15 episodes

Presented by the Institute for Mountain Research at Westminster College, the Mountain Story Podcast will share the stories of people who live, work, and play in the mountains. The Institute for Mountain Research provides a hub to coordinate and support interdisciplinary research and learning related to the cultural, economic, scientific and political facets of mountain landscapes and the people who live in them. We encourage deep and abiding interests in the mountains, the people who live in and near them, and the connections between the two. The Institute supports thinking across disciplinary and political boundaries in order to foster conversations about the landscapes that are part of our lives. We strive to serve as a home for exploration, a refuge for reflection and thought, and a forum for community conversation.

The Mountain Stories Podcast The Institute for Mountain Research at Westminster College

    • Education
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Presented by the Institute for Mountain Research at Westminster College, the Mountain Story Podcast will share the stories of people who live, work, and play in the mountains. The Institute for Mountain Research provides a hub to coordinate and support interdisciplinary research and learning related to the cultural, economic, scientific and political facets of mountain landscapes and the people who live in them. We encourage deep and abiding interests in the mountains, the people who live in and near them, and the connections between the two. The Institute supports thinking across disciplinary and political boundaries in order to foster conversations about the landscapes that are part of our lives. We strive to serve as a home for exploration, a refuge for reflection and thought, and a forum for community conversation.

    Backcountry Skiing in the Wasatch

    Backcountry Skiing in the Wasatch

    In a flashback to winter and the beginning of the pandemic, Jeff Nichols sits down with members of Westminster College's backcountry skiing community to talk about what getting out into the mountains means to them. Back in April, Jeff spoke over Zoom with Westminster Professors Russ Costa, David Baddley, and Will Deutchman, and alum Sally Miller about skiing, the mountains, risk, and how the mountains were helping them get through the lockdown.


    Jeff Nichols and Brent Olson co-direct the Institute for Mountain Research. Our theme song is “Home” by Pixie and the Partygrass Boys.. As Naomi likes to say, “They are awesome and you should check them out.”
    Sponsored By:
    Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah: The Institute for Mountain Research is housed at Westminster College, at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah. At Westminster, You are someone who is always looking to get more out of life, who yearns for the freedom to explore. You want your college experience to be someplace where you matter. Where your education isn’t just about landing your first job, it’s about starting a meaningful life.Links:
    Pixie & The Partygrass BoysAmericana | Purple Planet Music

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Embodied Landscapes, Embodied Minds, and Restorative Nature

    Embodied Landscapes, Embodied Minds, and Restorative Nature

    Late last February, Westminster's Student Honors Council invited Hikmet Loe and Russ Costa to lead a discussion around issues of nature and mental health. They called the discussion "Embodied Landscapes, Embodied Minds, and Restorative Nature" and asked Hikmet and Russ to talk about their experiences in nature and links to mental health. Respecting Honors College tradition, Russ and Hikmet grounded this concept in texts, art and photography from around the world. You can see the images Hikmet and Russ discussed below.


    Image Information/Credits

    Ansel Adams: The Tetons and the Snake River


    Stock photo of the moon from Getty Images


    Tropical Paradise Beach by Belle Deese on WallpaperUp


    Joseph Turner, Rough Sea With Wreckage at the Tate Gallery



    Kandinsky: Bavarian Mountains With Village



    Sunflower: Luca-Postpischii


    Denali (20,310') in the Alaska Range. [Photo] Bradford Washburn Collection, Museum of Science


    Andy Goldsworthy, Pebbles around a hole, Kinagashima-Cho, Japan (1987)


    Frederick Church: Cotopaxi


    Hikmet Loe: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, west of Las Vegas, Nevada, January 2020




    Jeff Nichols and Brent Olson co-direct the Institute for Mountain Research and our 2018-2019 Mountain Fellows are Katie Saad and Naomi Shapiro. Our theme song is “Home” by Pixie and the Partygrass Boys. As Naomi likes to say, “They are awesome and you should check them out.”
    Special Guests: Hikmet Loe and Russ Costa.
    Sponsored By:
    The Honors College at Westminster College.: What if your classes were designed around the concept of helping you practice the habit of thinking? Of helping you develop an authentic writer’s voice so that—as Irish poet Seamus Heaney once remarked—your words have "the feel of you about them?" Of helping you challenge yourself to such a degree that you learn new things about yourself? If these questions appeal to you, then you’ve come to the right place.Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah: The Institute for Mountain Research is housed at Westminster College, at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah. At Westminster, You are someone who is always looking to get more out of life, who yearns for the freedom to explore. You want your college experience to be someplace where you matter. Where your education isn’t just about landing your first job, it’s about starting a meaningful life.Links:
    Pixie & The Partygrass Boys — Our theme music comes from Pixie and the Party Grass Boys. They are awesome. you should check them out.Gentle - Purple Planet Music — The interstitial music for this episode is "Gentle" by Purple Planet Music.

