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Northeast Wyo College goes rustic

Northeast Wyo College goes rustic

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Northeast Wyo College goes rustic
By Kim Phagan-Hansel - Wyoming Business Report

Northeast college students meet with their instructors for the college's first class taught at Spear-O, "Night sky and telescopes." Courtesy photo.

Northeast Wyoming College education is headed outdoors with the purchase of the historic Spear-O-Wigwam Ranch in April.

Outdoor programs and learning opportunities are in the works for students and community members who live in the Northeast Wyoming Community College District that includes Sheridan and Gillette colleges.

After spending most of the summer cleaning up the ranch that was purchased for $650,000, NWCCD hosted its first program, Intro to Night Sky and Telescopes, last weekend. This weekend, a community open house, which is open to the public, will be hosted at the Spear-O-Wigwam Ranch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

"It's a great opportunity for our community," said Trudy Munsick, dean of health sciences at Sheridan College. "We want to turn it into a regional center for outdoor learning."

On the edge of the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area, the NWCCD also has been given an educational special use permit that will provide additional access to 67,850 acres of land in the Big Horn Mountains - "a beautiful setting," Munsick said.

Now with a ranch director and general maintenance employee hired, Munsick said the facility is running smoothly and will provide a wealth of learning opportunities for students in college, middle and high school students, and community members.

"We had great reviews from our first class," Munsick said. "We're hoping to get some grants to help move us forward."

Programs in August and September include a writing retreat weekend, oil painting courses, rock climbing instruction and more. In addition to special programs, traditional courses at the college also will use the ranch to enhance learning outside of the classroom.

"They're not just sitting in a classroom; they're out there experiencing what they're learning," Munsick said. "Actually working in the dirt reinforces what they learned in the classroom."

For more information about the community open house or programs being offered at Spear-O-Wigwam, contact Munsick at tmunsick@sheridan.edu or call 307-674-6446, ext. 2005. For a list of courses being offered, visit www.sheridan.edu/site/spear-o-wigwam/index/summer-course-schedule/.

Wyoming Business Report