Routine at the Field Station

Daily schedules

A standard field day begins with a wake-up bell at 6:30 a.m., and at 7a.m. breakfast is served. Beginning about 6:30 a.m., lunch makings are available.

On most days we depart for the field promptly at 7:45 a.m., and normal return time is 5:30 p.m. All travel is in University-owned radio-equipped 9-passenger Suburbans. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Most of the field areas in which we work are within a 45-minute drive of the Field Station, and we are typically away from the vehicles until the end of the day.

Work is usually done in small groups of 10-15 students with two or more faculty/staff per group, and student-staff ratios are always maintained at a level of about 7:1 or better to ensure extensive one-on-one teaching.

Faculty are typically available in the Lodge to assist you from about 8 p.m. until 10 or 10:30 p.m. A few evening lectures are given, but this time is usually devoted to follow up on the day’s field work.

Weekend schedules

Saturday: the Saturday schedule is a bit different from the rest of the work week. The day ends early, with a typical arrival at the Station around 4pm, in anticipation of an evening off. Many opt to go to Whitehall to enjoy a movie, bowling, and other typical Montana Saturday night activities. We’re always made to feel welcome by local residents. The relaxation begins with the weekly vehicle washing; it is amazing what is recorded on the sides and wheel-wells of a Suburban as it travels in the field!

Sundays: Sundays are official days off, with no planned course activities except for occasional evening orientation meetings. It is often a good idea to switch back into work mode for the evening. Possible Sunday recreational activities will be discussed and posted at the Field Station, with maps and recommendations for hikes made available.

Laundry facilities

Students housed on upper campus use the laundry facilities in the upper campus wash house, and students housed on lower campus use the laundry facilities in the lower campus wash house. Washing machines cost $1.25 per load and dryers cost $1.25 for 45 minutes. Clothes lines and clothes pins are available on both the upper and lower campuses. Students need to purchase their own laundry supplies.


A bell will be rung about 5-10 minutes before mealtime to alert students to come to the dining hall. Students may be seated after the second bell rings. Breakfast and dinner are served family style. Each person is responsible for taking their own dishes and table service to the proper locations after the meal. As in any large group, your promptness at mealtime helps eliminate confusion. On certain occasions, such as Saturday, dinner may be served at 5:30 p.m. in order to accommodate those who wish to get an early start to town. These changes will be announced at breakfast and posted on the bulletin board.

Special diets

Accommodations can only be made for vegetarians and persons with allergies or medical conditions. Our vegetarian menu avoids any foods with meat or meat by-products. However, it does include dairy products. If you require a stricter diet you will have to make alternative plans for your meals, at your own expense. You must indicate on the information form any special dietary needs or vegetarian preference. You will not be allowed to change your menu preference once the course has begun.