    • 37 min
    A Walk in the Park with Ranjan Adiga

    A Walk in the Park with Ranjan Adiga

    As we head into Winter Break here in Salt Lake City, I invited Ranjan Adiga, a professor of English to share a story that he's written about the mountains. Today, Ranjan shares a reflection about growing up in Nepal, his move to Utah, and how that move has reframed his relationship to the mountains nearby.


    Jeff Nichols and Brent Olson co-direct the Institute for Mountain Research and our 2018-2019 Mountain Fellows are Katie Saad and Naomi Shapiro. Our theme song is “Home” by Pixie and the Partygrass Boys.. As Naomi likes to say, “They are awesome and you should check them out.”
    Sponsored By:
    Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah: The Institute for Mountain Research is housed at Westminster College, at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah. At Westminster, You are someone who is always looking to get more out of life, who yearns for the freedom to explore. You want your college experience to be someplace where you matter. Where your education isn’t just about landing your first job, it’s about starting a meaningful life.Links:
    Ranjan Adiga — Ranjan writes about himself, "I was born and raised in Nepal. I speak English as a second language. Although we didn't really speak English at home, I've always been drawn to the English language when it comes to writing stories. Maybe that's because the language allows me a sense of escape and imagination. As writers, we are simultaneously participating in and observing our surroundings. In my classes, we talk about embracing that in-between space, a fertile ground for imagination and empathy."Pixie & The Partygrass Boys — Hailed as “the hottest band in the Wasatch” by the Intermountain Acoustic Music Association, Pixie and The Partygrass Boys is composed of lifelong professional musicians drawn together by a common love of bluegrass and skiing in the Wasatch. Featuring soulful, often harmonic vocals and solid strings and rhythm, this tight-knit crew was born out of the belly of a warm cabin after a long day on the slopes- drinking whiskey and singing into the night. With a high energy sound and a love for silly outfits, they travel the land spreading the gospel of whiskey, chickens, and fun for everyone. Purple Planet Music - Fearless

    • 15 min
    Conserving Mountain Landscapes around the World

    Conserving Mountain Landscapes around the World

    Round River Conservation Studies works to acheive large scale wildlife conservation around the world. In this episode we focus on their as one of Westminster's study abroad partners. Their student programs give young people from colleges across the US a chance to serve as field assistants in critical wildlife habitat and conservation areas in Mongolia, Patagonia, Botswana, Belize, and Canada.



    Round River field-based study abroad programs provide small groups of students opportunities to contribute to and learn from wildlife conservation efforts in big, wild landscapes. While earning college credit, students from diverse backgrounds study and immerse themselves in the ecology and culture of unique wild places.










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    Count the infinite stars in the night sky after spending your days counting and monitoring wildlife in the remote landscapes of the Okavango Delta in Botswana.⁠ .⁠ Applications for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 open now - click the link in bio to apply!⁠ .⁠ Photo credit: Fall 2019 Botswana Assistant Instructor, @the_big_szydlowski⁠ .⁠ #roundriver #studyabroaddifferently #studyabroad #explore #travel #conservation #getoutside #naturalhistory #natureseekers #wildness #wildlifephotography #naturelovers #wilderness #adventuretravel #science #conservationscience #nature #mongolia #darhadvalley #darhad #asia
    A post shared by Round River Conserv. Studies (@round.river) on Oct 16, 2019 at 10:08am PDT



    I spoke with Elizabeth Brunner (a Round River instructor), Kelsey Barber and Rain Keating (2 students recently returned from Round River Programs), and Frank Black (a Westminster Professor who spent part of his sabbatical with Round River in Patagonia) about their experiences with Round River, what they learned in the work they are doing, and advice they have for students considering a Round River experience.


    For can follow Round River on instagram @round.river or check out the blog.


    Jeff Nichols and Brent Olson co-direct the Institute for Mountain Research and our 2018-2019 Mountain Fellows are Katie Saad and Naomi Shapiro. Our theme song is “Home” by Pixie and the Partygrass Boys.. As Naomi likes to say, “They are awesome and you should check them out.”
    Sponsored By:
    Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah: The Institute for Mountain Research is housed at Westminster College, at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah. At Westminster, You are someone who is always looking to get more out of life, who yearns for the freedom to explore. You want your college experience to be someplace where you matter. Where your education isn’t just about landing your first job, it’s about starting a meaningful life.Links:
    Round River Student Programs — The focus of Round River’s Environmental Study Abroad Program is to encourage and expand the commitments, minds and spirits of future conservationists by cultivating an active, informed and inspired constituency of young scholars, as conservation scientists, artists, activists and advocates by providing innovative conservation education and leadership training.Music: Purple Planet MusicPixie and the Partygrass Boys — Our theme music is "Home." by Pixie and the Partygrass Boys. You should check them out.

