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Immerse yourself in Yellowstone this summer

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Field seminar registration opens Jan. 30

By Christine Gianas Weinheimer Yellowstone Forever

While ski season is still in full swing, it won’t be long until signs of spring appear in the Greater Yellowstone area. Bears will emerge from their dens, ice will start to melt from lakes and streams, and reddish-brown bison calves will join their herds.

Spring is also the time when new Yellowstone Forever Institute programs kick off, starting a season packed with 70 exciting field seminars from April to October.

A Yellowstone Forever Institute Field Seminar is a unique way to experience Yellowstone like never before. Led by experts in their field, these in-depth learning experiences allow participants to explore a specific topic of interest or try a new skill. Registration for spring and summer field seminars opens this month and popular programs will fill up fast.

“Because the summer season is more popular for park visitors, Yellowstone can at times feel a little crowded. However, by participating in one of our field seminars you can get away from the crowds and experience this remarkable landscape in a far more intimate and personable way,” says Robert Petty, senior director of education for Yellowstone Forever.

Wildlife enthusiasts can choose from numerous courses led by naturalists and wildlife biologists that focus on animal tracking, behavior or research. Several field seminars let you explore the world of a specific species such as “Wolves: Reality and Myth,” or courses on cougars, bison, grizzlies, bats or owls.

Those who would like to nurture their artistic side can register for “Painting Moran’s Yellowstone” or field seminars in nature writing, journaling or photography with Yellowstone as their muse. Other courses delve into the human stories of the Yellowstone area by exploring park history, conservation efforts and Crow or Lakota culture.

New programs including “Backpacking Basics” and “Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival” help participants build skills and confidence for their backcountry pursuits. Plus five fly-fishing courses are designed for everyone from beginners to advanced anglers.

Also new this year, the Institute is connecting several summer programs to the Citizen Science Initiative, a collaboration between Yellowstone Forever and Yellowstone National Park. Participants will have the chance to help scientists gather information for park research studies. These hands-on programs include red-tailed hawk monitoring and collecting data on pikas or ungulates, among others.

Those seeking to start a new career or continue their professional education may take a course to become certified as a Naturalist Guide or Interpretive Guide. In addition, the certification course in Wilderness First Aid is ideal for anyone who spends a lot of time working or playing in the backcountry.

For most summer field seminars, participants can reserve lodging with Yellowstone Forever at either the Overlook Field Campus in Gardiner or the Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley.

Registration for 2019 summer field seminars opens Jan. 30 at 8 a.m. for Yellowstone Forever supporters, and Feb. 6 at 8 a.m. for the general public. Those who aren’t yet supporters can join when registering for a program online.

While field seminar registration opens on these specific dates, registration is open year-round for other types of Yellowstone Forever Institute programs such as Lodging and Learning, Private Tours, Youth and College, or Teacher programs.

Yellowstone Forever is the official nonprofit partner of Yellowstone National Park. Learn more or register for a program at yellowstone.org/experience.

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