Iowa State University
Carl F. Vondra Geology Field Station

Our permanent field station is a modern facility near Shell, Wyoming, on the western flank of the Big Horn Mountains, an ideal setting for geological field courses and workshops. The facilities consist of the Smith Lodge, two student dormitories, and a classroom building that are open throughout the year for educational activities by schools, industry, and government agencies.

Interested in hosting your own workshop or course at the field station?
We are here to help! Please go to our Event Reservations page for more information.


Summer 2021 Geology Field Camp (GEOL 302, 6 credits)

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, including our ability to provide an immersive field experience for young geoscientists. We are planning to host a Summer 2021 field camp (GEOL 302), but due to the health and safety concerns imposed by the pandemic, the following changes will be made to our traditional 6-week course:

  • An abbreviated 4.5 week schedule (May 22 – June 22, 2021)
  • 50% student capacity to reduce the density of students in living spaces, vehicles, etc.
  • Incorporation of COVID safety protocols following those used on the Iowa State University campus.

Iowa State students will have enrollment priority and should contact Aaron Wood for access to application materials.

With the reduced student capacity, it is unlikely we will be able to accept many non-ISU students for summer 2021. Non-ISU students interested in attending the 2021 field camp should add their names to a waitlist, and they will be contacted if seats open up in the 2021 enrollment.


Why Attend the ISU Geology Field Camp?

The Iowa State University Geology Field Camp focuses on applied geology and will help you compete for jobs in the real world or for positions in geology graduate programs!

Our welcoming environment encourages learning in a positive atmosphere. At least two permanent instructional staff members from Iowa State are present at all times, in addition to graduate teaching assistants. Areas of expertise of the staff members include stratigraphy and sedimentation, surficial processes, structural geology and tectonics, igneous and metamorphic petrology, and paleontology. We also have guest instructors from industry who lead an exercise on petroleum exploration and give up-to-date information on how to get industry jobs as geoscientists.

Field camp is the best opportunity you will have to be immersed in geology, learn how to interpret the rock and fossil record, develop three-dimensional thinking skills, make and read geologic maps, and evaluate the data used to make maps. Students enter our program knowing some geology – they leave it with a real understanding of the practical applications of geologic knowledge.

The Geology Field Camp is held at the Carl F. Vondra Geology Field Station in the beautiful Bighorn Basin!