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Montana Wilderness Home to U of U’s Environmental Humanities Study Center

EHEC Evening rainbow at the Center.

May 21, 2012 –The University of Utah has once more extended its educational reach beyond the 1,500 acre campus in the state’s capital city.

The Environmental Humanities Education Center, located in the remote Centennial Valley on the southern border of Montana, operates during the summer and early fall months and is available for students, faculty and other groups to study, explore and create in a wilderness setting that has been deliberately protected and conserved.

“We are pleased to have added the Centennial Valley to the U’s offerings of unique places to learn,” said Heidi Camp, assistant dean at the U’s College of Humanities.  “Our aim is to attract students from many disciplines to the rich landscapes of Utah and the Intermountain West, which provide an ideal base for wide-ranging environmental and humanities study,” she concludes.

The Center is a partnership of the U’s College of Humanities and the non-profit conservation group International Center for Earth Concerns (ICEC). The Valley is a significant landscape at 6,700 feet elevation and comprises 385,000 acres – largely public lands – of intact ecological systems, expansive wetlands and diverse wildlife with unique concentrations of rare species.

“Not many classrooms include access to a place like the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, which alone supports 260 species of birds,” says John Taft from ICEC.  “Our collaboration with the U to offer educational programs at the Center melds perfectly with our intent to preserve the wild nature of this valley, as well as to make its wonders available and accessible to others through a first-class learning environment.”

Four programs are now scheduled at the Center in 2012, each taking advantage of the rare setting for studies with an in-depth environmental focus:

August 14 – 19, 2012 — Eco-Spirituality

Rev. Tom Goldsmith, minister of the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City, and Dr. George Handley, Brigham Young University professor who has taught humanities, classics and comparative literature, will combine their perspectives on the meaning and implications of a personal spiritual relationship with the planet. Lectures and discussions will be combined with hikes, reading, writing and arts exercises to deepen and expand attendees’ relationships with nature and creation.

September 12 – 16, 2012 – Tutored by the Land: A Writing and Photography Workshop

Award-winning writer and photographer Stephen Trimble will lead an exploration of creative expression using the Centennial Valley as the platform. Workshops and field trips will intersect in the wild landscapes of the area and hone skills of structure, voice, editing and the use of photography. Trimble teaches writing in the Honors College at the University of Utah. As writer, editor, and photographer Trimble has published more than twenty books. His bedrock focus is the land—western wild lands and natural history. For registration or for more information please visit

September 19 – 23, 2012 — The Centennial Valley Documentary Film Seminar

Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Phil Tuckett, will conduct a four-day immersion into the art of documentary filmmaking. Tuckett and several guest instructors will take students through the process of documentary production from idea to exhibition. Time will also be allotted to screening and analyzing classic documentary films. Tuckett, formerly with NFL Films, is artistic director of the Southern Utah International Documentary Film Festival, as well as associate professor of communications at Dixie State College.

September 25 – October 1, 2012 – First Annual Centennial Arts Festival

Visual artists, photographers and those with multi-disciplinary creative talents are invited to gather as the seasons change to display and create artworks inspired by the landscape, colors, dramatic skies, and abundant wildlife of the Valley. 2012 Artists-in-Residence Frank and Louisa Carter will be available to share their work and discuss the residency program going forward.

Though remote in location, the Center is accessible and comfortable. The buildings that comprise it have been restored by ICEC and include the classrooms, conference rooms, dining and overnight accommodations that are available for area visitors. The facilities incorporate historic buildings from the area that was long a ghost town, which even earlier once served as a stop on the early stagecoach route to West Yellowstone.

Learn more about the Centennial Valley, the programs available through the Center and how to register at

More information about ICEC can be found at


The College is the second largest on campus and is at the core of the University of Utah’s mission and the experience of higher education. Offering 29 majors and 36 minors, the College annually confers one-fifth of the University’s diplomas. Students of the humanities learn to think critically, express themselves effectively, understand the nuances of cultural issues, interpret human experience, and appreciate the power of words and ideas. In doing so, they broaden their historical, ethical, social and international perspectives and enhance themselves intellectually and creatively.


            The University of Utah, located in Salt Lake City in the foothills of the Wasatch Range, is the flagship institution of higher learning in Utah. Founded in 1850, it serves more than 31,000 students from across the United States and the world. With more than 72 major subjects at the undergraduate level and more than 90 major fields of study at the graduate level, including law and medicine, the university prepares students to live and compete in the global workplace. Learn more about all the U has to offer online at