Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Disabled students make the trip to Yellowstone for the first time

Three students in wheelchairs shared an experience of a lifetime during a two week science field course at Yellowstone National Park last summer.

“We were able to see old faithful and many other geysers, viewed a lot of the wildlife and trees, and also studied wolf tracks,” Biological Sciences Professor George Clokey said.

According to Clokey, the course provided a valuable hands-on learning experience for the students.

“It gave the students some real life experience of getting them out there and able to see what the research and field work is actually like,” Clokey said.

He said students have been traveling to Yellowstone on this trip since 1990, although this past summer was the first year open to students in wheelchairs.

“I felt the trip was a positive, unique learning experience for these students,” Clokey said.

According to Integrated Science Business Major Casey Stark, the Yellowstone trip also gave students a new sense of confidence and courage within themselves.

“This trip helped prove that there are a lot of things that I am able to do that I never thought I could do,” Stark said.

The trip was a feel-good, inspirational story for these three brave girls overcoming and accomplishing some of their fears and objections in life, Clokey said.

“The students really picked up a new sense of confidence along this trip,” Clokey said. “They were able to come away from this experience with a new appreciation for themselves.”

Stark said Clokey played a huge role in motivating and impacting this course.

“He makes the class very enjoyable and fun,” Stark said. “Sometimes you would be having so much fun you would forget you were in a class learning.”

Clokey said the Yellowstone course was an inspiration to many people the students encountered along the way.

“The people who worked at the guest ranch were all impressed with how full of life these kids were and just how friendly and polite they were,” Clokey said.

Clokey said he is supportive and hoping UW-Whitewater will continue to create opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in these types of trips in the future.

“I hope we’re able to do this trip in the coming years with people who are either sight or hearing impaired,” Clokey said. “Anybody can learn and take a lot away from this type of course.”

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Founded 1901
Disabled students make the trip to Yellowstone for the first time