Frequently Asked Questions
University of Idaho – McCall Field Campus
P.O. Box 1025
1800 University Lane*
McCall, ID 83638
* If you are sending anything by any means other than the U.S. Postal Service (i.e., FedEx or UPS), you need to provide the physical address.
From points north, travel on State Highway 55 into downtown McCall. Highway 55 becomes Lake Street. At the intersection of Lake and 3rd Streets (both are technically still Highway 55), turn right onto 3rd. Travel south on 3rd for two blocks and take a left turn
onto Park Street. Park Street merges and turns into Thompson St. Follow Park/Thompson for 1/2 mile to stop sign. Take a left turn onto Davis Street. Follow Davis Street for 1.6 mile (through the Lick Creek Rd. intersection). You will have to stop at the PSP Kiosk. Say you are going to the UI Field Campus and they will let you through. Proceed till you see the Field Campus sign; turn left follow road until you see the driveway into the McCall Field Campus (there is a sign on the left side of the road). Take a left into the McCall Campus driveway at the sign.
Room and board costs are billed through the University of Idaho and will be billed as soon as you are registered for classes. You will receive a letter from the University of Idaho at whatever address you have indicated as your mailing address. Bills need to be paid according to the UI Fee Schedule. Typically, registrations are processed around the beginning of August.
You get one professional development day (if you have are going to a conference, or meeting with your advisor, etc.) and one personal day (if you have to leave for a wedding, etc.) during the fall residency (and the same for the spring residency). If needed, these can be taken during your academic week. During your teaching week, we need you to be there unless you are clinging to your death bed (and even then, a doctor’s note would be nice). If you already know of a conflict, tell us ASAP. You will also get one week for Thanksgiving break, approximately three weeks for Winter break, and one week for Spring break. Additional personal or professional days may be arranged on a per case basis in the spring.
The majority of eaters at MOSS during your residency will be 5th and 6th graders, and the food is catered to their tastes. Graduate students eat with the MOSS students during the week. There is always a salad bar with a wide variety of choices, and we are always striving to provide options that will appeal to our more health conscious adults. If you have any food allergies or special food needs, the cooks will work with you to the best of their ability to meet your needs.
Yes, and we have incorporated a course through the Wilderness Medicine Institute of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS/WMI) as part of your initial training.
Things you MUST Bring to the MOSS Program:
- A day pack big enough to carry field gear, ~2000 cu. In.
- Sleeping Bag/bedding/pillow
- General school supplies for your course work
- A positive attitude with a “can do”, teamwork orientation
- Rain Gear for the fall
- Snow Gear for the Winter/Spring - Puffy Jacket and Snow Boots
- Good technical synthetic/wool layers
- Sturdy pair of hiking boots/shoes
- Alarm Clock
Things you might like having:
- Heavy sleeping bag; extra blanket; extra pillow
- 2 pair synthetic/quick drying long pants
- 1 pair of shorts for in-camp use (early fall only)
- Extra pairs of long underwear (wool or polypropylene, no cotton)
- Warm wool/fleece sweater or heavy wool shirt
- Long sleeved shirt and appropriate number of t-shirts
- Warm down or synthetic jacket
- Broad-brimmed hat for sun protection
- Knit wool hat and warm gloves
- Synthetic or Wool socks (avoid cotton!)
- Knee high rubber boots for early morning dew and wading
- Tennis shoes for in-camp use
- Winter gear (snow pants, jacket, snow boots)
- Soap and container, shampoo; towel; toothpaste; sunscreen etc.
- Flashlight or Headlamp with extra batteries and bulb
- Water bottle or canteen (1 liter or 1 quart minimum that is water tight)
- Small pencil sharpener
- Electric hotpots for your cabin or yurt
- Backpacking / outdoor equipment
- A bike (town is within biking and walking distance)
- Binoculars (highly recommended), hand lens or small magnifying glass
- Field guides (birds, insects, rocks and minerals, etc.)
We have a wireless computer network with broadband internet connectivity at the McCall Field Campus along with approximately four desktop computers, a server, and a networked printer. These computers are available for all students to use. If you have a personal wireless laptop, we suggest you consider bringing it for your own convenience.
By participating in team initiatives, communication exercises, and group projects, instructors get to know their fellow graduate students, and begin their growth as a team. Lastly, field instructors will participate in a backpacking trip designed to orient you to the area and provide a space for even deeper bonding to the natural and human communities in which you will be living.
The last week of orientation will be spent developing your individual lesson plans. The MOSS staff will provide support and feedback to help make your lessons the best that they can be. Graduate students often work together to share ideas about possible activities, sites to visit and team building activities to use. At the end of orientation, students will be divided into two teaching teams. Students will teach six out of the eleven weeks of the MOSS fall residency, and attend their graduate classes during the other five weeks.
Good question. We will address three reasons here, but there are certainly more. First, it will allow the graduate educators to see more of the backcountry surrounding McCall, reinforcing our own sense of place. Secondly, we will have the opportunity to focus on ourselves as a group without outside distractions. Finally, this trip will provide some of the foundational framework for the Outdoor Leadership curriculum.
The basic layout for a MOSS teaching week includes the following:
- Monday: students arrive, introduction, team building
- Tuesday: hydrology day*
- Wednesday: terrestrial day*
- Thursday: student led research project
- Friday: closing program, students leave
*Half of the students will have terrestrial day on Tuesday, while the other students are participating in hydrology day, Wednesday, the students switch. All field instruction takes place in Ponderosa State Park (located within a 15-minute walk of the MOSS Field Campus).
