Bear Necessities Newsletter


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Bear Necessities #187 - 2/16/24


A little fresh snow in the mountains and blue-bird skies this afternoon…the Montana sunshine feels blissful after several weeks of mostly gray winter weather. Happy Friday, DHC!

We’ve had a busy ‘week of love’ in ye olde DHC. Our interdisciplinary Love course students started with conversation hearts (what would you say about love if you only had eight characters?) – and progressed through research, a great discussion of Bell Hooks’ All About Love, and ended with poetry. Thanks to Bella Smith, Daniel Thackeray, Taryn Thompson, Jae Coehlo (and all the wonderful honors students) for the singing valentine of ‘Hey Baby’ – the fun continued with our colleague and Climate Change Studies program director Peter McDonough hosting his annual ‘Sex Ed Trivia’ at one of the local breweries later Wednesday evening. Peter will also host an ‘Un-grading’ workshop in conjunction with UM’s Office of Organizational Learning and Development next Wednesday (2/21) from 2-4 PM.

We began the week with our monthly team meeting and were delighted to welcome Gillian Glaes and DHC alum Sarah Griffin from UM’s Franke Global Leadership Initiative. Thursday we hosted our monthly ‘Donuts with the DHC’ with another great turnout and such wonderful conversation and community. Monday’s senior seminar challenged students to consider their values, and Wednesday’s Introduction to Honors session featured student e-portfolio presentations and workshopping their academic plans.

Today (Friday, February 16) is the deadline for DHC Evening of Excellence award nominations. This awesome event (set for March 7) will feature recognition for our wonderful students, faculty, and staff. Nominate your favorites at the links below:

>Students nominations:

>Students mid-point achievement awards (the DHC pin!):

>Faculty/staff nominations:

I always enjoy time with the DHC’s Dean’s Student Advisory Council – such a generous, fun, and engaged bunch of student leaders -- we met Tuesday. Lots of great input and conversation, with particular energy around the development of a satellite food pantry in our kitchen. We’ll keep you posted on progress toward this worthy goal. Council member Katia Chavez, a sophomore Wildlife Biology major from Albuquerque, New Mexico, shared the exciting news that her SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) was officially recognized as a student group through ASUM last week. This week’s meeting featured homecooked bison stew and frybread, a presentation from a recent graduate, and planning for a trip to the Ison Range. Lead on, Katia!

Applications for DHC continuing student scholarships are live.

Successful applicants must have completed at least one semester at UM and be making progress toward graduation with University Scholar distinction. Priority will be given to applications for experiential learning. Additional funding will be distributed based on merit and/or need according to award criteria. Applications are due March 15.

Coming right up is the DHC’s First Year showcase, set for next Thursday at 7:00 PM in the lounge. The whole honors community is invited to come out and hear more about the important and impressive work of our ‘baby bears’ in this fall’s iteration of Introduction to Honors, including academic plans, I am from poemsWhat it Means to be Honorable projects, Griz Read (Braiding Sweetgrass) reflections, and e-portfolios.

Our Spring DHC block of tickets with UM Theater and Dance is set for next Sunday's (2/25) matinee performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Please plan to join us for this Shakespearean fun! A limited number of DHC-sponsored tickets are available here:

Tonight the DHC’s Zoo Crew leaders will be at the center of UM’s Winter Pep Rally. I’m watching the base of the bonfire being built on the Oval outside my window just now. Don’t miss the fun. And Go Griz!

I referred to our poetry discussion in Love class earlier in this message. Our conversation (and laughs) included this old fave by the late great Tony Hoagland. Here’s a Romantic Moment:

After the nature documentary we walk down,
into the plaza of art galleries and high-end clothing stores where the mock orange is fragrant on the summer night

and the smooth adobe walls glow fleshlike in the dark.


It is just our second date, and we sit down on a rock,

holding hands, not looking at each other,

and if I were a bull penguin right now I would lean over

and vomit softly into the mouth of my beloved,

and if I were a peacock I’d flex my gluteal muscles to

erect and spread the quills of my Cinemax tail.

If she were a female walking stick bug she might

insert her hypodermic proboscis delicately into my neck

and inject me with a rich hormonal sedative

before attaching her egg sac to my thoracic undercarriage.

And if I were a young chimpanzee I would break off a nearby tree limb 

and smash all the windows in the plaza jewelry stores.


And if she were a Brazilian leopard frog she would wrap her impressive

tongue three times around my right thigh and pummel me lightly against the

surface of our pond and I would know her feelings were sincere.

Instead we sit awhile in silence, until

she remarks that in the relative context of tortoises and iguanas, 

human males seem to be rather expressive.

And I say that female crocodiles really don’t receive

enough credit for their gentleness. 

Then she suggests that it is time for us to go

to get some ice cream cones and eat them.


Wishing you all some good ice cream and some romantic moments of your own…



 Drone Photograph of UM oval covered in snow