"Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons:
it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth."
-- Walt Whitman
For more than 30 years, the Sierra Institute has been offering interdisciplinary environmental studies field programs to undergraduates from around the country. We were bold and innovative in our origin, and we remain so today. We take college out of the classroom and put it in the wilderness or directly in the midst of foreign cultures.
We believe that learning about nature, whether through the study of natural history or the reading of environmental literature and philosophy, is best done in an outdoor setting. For botany, go to the lupines and columbines of a mountain meadow. To write a poem about the moon, watch how it lights the rim of a desert ridge.
We further believe that college is a time in which students form the values that will shape their adult lives. The university years are a time of academics, of course, but also of concentrated personal growth. Our field programs are based on the premise that the purpose of education is to aid the student toward creating a life that is satisfying, meaningful, and helpful to others and the earth. We present an encompassing education, one in which the academics are complemented by experiential learning within a totality that is stirring and profound.
For students who want to do a portion of their college work in the company of rivers and mountains, we offer:
solid academics and the quality teaching associated with the California
State University system
personal discovery through extended time in nature and international
a relationship to the earth deepened by living in the wild
the fun and growth of a small community experience