West Side Wonders:Green Mountain Trail through the Eyes of an Ecologist
July 27, 2013
Course Level: IIICourse #: S3076
Instructor:Dr.John C. Emerick
Location:Kawuneeche Visitor Center (KVC) courtyard, west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, Hwy. 34, near Grand Lake, Colorado
This seminar will give you the opportunity to take a leisurely hike with a skilled naturalist on one of the most popular trails on the Park’s west side, the Green Mountain Trail. At various stops along the way he will describe aspects of the ecology, and point out numerous clues that tell us something of the history of the landscape, and how the area that you see as you climb the trail has changed over time. During the hike, you will learn about moist riparian habitats, and cool spruce-fir forests. You will visit lodgepole pine forests, mountain meadows, and ancient wetlands. If you have not been on the Green Mountain Trail before, this seminar provides a great introduction to the ecology of the Park’s west side. If you are an “old hat” at hiking the trail, this seminar is sure to change the way you view the trailside landscape.
1. Become familiar with major ecosystem types typical of RockyMountainNational Park, including dominant plant species and growth forms.
2. Learn the role of climate, disturbance, and the process of ecological succession in forming each type of ecosystem.
3. Gain an understanding of the interactions between characteristic wildlife species and plant communities in each ecosystem type.
Moderate hikes of less than five miles per day with elevation gain of less than 1,000 feet.
Brief Instructor Biography (additional information available at www.rmna.org):
John Emerick, Ph.D., was an ecologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 1974-1979.From 1979-2001, he served as a faculty member for the Department of Environmental Sciences at the Colorado School of Mines.He co-authored From Grassland to Glacier and authored the Rocky Mountain National Park Natural History Handbook. Dr. Emerick presently resides in Redstone, Colorado, where he works as a consulting ecologist.
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.
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.
Tentative Course Schedule:
Meet at KawuneecheVisitorCenter. We will have a short introductory session prior to carpooling to the Green Mountain Trail for our hike.
Start hiking up the Green Mountain Trail to Big Meadows. We will have lunch at big meadows, and plan our return hike to arrive back at the visitor center by
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.
What to Bring:
·snacks, sack lunch, WATER
·favorite bird or plant field guide
Remember to Bring the 10 Essentials:
RockyMountainNational Park recommends that hikers always carry the 10 essentials in their daypacks.
RaingearMap and compassFlashlight or headlamp
Sunglasses and sunscreenCandlesMatches or other fire starter
Sack lunch, snacks, water Extra layers of clothing
J. C. Emerick, Rocky Mountain National Park Natural History Handbook (if available)
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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