    • 59 min
    Remembering the Westminster Expedition

    Remembering the Westminster Expedition

    During the 2017 Fall Semester, 14 students, two professors, and a program coordinator loaded a bunch of books and some camping gear into a trailer, piled into a couple of vans, and took off on a 10,000 mile, 84 day academic adventure around the American West. The trip was designed as an exploration into the issues at the heart of the contemporary West. Students earned 16 credits in environmental studies and history as they study Environmental Cooperation and Conflict, Landscape and Meaning, the History of Public Lands, and the Native West.


    This prolonged journey into the field gave us a chance to learn directly from the landscapes and ecosystems of the west. More importantly, we had a chance to talk with the people who live, work, and study in those places. In this weeks podcast, we remember some of the places we visited and people we met. We also take a moment to look forward to the next Expedition, when we'll hit the road with a new cohort of students in the fall of 2020.




    Jeff Nichols and Brent Olson co-direct the Institute for Mountain Research and our 2018-2019 Mountain Fellows are Katie Saad and Naomi Shapiro. Our theme song is “Home” by Pixie and the Partygrass Boys.. As Naomi likes to say, “They are awesome and you should check them out.”
    Sponsored By:
    Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah: The Institute for Mountain Research is housed at Westminster College, at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah. At Westminster, You are someone who is always looking to get more out of life, who yearns for the freedom to explore. You want your college experience to be someplace where you matter. Where your education isn’t just about landing your first job, it’s about starting a meaningful life.Links:
    Free Music Archive: napz - Memory (feat Sattaman)Westminster Climate Concert! Featuring Pixie and the Party Grass Boys — Join us on April 18th for a Climate Concert featuring the local band Pixie and the Partygrass Boys. The event will feature live music, environmentally focused art, political climate activism information from Citizens Climate Lobby and snacks! The venue will be announced as soon as possible! This event is for Westminster College students, staff, alumni and faculty only.

    If you are a student/staff member interested in displaying art at this event, please let us know.American West Expedition | Westminster College | Utah

    • 40 min
    Brenden Rensink: Running and Writing Mountains

    Brenden Rensink: Running and Writing Mountains

    Brenden Rensink, BYU historian and assistant director of the Charles Redd Center, talks about how his trail-running hobby influences his scholarship.


    Brenden W. Rensink (Ph.D., 2010) is the Assistant Director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies and an Assistant Professor of History at Brigham Young University. Rensink recently published the monograph book, Native but Foreign: Indigenous Immigrants and Refugees in the North American Borderlands (Connecting the Greater West Series, Texas A&M University Press, 2018), co-editor of the forthcoming anthology, Essays on American Indian and Mormon History (University of Utah Press, 2019), co-editor of Documents Vol. 4, and Documents Vol. 6 of the award-winning Joseph Smith Papers projects (Church Historians Press, 2016, 2017), co-author of the Historical Dictionary of the American Frontier (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), and author multiple articles, book chapters, and reviews. Rensink helps manage events, programming, awards, and research at the BYU Redd Center. He also created and directs two ongoing public history initiatives for the Redd Center: serving as the Project Manager and General Editor of the Intermountain Histories digital public history project and as the Host and Producer of the Writing Westward Podcast. His current research projects include consulting with the Native American Rights Fund, editing a collection of essays on 21st Century West History, and a writing new cultural and environmental history monograph tracing experience in, perception of, and recreation in Western American wilderness landscapes.


    Jeff Nichols and Brent Olson co-direct the Institute for Mountain Research and our 2018-2019 Mountain Fellows are Katie Saad and Naomi Shapiro. Our theme song is “Home” by Pixie and the Partygrass Boys.. As Naomi likes to say, “They are awesome and you should check them out.”
    Special Guest: Brenden Rensink.
    Sponsored By:
    Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah: The Institute for Mountain Research is housed at Westminster College, at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah. At Westminster, You are someone who is always looking to get more out of life, who yearns for the freedom to explore. You want your college experience to be someplace where you matter. Where your education isn’t just about landing your first job, it’s about starting a meaningful life.Links:
    Brenden Rensink's personal homepage — Brenden's page contains a wealth of resources and links to all kinds of interesting current work.Native but Foreign: Indigenous Immigrants and Refugees in the North American Borderlands — In Native but Foreign, historian Brenden W. Rensink presents an innovative comparison of indigenous peoples who traversed North American borders in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, examining Crees and Chippewas, who crossed the border from Canada into Montana, and Yaquis from Mexico who migrated into Arizona. The resulting history questions how opposing national borders affect and react differently to Native identity and offers new insights into what it has meant to be “indigenous” or an “immigrant.”

    Rensink’s findings counter a prevailing theme in histories of the American West—namely, that the East was the center that dictated policy to the western periphery. On the contrary, Rensink employs experiences of the Yaquis, Crees, and Chippewas to depict Arizona and Montana as an active and mercurial blend of local political, economic, and social interests pushing back against and even reshaping broader federal policy. Rensink argues that as immediate forces in the borderlands molded the formation of federal policy, these Native groups moved from being categorized as political refugees to being cast as illegal immigrants, subject to deportation or segregation; in both cases, this legal transition was turbulent. Despite contin

    • 28 min

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