Field & International Experiences: French and Italian Alps over images of small village in front of mountain landscape, two students hiking in a mountainous meadow, and a french city

a group of students on a motor boat in the Grand Canyonpeople at camp in the Grand Canyonstudents taking a selfie wearing life jacketsgroup of people at camp in the Grand Canyongroup of people in front of waterfallstudents having group discussion in desert landscape



Canyonlands: Climate, Water & Culture is field-based course in which you will investigate the history, culture, and policies of the Colorado River canyonlands, with a special focus on the experiences of the Tribes living near what is now Grand Canyon National Park. 

The course opens with an online component during the second half of the spring semester, introducing the cultural, socio-ecological, public lands, and water policy themes of the course. The field portion of the course will begin in Las Vegas where we will meet with several experts and engage in discussions related to the key themes of the course. At the heart of the experience is an eight-day guided raft trip through the Grand Canyon. 

The purpose of this course is to achieve an immersive and deeper understanding of the region’s past and to explore the ideas, practices, and wisdom that will help the Colorado River to sustain life far into the future.

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with significant historical and cultural facets of life along the Colorado River;

  • Exhibit an understanding of major socio-ecological issues impacting the canyonlands, especially those related to climate and water;

  • Discuss Indigenous peoples’ historic and modern presence in the ecoregion;

  • Develop an understanding of the federal public land context of Grand Canyon National Park;

  • Integrate past and present observations of a changing climate to articulate a vision for sustaining life along the Colorado River. 

This class will afford you and your classmates an opportunity to explore stories of people, nature, lands, and water of the Colorado River canyonlands, while also shedding light on similar socio-ecological concerns in other parts of the US and internationally.

Instructors: Temple Stoellinger



Offered every other year. The program includes the following components:

  • Spring semester: ENR 4965 / 5965 Canyonlands: Climate, Water & Culture (3 credits, Online Asynchronous)

  • May: travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, and 8-day rafting trip through the Grand Canyon

Upcoming programs: May 2024 (final dates TBD: May 15-25, 2024)


Open to all UW students. Preference given to applicants enrolled in Haub School programs. 


Admission: program admission is dependent upon application and possible interview. Apply here.



Includes: lodging, transportation during program, entrance fees, instruction, excursions, most meals, and 8-day rafting trip (includes: guide service and gratuities, camping and rafting equipment, all meals).

Does not include: roundtrip transportation to Las Vegas, some meals including on travel days, travel insurance, or UW tuition and fees for spring semester credits. 

Program Fee 2024: coming soon (est. $4500/student; depends on number of participants)


  • experience the Grand Canyon from the river on an 8-day, guided river trip

  • meet with water policy experts to discuss the challenges of managing a vital resource in a changing climate

  • engage with tribal representatives to explore the cultural significance of the Colorado River and sites within Grand Canyon National Park



Participants should be prepared for long periods of sitting, walking, strenuous hiking, and camping. Participants should be prepared to spend full days outdoors in changing weather conditions, and possibly very hot weather.



Join us for an info session:



We are currently accepting applications for Summer 2024 travel. 

Application Deadline: November 15, 2023.


Please contact Field & International Program Coordinator 

Melanie Matthews -