“Whether you are ruled by your ‘right brain’ or your ‘left brain,’ we have a class for you,” said Jeff Brown, director of education for the Yellowstone Association Institute. ”We like to mix up liberal arts-type classes that stress creativity with those that appeal to those with more of a scientific interest such as wildlife biology and geology.”
The Institute isa non-profit field school operated by the park’s official educational partner – the Yellowstone Association – since 1976. The summer 2009 course schedule features Field Seminars, Backpacking courses, Lodging & Learning programs and Private Tours.
This year’s schedule of Field Seminars features more than 100 courses. Examples of “creative” courses include “Nature Photography in Yellowstone: The Digital Image,” “Poetry + Ecology = Creative Fusion” and “Writing the Natural History Essay.”
Participants interested in wildlife biology can choose from, among others, “Wolves–Reality and Myth,” “Birding for Beginners,” “Mammal Signs: Interpreting Tracks, Scat, and Hair” and “Wildlife Watching in Grizzly Country.”
For physical education, there is “Day Hiking the Beartooths,” “Fly Fishing for Novices” and “Day Hiking the Wild Yellowstone: Northern Range Area.”
Since it became the world’s first national park in 1872, Yellowstone’s history has been colorful. Participants can learn about it through “Yellowstone’s Northern Roadside History,” “Hiking the History of Yellowstone” and “Ghost Hotels of Yellowstone–Northern Loop.”
It was the park’s geology that has been of most interest. Among the seminars focused on this topic are “Mammoth: 320 Million Years in the Making,” “Exploring the Lower Geyser Basin” and “Tracking the Heat: Yellowstone’s Hot Spot and Calderas.”
Field Seminars are taught by college professors, research scientists, park staff and other experts. Most field courses last from one to four days and are limited to 13 participants. Many courses are held at the Institute’s Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus, where simple and comfortable log cabins are available for $30 per person per night. Other courses are based at park lodges.
This year’s catalog also features the Institute’s Backpacking Courses, Private Tours and Lodging & Learning packages. Backpacking Courses are wilderness experiences that allow participants to visit remote areas of the park under the guidance of professional outdoor leaders and Yellowstone experts. Lodging & Learning programs mix education and recreation for visitors who want to learn more about the park while returning to park lodges at the end of the day. Private Tours are ideal for families and other small groups that want an introduction to Yellowstone wildlife, geology or a guided. The eight-hour trips focus on the diverse and abundant wildlife of Yellowstone’s Northern Range, natural history and geology in the Canyon and Lake Yellowstone areas or the thermal features in the Old Faithful area.
To request a free course catalog or make reservations for the field seminars, backpacking courses and Private Tours, call 307-344-2294; for Lodging and Learning reservations, call 866-439-7375. Yellowstone Association members receive a $10 discount on all courses, and family memberships begin at just $35 per year. For more information on any Institute program, go to www.YellowstoneAssociation.org .