Elk NetworkInnovative “Wild Sustenance” Program Coming to a College Classroom Near You

News Releases | March 17, 2022

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Wildlife Biology Program at the University of Montana (UM) will unveil a bold, innovative, hands-on higher education experience this fall that highlights the fundamental role hunting plays in society and wildlife conservation. Once established, the Wild Sustenance curriculum will be available to other universities.

“We greatly appreciate our partners at UM for their efforts in bringing this long-held vision to fruition,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “This program will trigger a nationwide ripple effect allowing more Americans of all ages to learn about the very real and vital link hunting plays to conservation.”

The three-credit Wild Sustenance course features teaching modules co-branded by UM and RMEF that fulfill a unique niche through:

  • Tailored programming that focuses on key motivations and barriers to participation in hunting.
  • Use of cutting-edge technology including virtual reality modules that explore field dressing, butchering and hunter ethics.
  • Encouraging the inclusion of students from a wide diversity of university majors.
  • Development of a micro-credential program from UM.

Modules will remove barriers for new hunters by featuring guest lectures from prominent conservationists and scholars, video clips, learning assessments and will be available electronically, packaged in a readily usable and accessible format. Topics featured in modules will include the basics of hunting, hunter ethics, hunting’s role in conservation, firearms safety, processing and cooking game, and motivations and fears related to hunting and hunting regulations, in addition to other topics developed with the help of RMEF.

“Our own experience demonstrates the tremendous interest that exists among students from a diversity of majors who want to learn more about hunting and conservation,” said Dr. Josh Millspaugh, Boone and Crockett professor of Wildlife Conservation at the University of Montana. “Many university programs offer limited coursework that considers the role of hunting in conservation as a formal part of the curriculum. We appreciate the collaboration with RMEF to help us create this novel program.”

Millspaugh also said other universities already expressed interest and additional workshops will be available to the general public including curriculum and virtual reality modules at the RMEF Elk Country Visitor Center.

RMEF provided significant resources from its Torstenson Family Endowment to fund the program which is core to RMEF’s mission of ensuring our hunting heritage.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded more than 37 years ago and fueled by hunters, RMEF maintains more than 225,000 members and has conserved nearly 8.4 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.