Autumn Wildlife Watching

Autumn Wildlife Watching

$578 | Tuition
Dates:
September 17 - 20
Location:
Gardiner, Montana
Meals Included?:
No
Instructors:
Sam Archibald, M.E.M.
Audience Type:
Adult
Program Type:
Field Seminars
Program Subject:
Wildlife

Welcome to Yellowstone's Northern Range! This iconic stretch of mountains, meadows, rivers, and glacial valleys lies at the heart of the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and is home to 14 carnivores, 8 ungulates, over 150 birds, as well as rodents, reptiles, and more. Autumn casts this landscape in a beautiful light with golden aspen, amber grasses, and crisp foggy mornings. Cooler days mean more active wildlife. Elk herd their harems, wolves wander farther in search of food at a time when prey species are in peak physical condition, and bears frantically feast in preparation for winter. You will seek out as many of these species as possible over the course of three days, starting early to catch animals when they are most active and using binoculars or high-powered spotting scopes to observe their unaltered behavior. In the afternoons, you will leave the road for short hikes (up to 5 miles) to examine tracks, scat, and other sign.
A tentative itinerary is included below, but the bulk of the program can be adapted to your shared interests. You will seek a better understanding of how these species interact with one another, and the management concerns that surround many of our more controversial or threatened species. Open discussion is always encouraged, so bring your questions, concerns, and even personal experiences with you as you explore one of the most intact and diverse ecosystems on the planet.

About the Instructor

Sam Archibald is a Lead Field Educator for Yellowstone Forever. Sam first started with outdoor education as a US Peace Corps volunteer, working with an Ecuadorian nonprofit organization to develop outdoor leadership programs for youth. After earning his master’s degree in Environmental Management through Western Colorado University (Gunnison, CO), Sam joined the National Park Service, working as a Crew Leader for the Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps. What was supposed to be a single season in YNP turned into many as Sam fell in love the vivacity of this ecosystem. Sam first joined Yellowstone Forever's team as a winter seasonal educator and has been a permeant instructor since 2022. Sam is grateful for every day he gets to spend out in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and looks forward to the continual discoveries offered by this wild and wonderful landscape.

Download Program Information:

Autumn Wildlife Watching Course Letter

More Information:

We are continually updating and refining our COVID-19 mitigation measures to ensure the health and safety our guests, staff and volunteers. Read our COVID-19 guidelines for program participants.

SUMMER ACTIVITY LEVEL SCALE

  • Be prepared to hike up to 1 mile per day, comfortably, through relatively flat terrain on maintained trails.
  • Be prepared to hike up to 3 miles per day, comfortably, with elevation gains up to 600 feet. Some off-trail hiking possible.
  • Be prepared to hike up to 5 miles per day, comfortably, with occasional elevation gains up to 1000 feet in undulating terrain.
  • Be prepared to hike up to 8 miles per day, at a brisk pace, comfortably, with climbs up to 1500 feet on dirt trails. Loose rocks, uneven footing, and off-trail hiking are possible. Good coordination is recommended.
  • Be prepared for brisk aerobic, destination-oriented hiking up to 12 miles a day. You should be physically conditioned to do these hikes comfortably. Elevation changes up to 2000 feet on dirt trails or off-trail. Loose rock, uneven footing, steep hillside traverses, and stream crossings are possible. Good coordination is required.

WINTER ACTIVITY LEVEL SCALE

  • Leisurely hikes up to 1 mile per day through relatively flat terrain on maintained or snow-packed trails.
  • Hikes on snow-packed trails, or snowshoe or ski trips, up to 3 miles per day with climbs up to 250 feet.
  • Brisk hiking, snowshoeing, or skiing up to 5 miles per day with climbs up to 500 feet, including some trail-breaking in snow.
  • Brisk aerobic snowshoeing or skiing up to 8 miles per day with climbs up to 1000 feet; or steep, rugged, off-trail skiing or snowshoeing—including breaking trail in variable snow conditions.
  • Brisk aerobic snowshoeing or skiing up to 12 miles per day with climbs up to 1500 feet; or steep, rugged, off-trail skiing or snowshoeing—including breaking trail in variable snow conditions.