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UVU offering unique, nature-based summer classes

Bird watching, identifying plants and mountain biking are programs available this spring to help the community become more involved with Mother Nature.

It might sound like an array of Boy Scout merit badges, but these classes are offered by UVU. The university’s Community and Continuing Education program is starting its summer with new classes designed to provide opportunities for the community in a convenient and affordable way. 

New classes include “Backyard Birding,” “Social Media Marketing,” “Utah Herb and Wildflower Walk,” “Eco-living Workshops” and “Mountain Biking.” All of the classes are short-term, non-credit evening classes.

Susan Palmer, marketing coordinator for the CCE, wants to open up educational opportunities for people of all ages.

“Each course is designed to help community members enhance job skills, develop new talents or explore new hobbies,” Palmer said in a news release.

Students welcome these new classes. Cassidie Rasmussen, a photography major at UVU, from Riverton, said she would take some of the new classes, even if she didn’t get credit for them.

“I think bird watching and flower walks would be sweet,” Rasmussen said. “I think UVU is going in a good direction.”

UVU continues to add classes, with more than 400 courses offered through the CCE per year. Last semester it added classes such as care-giving and gold panning.

According to Louis Allen of the CCE, the caregiving class did not have enough students, but the gold panning class received a lot of interest. In fact, the last class was full. 

“I mean, how often do people get to go out panning for gold?” Allen said.

The CCE does background research to determine which classes to offer. It receives suggestions through surveys, conducts evaluations at the end of the classes and looks at upcoming trends and current interest areas.

Still, students have ideas about what other classes could be added. Kimmee Wade, from Salt Lake City, majoring in special education, said UVU has a variety of dance classes, yet she wishes it had more mainstream classes like jazz dance. Nonetheless, she likes that UVU is expanding its course catalog.

“I think it’s good that they have those types of classes,” Wade said. “That’s what college is for — to explore.”