While ski season is still in full swing, it won’t be long until signs of spring begin to appear in the Greater Yellowstone area. Bears will emerge from their dens, ice will start to melt from lakes and streams, and reddish-brown bison calves will join their herds.
A Yellowstone Forever Institute Field Seminar is a unique way to experience Yellowstone like you never have before. These in-depth learning experiences, led by experts in their field, allow participants to explore a specific topic of interest or try a new skill. Registration for spring and summer Field Seminars opens this month, and popular programs will fill up fast.
“Because the summer season is more popular for park visitors, Yellowstone can at times feel a little crowded. However, by participating in one of our field seminars you can get away from the crowds and experience this remarkable landscape in a far more intimate and personable way,” says Robert Petty, senior director of education for Yellowstone Forever. “By joining a small group of equally passionate and curious people, and an expert field instructor, you can immerse yourself in this wild and inspiring landscape in a way that will resonate with you for years to come.”
Wildlife enthusiasts can choose from numerous courses led by naturalists and wildlife biologists that focus on animal tracking, behavior, or research. Several Field Seminars let you explore the world of a specific species such as Wolves: Reality and Myth, or courses on cougars, bison, grizzlies, bats, or owls.
Those who would like to nurture their artistic side can register for Painting Moran’s Yellowstone or Field Seminars in nature writing, journaling, or photography with Yellowstone as their muse. Other courses delve into the human stories of the Yellowstone area by exploring park history, conservation efforts, and Crow or Lakota culture.
A pair of brand-new programs, Backpacking Basics and Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival, help participants build skills and confidence for their backcountry pursuits. Plus five fly-fishing courses are designed for everyone from beginners to advanced anglers.
Also new this year, the Institute is connecting several summer programs to the Citizen Science Initiative, a collaboration between Yellowstone Forever and Yellowstone National Park. Participants will have the chance to help scientists gather information for park research studies. These hands-on programs include red-tailed hawk monitoring, collecting data on pikas or ungulates, and more.
Those seeking to start a new career or continue their professional education may take a course to become certified as a Naturalist Guide or Interpretive Guide. In addition, the course in Wilderness First Aid is ideal for anyone who spends a lot of time working or playing in the backcountry.
For most summer Field Seminars, participants can reserve lodging with Yellowstone Forever at either the Overlook Field Campus in Gardiner or the historic Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone’s magnificent Lamar Valley.
Registration for 2019 summer Field Seminars opens on January 30 at 8:00 a.m. MST for Yellowstone Forever supporters, and on February 6 at 8:00 a.m. MST for the general public. Those who aren’t yet supporters can join when registering for a program online.
While Field Seminar registration opens on these specific dates, registration is open year-round for other types of Yellowstone Forever Institute programs such as Lodging & Learning, Private Tours, Youth & College, or Teacher programs.