Accepting applications for 2018

Application Deadline Extended to May 24, 2018

Email Shular Roberts at with your applications and any questions.

Experience Mountain Science Program (xMSP)

Join the San Juans' most immersive and engaging mountain science program!  During the two week, rigorous field course program, students explore topics and careers in the sciences and natural resources by day, and camp and explore in the evenings.

During the program, interns gain hands-on experience contributing to real-world environmental science projects. Students work side-by-side with a small group of other interns from across the San Juan Mountains. The program is led by mentors from MSI and more than 20 local science professionals.  Students interact with natural resource managers and researchers in the field to learn about ecology, geology, hydrology, wildlife, and forestry. They will dive into topics such as air and water quality, climate change, mine reclamation, fen restoration, and forest health.

Interns receive an orientation to the issues and research being done in the San Juan Mountains; become introduced to field research methods; and become familiar with back-country skills and safety.  

Due to the many logistics and planning requirements of this program, participation necessitates commitment to the entire program, a spirit of adventure, and parent or guardian support. In 2018, the program will run July 9-12 and 16-19. 

In 2017, the xMSP program had two four-day sessions in July. Each week session visited a new community, highlighting efforts for science and communities to work together to solve problems and innovate solutions. We visited Silverton, Durango, Pagosa Springs, and Telluride. Activities involved field projects, service learning, and hiking in the San Juans, along with evening time for swimming, s'mores, playing games and exploring local towns. 

Mountain Studies Institute (MSI) accepts high school students rising to 11 or 12th grades, or recent high school graduates (with occasional exceptions for younger students). Students from San Miguel, Ouray, Dolores, San Juan, La Plata, Archuleta, and Montezuma counties are invited to apply. 

We are grateful to  Alpine Bank, Anschutz Family Foundation, Ballantine Family Fund, the Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado, and National Forest Foundation for their support of and partnership in development of the the xMSP program. We are actively seeking additional sponsorship that will allow for 10-15 students from San Juan Mountain communities to participate. 

Read full student articles from 2017 in the Durango Herald, Pine River Times, Ouray County Plaindealer and The Watch


Thank you to our generous sponsors & partners!