Time:the Wednesday of your reservation and returning Friday afternoon
Course Description:This seminar is a two-night/three-day backpacking trip in RockyMountainNational Park.This is a private trip for your group.During this seminar you will:1) learn how to travel in the backcountry using Leave No Trace principles, 2) learn about and use minimal hiking and backpacking gear for your trip, 3) learn the natural history of Rocky Mountain National Park and the importance of intact wilderness areas, 4) learn how to properly prepare and store food in the backcountry, 5) learn about proper hygiene in the backcountry.
Educational Objectives/Trip Options: The objectives listed below will foster a knowledge and appreciation of RockyMountainNational Park to inspire a conservationist’s perspective within the course participants.
Students will learn the fundamentals of this life zone by studying ponderosa pine ecology (including effects of the pine beetle on this species) along with the other plants and wildflowers that form interrelationships with one another.Students will also be introduced to the animal behavior and habitats of elk, small mammals such as squirrels, coyotes, and bird species such as bluebirds, magpies, woodpeckers and warblers. Riparian areas where willow and beaver communities thrive will also be studied.Students will learn about moraines and how past glaciers have shaped the landscape of the Park.The human history of this area, including early settler and Native American use of the Park’s resources, will also be discussed.
Students will learn how to identify and distinguish between fir and spruce trees and learn their importance within the subalpine life zone.Aspen trees will also be studied as habitat for birds and other animals.Birds such as gray and Steller’s jays will be studied along with grosbeaks, mountain chickadee and grouse.Mammals such as pine marten, porcupine and long-tailed weasel are important inhabitants of this life zone and will be studied as sightings occur.Ground-cover plants such as blueberry, myrtle, huckleberry and kinnikinick will be pointed out as they provide food for animals, such as bears, who pass through this area.This life zone is a common hibernation area for many Park species; so fall and winter animal behavior will also be incorporated into this program.
Students will learn about the transition zone between this and the subalpine including facts concerning limber pine and their relationship with the Clark’s nutcracker. Krumholtz trees will also be discussed as important indicators of weather and climate change.Convective weather systems, how to read cloud formations, and lightning safety will be discussed at the highest elevations.Alpine tundra plant communities will be discussed for their unique survival properties in an extreme living environment.Specially adapted animals such as ptarmigan, marmots and pikas will also be looked at to discover how they thrive in these areas using their physical adaptations.Migration patterns of species such as bighorn sheep and elk will be discussed along with the occasional sightings of their predators such as coyotes and mountain lions who follow them here.Students will learn the properties of glaciation and view live glaciers when applicable.Geology features such as cirques, Continental Divide, and crevasses will be discussed and shown to be essential to the creation of the Rocky Mountains.
Course Level: III
The level of difficulty can be chosen by your group.We recommend:Moderate hikes of less than five miles per day with elevation gain of less than 1,000 feet.Elevation for this course will be approximately 10,000 feet.But you can choose an easy-level adventure or a more difficult one.Significant time will be spent outdoors, possibly in winter conditions.Dress in layers and be prepared for winter weather conditions that may vary greatly and change abruptly.Please discuss your clothing needs with your instructor.
Brief Instructor Biography (additional information available at www.rmna.org):
Kaiyote has been guiding hikes and adventures in RockyMountainNational Park since 1998.She owns Kaiyote Tours, which specializes in nature hikes, mountain treks and backpacking in RMNP as well as international birding adventures.Kaiyote has a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.She is a self-taught naturalist, an award-winning photographer and artist.Kaiyote is a certified Wilderness First Responder and a NOLS Leave No Trace Backcountry Master Educator.She has lived in EstesPark since 1993.Her passions are birding, botany and adventure travel.
Expectations:Professional conduct will be expected from participants at all times.Individual ideas will be respected.Cellular phones rarely work in the backcountry.You are free to bring your cell phone along for possible emergency use, but not for personal use.All other electronic devices are not to be used during this seminar.
Car-pooling:Rocky Mountain Field Seminars courses utilize car-pooling to limit vehicles traveling into the Park.Car-pooling makes it easier to keep the group together, reduces transit time, and allows courses greater access because fewer parking spaces are required at destinations.
Tentative Course Schedule:
Day one - Wednesday :Meet at the RMNAFieldSeminarCenter for orientation about backpacking gear and the essential needs for backcountry travel.During the day, participants will hike to the backcountry site and set up camp using Leave No Trace principles.During the hike in, the flora, fauna, climate, geology and history of RockyMountainNational Park will be discussed.
Day two - Thursday: A day hike for exploring and leaning about the nature of RockyMountainNational Park and practicing Leave No Trace principles.Participants will learn how to safely and properly prepare and store food in the backcountry.Participants will learn how to maintain proper hygiene in the backcountry.
Day three - Friday:Break camp in the morning and return to the RMNAFieldSeminarCenter in the afternoon.
What to Bring:The seminar fee includes all backpacking gear and food.
You will need to bring: (Please discuss the details of these items with your instructor.)
?Waterproof rain jacket/pants ?Hats for both sun and warmth?Mittens or gloves
?Sunglasses?Durable 1-liter water bottle?Sunscreen and lip balm
?Compass and topo map?Whistle?Pocketknife
?Extra socks and underwear?Warm sleeping clothes/base layer ?Small first-aid kit
?Personal medications, Epi-pen (if you have allergies of concern) and minimal toiletries
Recommended to bring:
?Camera?Lightweight binoculars?Writing book
Note:Even in the summer months, nighttime temperature can go below freezing at high elevation. Rocky Mountain Field Seminars recommends that participants dress in layers and wear comfortable, sturdy hiking boots. Hiking boots need to be high-tops that cover your ankles and that are well broken- in. Participants should be prepared for sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions.
Teacher Recertification Credit:
Most courses are eligible for teacher recertification credit through the Centennial Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES).The fee is $25.00 per seminar (.5 unit) or $25.00 per series of threaded seminars (1.0 - 3.0 units). A list of threaded seminars can be found online at www.rmna.org.Participants must enroll in all seminars of a threaded series in order to qualify for the $25.00 multi-unit fee. Please be prepared to pay for this credit with a check, made payable to BOCES, on the first day of a seminar or on the final day of a threaded series of seminars.
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