Photo by David Wells

Let’s Get Wild

by Augie Schield - President, MSU Wild

Students fighting for public lands. 

Over the past few semesters, MSU students have been hard at work advocating for conservation. Not only did we rally for public lands in Helena last January, but we also held on-campus discussions to educate students on local conservation and environmental issues, hosted state senator JP Pomnichowski for a discussion on public-land transfer, and testified in front of legislative committees. Additionally, we attended forest-planning meetings, screened a documentary about the threats to the Badger-Two Medicine, and spent countless hours registering our peers to vote.

The MSU Wilderness Association (MSU Wild) is a perfect representation of this next generation of conservation advocates. MSU Wild members act as youth ambassadors for the statewide conservation nonprofit, the Montana Wilderness Association. We take action by communicating with and inspiring our peers to get outside and be active advocates for wild places.

Many freshmen take their first steps in Montana’s  wilderness areas on club-organized hikes.  By facilitating these experiences, we can solidify the values of quiet recreation and conservation. These wild places become essential parts of both the physical and mental health of many in our communities, and students are no different. Wilderness areas provide clear water and clean air to the Gallatin Valley, some of the most pristine wildlife habitat in the lower 48, and are a big part of Montana’s booming outdoor-recreation economy.

MSU  Wild groups have ventured into the Bob Marshall and Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness areas, headed south to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument for spring break, and spent countless hours exploring our incredible back yard, the Gallatin, Bridger, Crazy, and Madison ranges.

Photo by Taylor Burlage

Photo by Taylor Burlage

In the coming months, MSU Wild has many opportunities for students to get involved in both public-lands advocacy and outdoor adventure. These events include a winter survival skills course, a civic engagement and advocacy training, a GPS educational field day, and loads of other fun activities like group hikes, film festivals, and potlucks.  We aim to create a community of students focused on having fun in Montana’s wildlands while making sure we can pass that outdoor way of life on to future generations of Montana State students. The club is open to any student, regardless of experience. All it takes is the desire to protect that which makes Montana so unique.

Photo by Fay Bohmer

Photo by Fay Bohmer

Stay up-to-date with MSU Wild club events by joining our Facebook group MSU Wild (Wilderness Association) and following @msuwild on Instagram.  We can also be reached by email at [email protected].   Keep it Wild!