You should come prepared for both warm and cool weather. Many of our field examples will have us in outdoor settings for several hours. July and August temperatures can range from 5°C to 35°C in Montana, and they can change rapidly in a single day. A good strategy is to bring clothes that you can put on in layers, and make sure you bring at least one warm sweater, a warm hat, and a few pairs of warm socks. It is also useful to have a rain jacket. Since we will be walking on some mountain trails, comfortable, sturdy footwear is a must. Many participants enjoy having hiking shoes and sandals during the Seminar. You may also like to bring a swimsuit for wading in the water. For indoor events, comfortable, casual clothes will be the norm. We plan no events where formal attire is required, but you may wish to bring one semi-formal outfit for Washington, DC, and our opening banquets. For our opening banquet, we invite you to wear traditional attire from your country.

Last year our participants came from twelve countries: Armenia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Georgia, Guinea, Lebanon, Senegal, South Africa, Zambia, and Uzbekistan. Despite the fact that there may be political tensions between some of the countries represented by our participants, we have found that participants get along very well and form strong friendships that often extend beyond the Seminar.

All participants will receive a small per diem cash allowance during the Seminar in the form of a debit card. This allowance is to be used for the occasions when participants will be required to arrange their own meals and pay for small incidental expenses. The tuition cost will cover all travel, lodging, and most of the meal expenses. If you wish to purchase items not covered by the allowance, you must bring your own money with you to Montana.

Participants will have several opportunities to shop during the Seminar. The shopping opportunities will allow participants to purchase needed items for the field and to purchase personal items to take home. There are two free days planned into the seminar for 2020.

Participants will have access to the Internet/e-mail during most of the first and last weeks of the Seminar if they bring a laptop or Ipad. Access to cell service and internet will be limited when in national parks and national forests. Participants unable to bring a laptop or Ipad will be given several opportunities to check Internet/email at the beginning, middle, and end of the Seminar. If it is necessary that your e-mail is monitored on a daily or regular basis, please arrange to have someone in your home country do this.

The primary cellular network in Montana does not use the SIM card system. However, cell phones brought from overseas may be used in Montana if capable of connecting to WIFI. If you have an international cell phone, contact your service provider to see if it can be used in Montana outside of WIFI range. Cell phone service is limited and sometimes non-existent in national parks or national forests. The best way to stay in touch with family and work is to skype or email using the hotel WIFI before and after the seminar hours, in the mornings and evenings.

We will be lodging in furnished hotels. During the seminar, participants will share accommodation (2 participants, 2 beds, one room). We have made all the arrangements for lodging for the duration of the program. Most of the breakfasts and lunches are provided, while dinners are on your own using the per diem. We recognize that people have different dietary needs, and we do our best to accommodate those when we provide meals.

There is some physical activity required. There will be time allocated for hikes in Glacier National Park and around Missoula. There is also a rafting float trip in Missoula. Be aware you will be in a raft. You will be provided with a flotation device and we do not expect you to need to swim at any time. No physical activity will be strenuous. Recognizing that we will often be more than 1,500 meters above sea-level, you may tire faster than normal. Drinking water regularly will help a great deal.

  • STEP 1: Secure financial sponsor to attend ISPAM. Review details of the Seminar on the website.
  • STEP 2: Submit seminar application to seminar coordinator. Deadline to submit application is March 1.
  • STEP 3: The Seminar Coordinator will confirm financial sponsorship for your participation in the Seminar. The Seminar Coordinator will review your application and, if accepted, will send you a formal letter of acceptance and invitation to attend the Seminar. The Seminar Coordinator will send you several important documents outlining important information for the Seminar. It is your responsibility to review them carefully and be familiar with the details contained within these documents.
  • STEP 4: Request J-1 visa from Seminar Coordinator or procure other type of US visa independently. Also, acquire any needed transit visas that may be required for your travels. Inform the Seminar Coordinator of your visa status, visa interview date, and results of visa interview. It is important that you check and respond to your e-mail regularly (at least once a week) so that you can be advised of important Seminar information.
  • STEP 5: Purchase airline tickets and send the Seminar Coordinator a detailed flight itinerary. *If you are sponsored by the USDA Forest Service International Programs, submit Flight Booking Form to the Seminar Coordinator. Deadline to submit Flight Booking Form is April 15.
  • STEP 6: Fly to Missoula, MT and attend the International Seminar on Protected Area Management!

International Programs upholds the Forest Service commitment to create and maintain a work environment in which all people are treated with dignity, fairness, and respect, and where all are free from any type of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. This commitment extends to all Forest Service employees, contractors, partners, participants in any of our programs, and anyone who does business with us.

Whether in the workplace or not, whether on duty or off duty, and whether or not another employee witnesses it, the USFS will not tolerate:

  1. Sexual harassment which is a particularly egregious form of harassment and a form of sex discrimination prohibited by law and regulation. Sexual harassment is not condoned in Forest Service programs, activities, in the work environment, or in situations that impact the work environment (1765.05).
  2. Any use of derogatory words, phrases, epithets, gestures, pictures, drawings, or cartoons that:
    1. Deal with or target race, color, religion, age (40 years or older), disability (physical or mental), national origin, sex (gender), sexual orientation, genetic information, marital, and /or parental status regardless of the means of delivery (that is, verbal or electronic communication); or
    2. Intimidates, abuses, offends, or creates a hostile work environment.
  3. The use of Government issued and/or provided electronic devices (computers, cellular telephones, tablets, internet, email and/or other equipment) to harass, demean, or degrade another. This prohibition includes the viewing, downloading, storage, or distribution of pornographic or sexually explicit material on such devices whether in the workplace or not, whether on duty or off duty, and whether or not another employee witnesses it.
  4. Viewing or displaying pornographic or sexually explicit materials that may be viewed by other employees during the course of employment regardless of the means or methods (such as, but not limited to, print, hard copy, audio or electronic).
  5. Retaliation against any employee for reporting matters under this policy, or for assisting in an inquiry related to such a report.

We will hold any employee, contractor, partner, or program participant who engages in harassing, intimidating or bullying behavior accountable. We encourage anyone who experiences or witnesses questionable behavior which may be considered harassment, intimidation or bullying to discuss the behavior with an International Programs management official or a Forest Service management official. Alternatively, call the USFS Harassment Reporting Center toll free at (844) 815-8943 to make an official report. For more information, read the full US Forest Service Anti-Harassment Policy available here: