Course Description: Experience the unique courtship rituals of the Rocky Mountain Elk while learning about their ecology on this full day class designed for those interested in an in-depth look at a RockyMountain icon.This seminar will cover the origin, natural history, life cycle and behavior of the Rocky Mountain Elk, emphasizing the rut and the rutting behaviors, which can be experienced at the present time in RMNP.
Short-distance walks through the day on primarily level terrain
Brief Instructor Biography (additional information available at www.rmna.org):
Dr. Cundiff has been a professor of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology at CU Boulder for many decades.On numerous occasions he has taught summer graduate field courses in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area of Colorado, emphasizing the ecology of elk.He has organized and guided many hundreds of outdoor adventurers/photographers on week-long wilderness area excursions, viewing and studying hundreds and - in a few instances - over a thousand elk in their natural wild habitat.He has participated in elk classification studies with the Colorado Division of Wildlife.Dozens of his elk photographs have been published.His wife refers to him as an “elkaholic.”
Expectations:Professional conduct will be expected from participants at all times.Respect for individual ideas will be observed.Except during course breaks, cellular phones, pagers, and personal entertainment devices are strictly prohibited in the classroom and during field sessions.
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.In addition, it provides an opportunity for participants to discuss course material in small groups during transit.Typically, a few participants from each course volunteer the use of their vehicles for car-pooling to course locations.
Elk / Cervid Classification: Why “Wapiti” is useful.
Historical Background:From Eurasia to Colorado
Elk / Red Deer = one species, Cervus elaphus
Antler Cycle -- Photoperiod control
Growth (“in velvet”)
Shedding velvetBREAK - 10 minutes
Antler growth - Influencing factors:
Trauma / Health
Diet / Soil Nutrients
When all components are there:large antlers
Rutting Season -Bulls advertise their dominance:
Posturing of Bulls:
Dominant / Aggressive bulls most adaptiveBREAK - 10 minutes
Liabilities of Dominance:Stress
Calving Season / Summer brood herds
Food Types:Energy efficiencyBREAK - 10 minutes
Forest Fires:Advantages for elk
Mortality: Natural causes; Human related causes
Elk Signs:The evidences of elk
ConclusionBREAK - 5 minutes
Video:“Ghost of the Forest - Colorado Elk” by Bob Swerer (Sr. & Jr.)
29 minutes edited version.Filmed mostly in the FTWA of CO.
Evaluations - Sack Supper - Car Pools into RMNP to view elk and elk behavior.
Credits: North American Elk: Ecology & Management, 2002. Toweill & Thomas;Elk Country, 1991. Geist & Francis;CDOW & RMEF
What to Bring:
Sack dinner, snacks, energy bars, Water
Your favorite wildlife guide
Remember to Bring the 10 Essentials:
RockyMountainNational Park recommends that hikers always carry the 10 essentials in their daypacks.
·Map and compass
·Flashlight or headlamp
·Sunglasses and sunscreen
·Matches or other fire starter
·Extra layers of clothing
·Sack lunch, snacks, water
Note:Rocky Mountain Field Seminars recommends that participants for all courses dress in layers and wear comfortable, sturdy hiking boots/shoes.Participants should be prepared for sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions.
Teacher Recertification Credit:
Most seminars 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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