There are numerous reasons why getting out & about can help you live a healthier, happier, and more meaningful (deeply satisfying) life. Most people are aware of the physical benefits of being in nature, but there are also mental benefits. Peripatetic philosophers such as the Ancient Greeks, for example, felt that there was a deep & intuitive connection between walking (in nature) & critical thought, so much so that they literally walked the earth & philosophized (hence the “prone to roam” moniker ‘peripatetic’).
We enthusiastically agree and feel that “getting your feet dirty” & “sittin’ in trees” is a critical part of philosophy. With this in mind, our philosophy walks aim to help you kick off your shoes, exercise your body & mind, and reconnect with nature in ways that help to promote health and happiness.
Our Merlin Meanderings
We offer free guided philosophy walks (a.k.a. ‘Merlin Meanderings’) on Merlin Nature Preserve (and other local areas) Spring, Summer & Fall (and Winter – depending on weather). The purpose of these fun meanderings are threefold — they allow an opportunity to: (1) exercise your body & mind, (2) reconnect with nature, and (3) philosophically think about & discuss ideas and concerns that are important to you. We will provide sign-up information and announce the date & location of our philosophy walks here. You may also join our ‘Merlin Meanderings’ list to receive updates and/or contact us directly.
Fall Series Walk 1
Merlin Nature Preserve
The 1st walk in our 3-part Fall Philosophy Walk Series. On this walk we explored and talked about environmental ethics, ecology, traditional and ‘Deep Ecology’ environmental ethicists, preservation & conservation (of habitat and wildlife), our relationship with the natural world, and Montana natural history & sense of place.
- Mark Smillie, Ph.D. (Professor of Philosophy & Environmental Ethics, Carroll College)
- Patricia Heiser, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Earth Science, Carroll College)
- Bill Hallinan (Wild Divide Chapter Volunteer, Montana Wilderness Association)
To view resources, photos, and listen to audio of our philosophy walk, visit our philosophy walk archive page by clicking on the button below.
Halloween-Themed Philosophy Walk for Kids
Merlin Nature Preserve
Sunday 10/29 (10am-1pm)
Wear your Halloween costumes & get ready for fun! This walk will be geared specifically for kids and will have a Halloween & philosophy-based theme. Special guest speaker/storyteller Martin Richard. Plus…a hayride, hot apple cider, healthy, homemade treats and more! Bring a sack lunch and/or snack. Attendance by adults/parents/grandparents/siblings etc. are encouraged/welcome. Space is limited for this special event. $10 suggested donation.
**Our hayride-walk is filling up fast. Only 6 spots left! Reserve your space today!**
**Due to nature preserve logistics, registration and/or confirmation of attendance for our October Little Philosopher’s Walk is required. Our group will meet in the Silver City Saloon parking lot & caravan to Merlin Nature Preserve (See directions below).**
Fall Series Walk 2
Tuesday 10/17 (6:30pm-8:30pm)
The 2nd walk in our 3-Part Fall Philosophy Walk series. This walk will explore aspects of history of conservation & hunting, hunting ethics, and some conceptual and practical challenges & concerns.
- Jim Posewitz (Biologist, Conservationist, Author, Emeritus Adjunct Professor of History & Philosophy, Montana State University, Founder, Orion, Emeritus Board Member, Cinnabar Foundation)
- Thomas Baumeister (Education Supervisor, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Game, Executive Director, Montana WILD & Adjunct Professor, Carroll College)
**Presentation/Discussion to take place at Montana WILD (followed by an evening walk on adjacent trail for those interested). Beverages & Light Snacks Provided.**
Fall Series Walk 3
Merlin Nature Preserve
Sunday 11/12 (10am-1pm)
The 3rd walk in our 3-Part Fall Philosophy Walk series. This walk will explore aspects of governance, policy and process, challenges and concerns, and community involvement.
- Nick Gevock, M.A. (Conservation Director, Montana Wildlife Federation)
**Due to nature preserve logistics, registration and/or confirmation of attendance for our November Philosophy Walk is required. Bring a sack lunch and/or snack. $10 suggested donation. Our group will meet at Silver City Saloon and caravan to Merlin Nature Preserve (see directions below).**
Directions to Merlin Nature Preserve: Our group will meeting in the Silver City Saloon parking lot located at 6042 Lincoln Road West. From there we will take a hayride to Merlin Nature Preserve (approx. 3.5 miles from the SCS parking lot). To reach the Silver City Saloon parking lot from Helena, take either the 15, N. Montana Ave. or Green Meadow Drive to Lincoln Rd. Turn left onto Lincoln Road & head west (toward Marysville/Canyon Creek). Drive roughly 6.5 miles. Silver City Saloon will be on your right hand side. Click here for google maps directions.
For walks on the preserve, please plan on arriving approx. 15 minutes before hike/walk start time. For more information about the meandering, please contact our executive director & philosophy walk guide (Marisa) at #406-439-5788 or e-mail [email protected]
What to Expect on Our Philosophy Walks
Here is a general overview of what you can expect on our Merlin Meanderings:
- Free to the Public (donations welcome/appreciated)
- 2-3 hour walks (opportunities for rest along the way)
- Casual, positive & supportive experience
- 1-2 philosophy guides; guest/volunteer nature guides (as available)
- Small group sizes (generally 1-12 people; may be larger for special occasion walks)
- Ample opportunity to enjoy nature
To get the most out of your experience with us and enjoy a healthy & safe walk, please bring with you on the day of the walk/hike:
- Water & Snack
- Weather appropriate attire & sun protection
- A walking stick/Trekking poles
- Comfortable Shoes/Hiking Boots
If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please e-mail [email protected], call our office at #406-204-0064, or our executive director & philosophy walk guide (Marisa) at #406-439-5788
Philosophy Walk Donations
First things first & bottom line — our Merlin Meanderings are free. Donations (by definition, in fact) are not required, though they definitely help to keep us going and we gladly welcome them.
Whether you are an active Merlin Meanderings walker or a community member who is unable to participate but loves the idea and wants to support the cause, you can donate to our philosophy walks in several ways: (a) in person, (b) via check, or (c) via our website.
Please remember, too, that we are a 501(c)(3) organization. This means that your donations are tax-deductible! Woot-Woot!
To Donate In Person
You can visit us at our in-town office anytime. We are located at 119 Reeder’s Alley, Helena MT 59601. Or if you are on a philosophy walk & wish to donate, you can do so then!
To Donate By Check
Please make checks out to ‘Merlin CCC‘ and mail to PO Box 2034, Helena MT 59624. Don’t forget to include ‘Donation’ in the memo line.
To Donate By Credit Card or Debit Card
Please click on the ‘Donate Now‘ button below (or located on the sidebar of our website).