University of Montana Western logo.
Apply Visit More Info

Geology Class Explores Innovative Approaches to Sustainability

January 16, 2019

Celine Beaucamp-Stout, an Environmental Science Adjunct Instructor at Montana Western, taught Introduction to Geology 101 during block two, which was in session Sept. 24 – Oct. 17, 2018. The course focused on the geology surrounding southwest Montana. For one day of the course, students also looked at ways they could be more sustainable.

At Montana Western, students learn through Experience One, a unique block scheduling system where courses are taken one at a time for 18 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.
geo 101 students working-in article

“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 EcoKey make 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 brainstormed approaches to increase sustainability, including the use of eco-friendly search engines on university campuses.
geo 101 letters-in article

“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.

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.