Maymester Trip a Success

Left to right, Cyd Smith, Kadie Clark, Sydney Bailey, Dell Caspersen, Grant Elliott, Soren Larsen, Steve Cardinal, Tara Thomas and Francesca Hart at their first camping site.

For the third consecutive year, the geography department embarked on Maymester, which typically are short two- to three-week courses held in May through the College of Arts and Science. Geography’s 12-day trip was held in the beautiful Southern Rocky Mountains, May 18–29. 

According to Soren Larsen, chair of the geography department, eight students and two faculty camped in national forests while learning how to read the physical and cultural landscapes.  

The course was called Transforming the Rockies and was chosen because Larsen and Associate Professor Grant Elliott both do research in Colorado.  

Elliott studies tree-line response to climate change there, and Larsen studies ex-urban land-use changes in the region. 
“We’ve been doing research out there for quite a while,” says Larsen. “We visit our sites with the students so we can introduce them to the process of field research.“ 

The students learned how the Rockies are being transformed in an era of climate change and land-use change and received three credit hours for their studies. They also discovered the Rockies in May can be quite different than Missouri. 
“We learned it can get very cold in May,” Larsen says. “One night we got two inches of snow and it got down to the upper 20s a couple nights.” 

The cost of the trip was covered in three ways: by student tuition, by support from the geography department and also from the Geography Field Research and Exploration Fund. 

Those in attendance included students Tara Thomas, Taylor Fox, Steve Cardinal, Dell Caspersen, Kadie Clark, Fran Rodriquez Hart, Sydney Bailey, and Cyd Smith. Faculty there included Elliot and Larsen.