Rocky Mountain Field Seminars
Learn ♦ Explore ♦ Adventure
Night Creatures and Evening Adaptations
August 1, 2013
Course Level: II Course #: S3077
Instructor: Kevin J. Cook
LOCATION: Rocky Mountain Nature Association Field Seminar & Conference Center
1895 Fall River Road, Estes Park, Colorado
Time: 4:30PM - 11:30PM
Course Description: Wildlife so familiar by day can seem so different when experienced by night, and wildlife unknown in day’s lightness can suddenly become familiar in night’s darkness. Enrich your wildlife experiences by shifting your time afield. Listen to voles shuffling through leaf litter, to insects that seem extraordinarily loud in twilight’s golden hush; smell wildflowers that time their fragrance to attract nocturnal pollinators. The naturalist who would experience the full richness of wildlife must learn to perceive the world by scent and by sound as well as by sight. “Night Creatures” will introduce the skills needed to engage life after dark.
Course Level: II
Short-distance walks throughout the day on primarily level terrain
Brief Instructor Biography (additional information available at www.rmna.org): Since 1974, Kevin has explored Colorado to experience its wildlife firsthand. Realizing that no species lives alone, he studies all plant and animal groups with a special enthusiasm devoted to the myriad connections among all life. To understand these connections, he studies fungi and protists as well, taking his passion from the textbooks and journals into the field to find the creatures for real. He writes natural history columns for newspapers and magazines, edits technical articles for scientific publications, leads wildlife observation tours, and teaches various bird and wildflower classes. He contributed one of the essays to Houghton Mifflin’s 2007 book, Good Birders Don’t Wear White: 50 Tips from America’s Top Birders.
Expectations: Professional conduct will be expected from participants at all times. Individual ideas will be respected. 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.
Tentative Course Schedule:
4:30 PM Welcome and introduction to RMNA.
Meet participants. Seminar description, expected outcomes, and day’s procedures.
5:00 PM Introduction to segregating senses of hearing and smelling from vision; explanation of primary and ancillary roles that hearing and smelling play in finding and understanding wildlife.
6:00 PM Dinner break.
6:40 PM Set up light apparatus at Field Seminar Center for canvassing and inventorying nocturnal insects.
7:15 PM Drive into RMNP to experience and compare sights, sounds, and scents of four community types: (1) coniferous forest; (2) aspen grove; (3) willow carr; (4) grass-and-wildflower meadow.
10:30 PM Return to Field Seminars Center and check light apparatus.
11:00 PM Summarize and review.
11:30 PM Seminar concludes.
SCHEDULE NOTE: Weather conditions will dictate the actual timing of seminar activities. If safety indicates going afield in the morning, the schedule will be modified accordingly. Light, misty rains are just a part of being a naturalist in the field; however, thunder and lightning will keep us indoors, where specimen material will be available.
§ Binocular: allows covering more territory faster, helps scrutinize areas not otherwise accessible, and permits viewing herp species without having to catch them. (Bring one if you have it, but do not buy one for this seminar.)
§ Clipboard or sturdy three-ring notebook for organizing note paper and worksheets
§ Paper and pen or pencil for taking notes
§ Footwear suitable for wearing in wet or muddy places (Opportunity to change shoes or boots between classroom time and field time will be available.)
Remember to Bring the 10 Essentials:
Rocky Mountain National Park recommends that hikers always carry the 10 essentials in their daypacks.
Raingear Map and compass Flashlight or headlamp
Sunglasses and sunscreen Candles Matches or other fire starter
Pocketknife First-aid kit Extra layers of clothing
Snacks and 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.