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PUP-University of Montana Study Abroad Course Comes to Costa Rica

14 March 2024 4:28 PM | Olivia Parrott (Administrator)

PUP-University of Montana Study Abroad Course Comes to Costa Rica

Long in the Making

In December 2019 a Kansas State University professor arrived to carry out a reconnaissance of sites in Costa Rica in anticipation of setting up a study abroad trip for their park planning course that was already using the book, The Future Has Other Plans: Planning Holistically to Conserve Natural and Cultural Heritage published by Jon Kohl and Stephen McCool (Fulcrum 2016), central to PUP’s holistic planning focus.

Yet the following year the pandemic struck and the K-State experiment passed away. But PUP did not let the idea die. Teaching about protected area planning and management from a holistic perspective was completely mission compatible. So, in early 2022, PUP shopped the idea to other universities. But the one that accepted the invitation was probably the best option from the beginning considering that co-author Dr. Stephen McCool, a renowned professor in protected area management and planning, was emeritus at the University of Montana where courses had already integrated much of his work. He is also a PUP advisor emeritus. So soon the proposal landed on the desk of Dr. Jennifer Thomsen, director of the Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Management Program. Already an experienced international traveler, Dr. Thomsen had PUP’s course vetted by her university and in short order recruited students. The course filled with 14 Montana undergraduates, one undergrad from Arizona State, one doctoral student from Clemson, and one non-degree graduate student at Montana.


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