Chamonix, France

In Spring 2019, MENV will offer an experiential course in Chamonix, France. Taught in partnership with the Center for Research on Altitude Ecosystems, the course will address alpine ecosystem science issues, as well as the policy and management challenges presented by a region straddled by three nations. MENV’s experiential field courses provide place-based experiences that help to prepare students to understand, work in, and be prepared for a variety of cultural contexts. Chamonix sits at the base of Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain which tops out at 15,781 feet.

This is a 3-credit hour course, and will satisfy an MENV elective. Participation in this program will require an additional program fee.

Course Overview: ‘Policy and Climate Change in the Mont Blanc Region’ will look at how climate change is impacting a high alpine environment, as well as consider potential policy responses. The course will investigate climate monitoring activities, climate change impacts and local, national, and international policy approaches to responding to climate change in the Mont Blanc region. The class will be held in both Boulder and in Chamonix, France in May 2019. 

The course will meet in Boulder from May 13 - 24. Students will leave for Chamonix on May 25 and return on June 3. (Note that students will have the option to extend their stay if they choose to do so.)

Professors Mark Squillace and Ben Webster will teach the class. CREA Mont Blanc (The Research Center for Alpine Ecosystems), along with Zoe Hart (Climbing Ambassador for Patagonia), will assist with delivery of the course in Chamonix. 

Course Details: This field course focuses on how climate change is impacting the Mont Blanc region, and further considers the opportunities and obstacles faced by regional political leaders in adapting to changes in the regional climate. The goal of the initial Colorado-based component of the course is to have each studet develop a reasonable understanding of the Mont Blanc region, culture, policies, and ecosystems before we arrive in Chamonix. The goal of the Chamonix component of the course is engage in field work in the Mont Blanc region, and learn from regional policy-makers and land managers. 

To do this we will divide the class into groups, and each will be responsible for developing reading materials and leading class discussion for two class sessions (between May 13 - 24).  The four groups will be asked to each focus on one of the following:

  1. The history and culture of the Mont Blanc region
  2. The political and economic forces shaping the Mont Blanc region
  3. Environmental issues (other than climate change) and land management/land use in the Mont Blanc region
  4. The impacts of climate change on the Mont Blanc region

We will work with each group to guide you to identify appropriate reading materials and to prepare your presentations. Prior to the beginning of the Maymester, the instructors will meet with each group at least twice. These meetings will occur during the spring semester.