The ruggedest classroom in the world is probably that presided over by Dr. Jerry Flora, associate professor of zoology at Western Washington College. Like many of his predecessors, Dr. Flora, shown here hanging on the ropes in Coleman Glacier, teaches his pupils high on the slopes of Washington's 10,750-foot Mt. Baker.
For more than 40 years, nature students and professors at Western Washington have done their lab work on the mountain from early spring until autumn storms drive them off. The high-altitude field trips have now become so popular that the college offers a special six-week summer course in the science of mountaineering.
"A mountain lends incomparable drama to the search for facts," says Flora. It also, like the oldtime geography book, provides a fine cover for an occasional goof-off. "Somehow," says the prof, "it's always on the steepest slope that our keen young scientist has to stop and photograph a rare glacier lily."