise 
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Session on Adams and Tseng


  • "The Artist and the Ideals of Wilderness" and "Problems of Interpretation of the Natural Scene" by Ansel Adams
  • "Yosemite and Ansel Adams: Art, Commerce, and Western Tourism" by Jonathan Spaulding
  • "East Meets West"
  • Review Photographs by Ansel Adams and Tseng Kwon Chi

Wednesday, July 10

Imagining a Way Forward

9:00 AM - Field Trip to Asarco smelter SuperFund site in East Helena 
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM -  Session on philosophical dialogue and nature

Thursday, July 11

Imagining a Way Forward

9:00 AM - Morning screening of and session on Princess Mononoke (1997)
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Afternoon session on pedagogy with Christina Torres


  • "Princess Mononoke and Beyond: New Nature Narratives for Children" by Benjamin Thevenin

Friday, July 12

Preparation for Yellowstone Park

9:00 AM - Pedagogy Session with Christina Torres
11:00 AM - Screen episode of Ken Burn's The National Parks: America's Best Idea
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Discussion of Yellowstone and National Parks


  • "A Visual Critique of Ken Burn's The National Parks: America's Best Idea" by Cindy Ott
  • "Yellowstone as 'Landscape Idea': Thomas Moran and the Pictorial Practices of Gilded-Age Western Exploration" by Gareth E. John
  • "The American Forests" by John Muir

Week 3

Monday, July 15

Bringing it All Together in Yellowstone National Park

Travel to the West Yellowstone Studies Center and visit Yellowstone National Park 

Tuesday, July 16

Ecological Survey of Yellowstone National Park

Ecological survey of Yellowstone National Park with Dr. Grant Hokit, professor of biology and environmental science at Carroll College.

Wednesday, July 17

Yellowstone and Native American Cultural Traditions

Native American cultural survey of Yellowstone National Park with Mike Jetty, Indian Education Specialist for the State of Montana and Dr. Shane Doyle, Educational Consultant.


  • “Bad Medicine” by Owen Wister (on the seminar Moodle page)

Thursday, July 18

A day in Yellowstone National Park. Agenda to be determined by participants' interests. 

Friday, July 19

Return to Carroll College for final dinner together and discussion of curricular ideas.