Field instructors work with their students from 8:00 am until 8:30 pm. Some nights when field instructors are not in charge of evening programming, they may be done as early as 7:30 pm. Field instructors need to be available, however, until after the evening activity when chaperones take the students for the night.
Monday, teachers begin with a team meeting. Instructors work together to get field notebooks, nametags, and the classroom setup. Instructors usually meet at 10:00 am, break for lunch, and finish up by early afternoon. The students usually arrive around 1:00 pm. After students arrive, field instructors facilitate a few large group activities, and then break up into their teams. Each group develops a team contract and discusses their expectations for the week. The rest of the day is spent getting to know the students and teaching some of the basics of the MOSS curriculum including Earth System Science and the scientific method. Field instructors are expected to eat dinner in the dining hall with students. Following dinner, teams meet again, and then participate in an evening activity together.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the day starts bright and early with a 7:15 am team meeting. Field instructors meet together to go over scheduling for the day, as well as to discuss any student or chaperone issues that may have arisen. At 7:45 the chaperones will come in to discuss the day plan with you. At 8:00 am, field instructors meet with their students. Most of the day is spent in the field (9:00 am until 3:45 pm). Specific details of the MOSS schedule will be given during orientation.
The hydrology day content focuses on the watersheds. Students learn about the interactions between water and land, the water cycle, water quality measurements, and macro invertebrates. Teachers work with their students to build understanding through questioning rather than traditional lectures. Students have the opportunity to see the McCall area and gain an understanding of its watershed. Macroscopes, water chemistry kits, pH paper and other scientific tools are used to facilitate the learning process. On terrestrial day, students are provided with an opportunity to learn the basics of terrestrial ecosystems. Students learn to identify signs of succession, native and nonnative species, and forestry management practices. Using a matchstick forest, students are also able to explore fire behavior and the impacts of forest management.
For research day, field instructors help their students develop a project using the scientific method and science process skills. The research project is completed in Ponderosa State Park. Topics vary depending on the student’s interests. Some examples include: what types of fuels burn best, how does water temperature affect levels of dissolved oxygen, how does tree density vary between managed and unmanaged forests.
Friday, students present their research projects, complete a final evaluation and head home by 10:30 am. After the students leave, members of the teaching and academic teams clean up the MOSS campus in preparation for the next teaching week. Following lunch, all of the MOSS field instructors and staff participate in a weekly debriefing which includes highs and lows of the week, what could be improved, and other issues that arose during the week. Debriefing usually lasts around two hours, but field instructors are expected to be available until the meeting is finished on Friday. In past years, teachers have really enjoyed the opportunity to reflect each week with their fellow teachers.
The basic format for a teaching week is the same for all five weeks. Teachers generally try new activities to improve their lessons each week, but the content remains the same. Students are excited about being able to spend time learning outside and participate in
team building activities. Teaching at MOSS is an unforgettable experience.
Instructors in the past have found it useful to get a head start on learning some of the science content that we teach in the 5th and 6th grade program, especially if you are far removed from your last science class. Even if you are an ecology whiz, you might want to refresh yourself on these particular topics. We will cover everything in training, but we have to pack a lot of information into a short amount of time. We really recommend getting started now!
As an instructor at MOSS, you will need to be familiar with the following topics (at a
- Qualitative and quantitative measures of water – pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, conductivity
- Basic macroinvertebrate identification
- Basic rangeland and forest plant identification
- Soil – layers, structure, chemistry
- Elements of fire – combustion, pyrolysis, the fire triangle
- Fire ecology (the interaction and role of fire in an ecosystem)
- Forest structure (layers)
- Some bird identification is helpful
- Some tracking skills are helpful
- The basic steps of the scientific process of inquiry (“the scientific method”) and science process skills (basic and integrated)
- A basic understanding of earth systems science, (lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere) and interactions between them.
Living at the U of I McCall Field Campus is an opportunity of a lifetime. The campus is located on Payette Lake with 600 feet of sandy beach, includes eight cabins, a classroom/office building, two staff cabins (duplexes), a dinning hall, two large classroom yurts (one for MOSS students and one for field instructors), five small staff yurts and a bathhouse.
Unlike many graduate programs, field instructors at MOSS get to know each other very well by living and working together. Many students spend their time off with the other field instructors by the lake, biking and hiking in the mountains, attending concerts in town or having a campfire together. Students also enjoy spending time in nearby Ponderosa State Park. The MOSS community is very close-knit.
The campus is busy, but field instructors have some special places to have some quiet time, if they want. The area surrounding the staff cabins is off limits to MOSS students. Also, the beach is a quiet place that staff can go. The field instructor classroom yurt overlooking the lake is another great place to hang out, work on lesson plans or finish homework. The social atmosphere of the MOSS community is a highlight of the MOSS experience.
The beds are twin size (normal twin, not twin long).
Unfortunately, we do not allow pets to live on campus.
Fees cover the costs of instruction, room, board, and transportation.
Its nice to have a bike for trips into town. Skis, kayaks, and other toys are fun (though keep in mind that there is limited storage space, so you'll want to choose wisely).
The UofI has a special deal with Hotmail. Student email is accessed through a special version. When you go from the website to vandal mail, it may take you to an Outlook cover page or a Hotmail cover page. Enter your email address as the UofI has given you <firstname.lastname@example.org> into whatever page pops up.
In certain circumstances, we allow students to live off campus. Having a family is one such circumstance.
Most (but not all) weekends are free. We take a week off at Thanksgiving, 3 weeks for winter break, one week for spring break.
Yes, as long as your roommate is okay with it and there are not students on campus.