Meg and Peter Gag
Taylor Wilderness Research Station
College of Natural Resources
Prepare for your Semester In The Wild!

How to Prepare

The more prepared you are, the more you’ll enjoy Semester in the Wild, and the more you’ll learn! You can email Meg and Pete with any questions.

  • How do I prepare my body?
    We strongly recommend that students do some physical training—hiking, biking, running—over the summer to get their bodies ready for this “long walk to school” and for the hiking that will be part of our daily routine throughout the semester.

    We will be hiking through altitude changes, through streams and across rough terrain. You may wish to do a few practice outings to discover how you like to arrange your backpack, what types of freeze-dried food to consider, and learn the intricacies of your tent and sleeping gear.
  • How do I choose my gear?
    The gear you choose will be important to your level of comfort throughout the 35-mile hike to Taylor Wilderness Research Station. 

    Before you purchase your gear, you might consider testing different variations of packs, stoves, sleeping bags and tents. The Rental Center at the Student Rec Center is a low-cost option to help you decide what you like. 

    When you purchase, you may consider purchasing gear from factory outlet stores, or gently used gear for a fraction of the price offered at retail outfitters.
  • How do I plan my food?
    Semester In The Wild students are not expected to plan and purchase their own meals for the six weeks spent at Taylor Wilderness Research Station. All meals will be provided throughout the program.

  • What should I pack?
    There will be three parts of this trip to pack for—your time at Taylor, your time on trail and backpacking, and your time in Moscow. Below are some suggestions. Complete gear lists will be sent to students who are accepted.

    Laptops are not required for Semester in the Wild, but are recommended.

    The hike into Taylor Wilderness Research Station will take you through varied and rugged landscape and will last three days. You'll need the following items:

    • Water bottles and purification supplies
    • Necessary medical supplies
    • Clothing suitable for temperatures ranging from approximately 80°F during the day to 40°F at night
    • Hiking boots 
    • Hiking sandals 
    • Tent
    • Sleeping bag
    • Sleeping pad
    • Personal hygiene items
    • Supplies appropriate for river ecology field work during your trek in, such as notebooks, pencils, etc.

    The rest of your items are flown in and will be waiting for you. For the time at Taylor, we suggest the addition of the following:

    • Medicine—prescription or otherwise
    • Books and supplies for your coursework
    • Heavier clothing items for the scope of late-summer and autumn temperatures
    • Personal hygiene items
    Your clothing for daily life at Taylor will also work for your time at Twin Larch where you will spend your last two weeks. You may consider clothing appropriate for your final presentations and your time on campus.
  • What can I expect from the coursework?
    The integrated nature of the coursework is unique and you can expect an intense and immersive learning environment. You can expect to experience coursework different from any you've encountered before—fieldwork in America's Wildest Classroom.

    The purpose of Semester In The Wild is to leave you with a unique perspective in thinking and writing about natural resources, as well as preparing you to be a leader in creative solutions for the future of the ecosystem.
  • What can I expect from the faculty?
    Semester In The Wild faculty were chosen for their commitment to students as well as their love for wild places. You can expect to develop a close relationship with these faculty, and experience a mentorship that you won't find in a regular college classroom.
  • What are the opportunities for communication with friends and family members?
    Your best form of communication is hand-written letters flown in and out on the weekly mail plane—the last remaining air mail route in the Lower 48. Students say it's like a visit from Santa every Wednesday!

    Taylor has limited satellite internet and students have some ability to send and receive email messages using a Taylor computer. Also, students will rotate the responsibility of writing a weekly update and selecting a picture to be posted to the "Journal” page on the SITW website.