Dixie State offers Zion National Park experiential learning program

O. C. Tanner Amphitheater where students can take courses, St. George, Utah, undated | Image courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University and the DSU Department of Physical Sciences have announced plans to begin offering a new experiential learning program at Zion National Park this spring. The “Science in Zion” program will feature three two-week field experience courses beginning in May, and a four-day field course in June.

Zion National Park  where Dixie State University students can take courses, St. George, Utah, undated | Image courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News
Zion National Park where Dixie State University students can take courses, St. George, Utah, undated | Image courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

The “stay, do and learn” courses will be offered at the DSU Tanner Amphitheater near the Zion National Park entrance in Springdale. The program will make use of the unique setting of the park and surrounding areas to offer a one-of-a-kind learning experience in biology, geology and outdoor recreation courses.

Experiential learning includes a variety of activities with one common goal – to immerse students in hands-on learning outside the classroom where their experiences is at the heart of the learning process. Students will incorporate knowledge learned in traditional or online biology and geology courses to complete their studies with two weeks of intensive field experiences.

“Dixie State is excited to utilize the newly remodeled Tanner facility as a field station along with its existing use as a world class concert venue,” said Kelly Bringhurst, chair of DSU’s Physical Sciences Department. “Zion National Park and the vicinity is a perfect outdoor laboratory for studying a wide variety of subjects.”

O. C. Tanner Amphitheater where students can take courses, St. George, Utah, undated | Image courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News
O. C. Tanner Amphitheater where students can take courses, St. George, Utah, undated | Image courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

Bringhurst said that trips to Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon national parks will also be included so that students have a wide exposure to the variety of geology and life zones found at the different parks. He added that outdoor recreation opportunities will be intertwined with science as students will be able to hike, kayak and mountain bike in the area.

“Students have the opportunity to fulfill their general education science requirements during the summer session,” Bringhurst said. “This really is a remarkable opportunity.”

The three two-week field experience courses will be held May 11-24, June 1-14 and June 22-July 5, while the environmental science four-day field experience course will be held June 16-19. Registration for all four courses are currently underway.

Event details and resources

  •  What: Experiential learning, Zion National Park
  • When: May 11-24, June 1-14, June 22-July 5, June 16-19
  • Where: DSU Tanner Amphitheater, Dixie State University
    O.C. Tanner Amphitheater, Springdale, Utah
  • Registration available online
  • Dixie Experiential website

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