Dates: Tuesdays; Nov. 21–Dec. 12

Time: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Location: Hope Lutheran  Church

This course will explore the evolution of the great naturalist tradition through the centuries, stretching from the gentle nature observations of Gilbert White (1789), to the environmentalism of Rachel Carson and Ed Abbey and beyond. Through readings, lectures and discussion, we will explore threads that unify the influential naturalists and consider how these people connected to the natural world through both scientific and philosopher-poet eyes—the scientist looking at “What” and the philosopher-poet asking “Why”. We will end by considering the relevance of the naturalist tradition for today and its future path in a technological, media-focused world. Robin will incorporate her own experiences as a

naturalist, scientist and creative writer.

Class Format: lecture and discussion Readings: TBD

PattenInstructor: Robin Patten is a naturalist and writer working from her home on the edge of Yellowstone Park. She holds a PhD in ecology, with further graduate studies in environmental history, literature, and cultural geography. Robin has traveled extensively, always considering the natural heritage of the lands she walks through and is currently pursuing a project to visit the landscapes that inspired some of the world’s influential naturalists.


Kathryn Earley 2When my husband and I were looking for our place to retire, one of the places we visited was Bozeman.  While we were here we went to the library, where I happened to pick up a Wonderlust brochure.  Here was university-quality instruction by experts in a huge number of subjects.  No homework, no exams, no papers, just a chance to learn new things or review things we’d already studied.  It was also an opportunity to meet people with a wide variety of interests.  I was hooked! Over the past several years, I’ve come to feel strongly about supporting this valuable community resource for lifelong learning, and fortunately there’s a community of dedicated volunteers who feel the same way.

This past year was our first as Friends of MSU Wonderlust, whose mission is to support and promote MSU Wonderlust.  We’ve contributed funds to getting a new projector at Hope Lutheran Church, where many of our classes are held, and to Gallatin Community Radio, which broadcasts many of our Friday Forums.  We’re also sponsors of and taking part in Active Aging Week and the Prime Age 50+ Expo.

In January Friends will sponsor the MSU Wonderlust reception.  Join us at the Country Bookshelf on January 9, 5 pm – 7 pm, where you can meet instructors and other people interested in learning.  

Kathryn Earley, President of Friends of Wonderlust