Integrated Field Practicum

Measure stream velocity. Collect insects. Cast deer, raccoon, coyote, and wolf tracks. Document the red-backed salamander population. Count the birds. Cruise a timber stand. Join the 80-acre club.

Integrated Field Practicum—generations of Huskies know it as "Fall Camp" (and there's a summer one, too)—is a Michigan Tech tradition that blends classroom study with field learning. Third-year students spend a full semester at Michigan Tech's Ford Center in Alberta to increase competence in the woods. IFP covers the elements of forested landscapes and methods of quantification: trees and non-woody plants, water, wildlife, fungi, and insects. In the process of measuring and describing the forest, students complete a multi-resource assessment built on School data from previous years. They also gain insight on values and ecological processes of natural resources management.

Typical schedule?

One hour in the classroom, the rest of the day outdoors. You'll get your hands dirty and your feet wet exploring soil, geology, weather, and climate. Learn chainsaw handling and practical timber measurement. Take waypoints, and design maps. Mental and physical challenges prepare students for careers in forestry, natural resources, wildlife, and applied ecology.

"One of my favorite experiences at Michigan Tech was my semester at fall camp. That semester in the field taught me so many new skills that I have been able to take with me into my current work experience."Bethany Blease ’13, Arborist, Guardian Tree Experts, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Where is IFP?

At Michigan Tech's Ford Center, 42 miles south on US-41 from campus. Your living lab is 3,700 acres of forestland.

Who goes to IFP?

It is a natural progression for undergraduate students, who attend in their third year. Master of forestry students also do a camp semester.