2020 Winter Workshop Series

PHOTO Alexis Bonogofsky

This winter, join Freeflow Institute in Montana for three intensive weekend workshops in creativity, conservation, and storytelling.

Winter Series Instructor Lineup


25 – 26 April, 2020


Join us, pay what you can, and soak up a full weekend of independent exploration, discussion, and intentional, focused observation.

“Going simple, going solo, going now: unplug, get quiet, and find ‘big W’ Wild in ‘small w’ wild places”

Chris La Tray is a Missoula-based writer, poet, and enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians

  • Discuss good literary citizenship as a means of connecting across a broader community.
  • Consider the vital role of imagination and creativity in our lives as modern humans.
  • Consider the value of disconnecting from the wired world as a means to reconnect more deeply with the analog one.
  • Discuss the practice of journaling as a necessary component of not just a writing life, but a contemplative one.
  • Practice observation using more than just visual senses – going beyond noting their inner thoughts and actually reaching out with the senses to the wider world.
  • Consider the act of the “live” reading as an extension of the oral tradition, aka storytelling.

In response to our current global crisis, we are offering Chris La Tray’s April workshop as an online, distance-learning field course. We realize that this is uncharted territory, and that Freeflow courses are meant to be enjoyed in wild spaces, with other humans. But for now, we offer you something unique, adaptive, and, we hope, healing.

Join us for a full weekend of discussion, craft lectures, generative exercises, and independent work in the field. That field, as La Tray will confirm, may be the mountain behind your neighborhood or a corner of your backyard, the base of a tree or a pond near your home.

Thanks to our generous friends at the Environmental Studies department and School of Extended and Lifelong Learning at the University of Montana, we will hold our discussion sessions on Zoom.

You may pay what you can afford, what you feel the experience is worth to you, now, at this moment in your life. Or, you may enroll without paying anything. We just ask that you participate fully, invest completely in the weekend, and bring your whole attention to the workshop.

This workshop, in its new and modified format, is made possible by support from Humanities Montana.


POSTPONED: Please contact us for new dates. This workshop will happen, just a little later than we had hoped.

Lochsa River, Idaho

“Exploration and travel to and through “wild spaces” to improve our world at home”

Ben Stookesberry is an award-winning filmmaker, expedition kayaker, and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. Darby McAdams is a Montana native, whitewater enthusiast and adventure filmmaker.

Guest instructors Ben Stookesberry and Darby McAdams will offer perspectives and lessons learned from years traveling the world in search of wild river exploration. The workshop will consider goal-oriented travel as an “act of immersive learning” that opens up new lines of communication and organically informs a nuanced perspective of the world outside of our own.

In Stookesberry’s words: “This is an experiential course, a capture course, and a storytelling course built to accommodate anyone from any walk of life. As part of this University of Montana accredited program, we will live on the Lochsa for two nights and two days with great food, discussion, and a chance to greet the melting snow of the mighty Lochsa at river level.”

Tuition includes instruction, rafting, drysuits + safety gear, class materials, meals, and Big Sky beer.


29 Feb – 1 Mar, 2020 / at Yellowstone Forever Institute, Gardiner, MT

“Story as light, story as glue, sorry as web: telling compelling stories for conservation”

Alexis Bonogofksy is a fourth-generation Montana rancher, writer, photographer, and organizerRonan Donovan is an award-winning National Geographic photographer and filmmaker.

Bonogofsky and Donovan will consider creativity and authenticity in activism, community organizing, and mission-driven storytelling.

PHOTO Alexis Bonogofsky

With every Freeflow experience, you can expect movementexploration of place, and intentional building of community.

Each two-day workshop will feature interactive presentations by guest instructors, generative elements, craft lectures, and ample opportunities for discussion and synthesis, all in a cozy and intimate atmosphere.

Tuition includes: overnight accommodations, meals and refreshments, and class materials.

Optional credits: 3 graduate or undergraduate credits are available through the University of Montana’s department of Environmental Studies (ENST 491: Conservation & Communication). A $155 credit processing fee is paid directly to UM via the School of Extended and Lifelong Learning, due by March 6, 2020.

Students will be provided with a short list of preparatory readings, podcasts, and films to be reviewed before the workshops.