The Montana Wilderness School is a 501(c)3 nonprofit outdoor education school based in Bozeman, Montana, providing multi-week transformative and empowering wilderness expeditions for youth ages 14-22.
MWS’ sole focus is our Youth Wilderness Program, which removes students from daily pressures and fully immerses them in wild places on expeditions rich with activity, exploration, and place-based education. The multi-week expeditions challenge young people mentally and physically, teaching them practical backcountry technical skills, an understanding of the complexity of public land use, and the importance of leadership and character building.
Students trek and paddle on public lands and waterways, with diverse peers, encouraging and supporting their physical and emotional growth, engaging in rich discussions about life skills, and learning to solve contextualized problems in real time both as individuals and among colleagues. Since its inception, MWS has focused on two access issues—youth under-represented in wilderness experiences (including rural, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+), and those who without financial assistance would be unable to attend.
From 2015-2021, MWS has:
- Served 464 students from a variety of races, cultures, geographies, and socio-economic levels ● Led 58 immersive expeditions from 5 to 25 days on some of Montana’s most stunning rivers and mountain ranges
- Accumulated more than 133,464 student program hours-an average student spends 287 hours on a MWS expedition
- Never turned away a financially deserving student. In 7 program seasons, MWS has awarded $590,927 in scholarships since we launched that first canoe