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Photo by Celia Mitchell (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Entry), Indonesia Semester.

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Welcome to our forum for courses in the field. The Yak Board is a digital group journal where students and staff share photos, stories, reflections and group updates while on course. Check out our Featured Posts below or explore Yaks by program by clicking on the icons above.

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Instructor Introduction from Luis

Luis, Instructor

Yak of the Week

Hi everyone, My name is Luis Alvarado and I’m happy to say that I’ll be an instructor for your upcoming semester program. The areas and the themes of this course are very important and very personal to me. I was born in Texas, my mother is from......Read More

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Connecting to the Rio (plus photos!)

Zack Siddall, Instructor

Yak of the Week

The Rio Grande’s presence and influence has only grown as we have navigated these past ~70 days. On our first trek in the mountains of Colorado we jumped over streams and crossed creeks that would flow down to form the mighty Rio. The first time we actually saw the Rio Grande was so anticlimactic that it’s quite humorous looking back now. While crossing over the river on a bridge in Alamosa, CO a cop car came roaring up behind us with lights and sirens blaring. Assuming we were getting pulled over we nervously pulled into a nearby parking lot only… Read More

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The Chisos Mountains

Mare, Participant

Yak of the Week

I believe today is Day 63, but I could be wrong. We’re an hour outside of Big Bend National Park and two and a half hours away from any real town. There is nothing but desert around us. Well, not just desert. After an hour’s drive and a......Read More

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Final Thoughts From The Group

Instructor Team, Participant

Yak of the Week

Dear friends and family of the Colorado River Basin Semester, As we prepare to depart from Arizona, we’ve been telling stories, and figuring out how to tell the story of this journey. In all of our stories, one hero emerged as central, hero......Read More

Colorado River Basin Semester

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Final Reflections on Hope

Audrey Smallman, Participant

Yak of the Week

A few weeks ago in the canyons, Jeff and Kesh received news on their sat phone that the North Inlet of Rocky Mountain National Park was burning in a wildfire. I tried to picture it, the ash and decimation, but the only thing I could conjure up were......Read More

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Selected Drawings From This Semester

Kate Salke, Participant

Picture of the Week

I love painting and drawing— it’s how I synthesize a lot of my experiences and reflect on lessons learned. These are a small selection of some of the pieces I’ve made along this wonderful journey, each tied to a special place and usually many special people. First is Redemption. It’s based on a  conversation I had with Gabe Crawford, a wild seed tender who we spent a few days with. It seems to me that so much of this country is deprived of certain truths… especially the idea that we and the land we live upon are one system, one… Read More

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Earth Mountain Excursions

Isabella, Participant

Yak of the Week

Hi y’all! Isabella here coming to you from New Mexico. Yesterday we left the snowy land of Colorado to a SLIGHTLY less snowy area outside of Las Vegas. VEGAS BABY. We are planning on gambling all our food budget this week. Jokes, jokes. There is......Read More

Colorado River Basin Semester

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Weather Reports: A collection of thoughts from...

Bailey Walker, Participant

Yak of the Week

The thing that haunts me are the handprints. Small, white, they stick on sandstone walls, their owners reaching out from within. Within a different time and space, yet their hands remain, painted onto the landscape, dry on my own hands as I paddle......Read More

Colorado River Basin Semester

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Ash– a reflection on recent news.

kate, Participant

Yak of the Week

On one of our last nights in Grand Gulch, Jeff and Keshet gave us some devastating news from the outside world (received by their sat phone). The North Inlet of Rocky Mountain National Park has been burning since October 14th. The beautiful, diverse......Read More

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West Spanish Peak

Maddie Melton, Participant

Yak of the Week

The Spanish Peaks rise above the desert of southern Colorado, southeast of the rolling Sangre de Cristo range we’ve been circling the past few weeks from our trek in the Rio Grande National Forest, to our time at Mission Wolf, and out to the sand......Read More

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Desert Hack

Mare, Participant

Yak of the Week

Hello, We’ve been chasing the sun the last few days. The winter winds clip close at our heels and bites at my fingertips every morning when I sit to thaw by the fire. It’s a blessing when the sun peaks over the soft heads of the Sangre......Read More

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Charlotte & Sage’s super fun wolf time...

Charlotte & Sage, Participant

Yak of the Week

Hey everyone! Sage and Charlotte here. We just concluded our stay here at Mission:Wolf. It’s been an incredible 10 days filled with lots of fencing and landscape work, immigration and political discussions, movie nights and sunset hacky sack......Read More

Colorado River Basin Semester

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Connection Through Disconnection

Audrey Smallman, Participant

Yak of the Week

I haven’t read the news in over a month. As someone who ordinarily spends hours a day reading stories from any source I can get my hands on, I was nervous to step away from this habit that I believed connected me to others. But, unexpectedly,......Read More

Colorado River Basin Semester

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Connecting with the Land

Annabelle, Participant

Yak of the Week

Over the past four weeks on this course, we have discussed the tumultuous state of the Colorado River Basin. We have examined the area through many different lenses — small farmers, large farmers, small town, city, etc. — the most......Read More

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Where There Be Wolves

Instructor Team, Participant

Picture of the Week

Wolves, much like horses, are hyper sensitive to the energy we give off. After being trained by Kent the director of Mission Wolf we were able to meet face to face with a couple specially trained wolves. Our 10 days here at Mission Wolf are all about tuning into how our verbal and nonverbal communication affects ourselves, each other and our animal friends.