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Geology Class Explores Innovative Approaches to Sustainability

Geology Class Explores Innovative Approaches to Sustainability

At Montana Western, students learn through Experience One, a unique block scheduling system where courses are taken one at a time for 18 consecutive days. This immersive approach to education played a key role in the success of Beaucamp-Stout’s class.

Introduction to Geology 101 was tailored to minimize lectures, which allowed students the opportunity to spend more time learning hands on about the diverse ecosystem around them.

“I have learned to appreciate the location of our school here in Dillon, Mont. The environment around us, the trees, the water, the wildlife; it can all be part of the experiential learning offered at Montana Western,” said junior Elizabeth Sherwood.

For part of the class, Beaucamp-Stout wanted to open student’s eyes to some of the sustainability issues facing humanity today.

“As usual, a sentiment of powerlessness resonated in the classroom when we approached this subject. This led us to reviewing easy and free daily actions one can take to have an impact,” Beaucamp-Stout said.

Beaucamp-Stout introduced students to search engines that are dedicated to sustainability. For example, uses 80% of its profits to plant trees. On average, Ecosia is planting a tree every 1.1 seconds. Websites like,, and EcoKeymake similar humanitarian and eco-friendly contributions.

Students were inspired knowing that a simple every day task like searching the internet could end up making a difference in the environment. Classmates wrote letters to Chancellor Weatherby, advocating that the computers on campus set their search pages to a sustainable website.

“As college students, it is difficult for us to donate cash to charities, causes, and philanthropies. Using these search engines is an easy way for us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves,” Jessamyn Tempel expressed in her letter.

As an instructor, Beaucamp-Stout hopes the students in Introduction to Geology 101 took away a better understanding of the world around them and gained a greater perspective on the little things they can do to be more sustainable.

“As we learn how to recognize the geology that makes up our backyard, our minds can also be opened to what’s going on in our world, our environment, our society and economic system,” Beaucamp-Stout stated.

To learn more about Montana Western’s block scheduling system, please visit the Experience One website.

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