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Seeing Yellowstone through expert eyes

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The Yellowstone Forever Institute's summer seminars are the perfect educational opportunity for anyone looking to explore Yellowstone National Park with expert guidance. NPS PHOTO

By Christine Gianas Weinheimer EBS CONTRIBUTOR

Have you ever visited a place you’d been to many times before, but seeing it through someone else’s eyes created a different experience? This summer, the Yellowstone Forever Institute is offering an opportunity to explore Yellowstone National Park in a whole new way: by seeing it through the eyes of an expert.

A special addition to the Institute’s summer Field Seminars, the Yellowstone Masters Series features world-renowned experts in their fields whose work has made important contributions to their professions. Masters Series participants will experience the park alongside people who have changed our way of seeing and understanding the world, from journalists and natural historians, to research scientists.

“These Masters Series courses offer a rare opportunity to learn directly from truly remarkable leaders in their respective fields, renowned for their expertise and their contributions,” said Robert Petty, senior director of education for Yellowstone Forever.

Each course will take a deep dive into a fascinating subject such as animal behavior, supporting wildlife-compatible landscapes, and multi-media storytelling for conservation in the digital age. Yellowstone will be the classroom, but the knowledge acquired will have relevance to global wildlife conservation and sustainability issues.

The following Masters Series courses are open for registration and are limited to 12 participants each. All Masters Series programs include catered meals and private lodging.

Corvids and Canines
June 12-15
Social and intelligent, ravens and wolves are individually interesting, and even more fascinating when their worlds overlap. Through lectures, discussion and field trips, participants will become immersed in the world of ravens, observing their territorial behaviors as mated pairs defend their domains, and their social behavior as they gather at rich food sources.

Course instructors John and Colleen Marzluff, researchers, authors and experts in animal behavior, will guide the group in watching ravens in the wild interacting with wolves and other animals, as well as among people.

Beyond Yellowstone
July 22-26
Wild animals find safe haven within the borders of protected areas like Yellowstone, and in the ecosystems surrounding them. However, barriers to broader movement between these landscapes can isolate distant animal populations from one another, jeopardizing diversity and overall health. The National Geographic Society’s Beyond Yellowstone program is using a science-based approach to support wildlife-compatible landscapes in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and beyond.

Led by Chris Johns, former editor-in-chief of National Geographic, participants will learn first-hand through field trips and meetings with local landowners how individuals, communities and agencies can work together to address the challenges of species recovery and migration across public and private lands.

Storytelling Goes Wild!
August 6-9
This course introduces an innovative approach to wildlife conservation and sustainable development by studying the principles of design thinking, artistic problem solving, branding, marketing and campaigning. The guide on this unique journey will be conservation creative and National Geographic Explorer Asher Jay, an international adventurer whose compelling artwork, installations, films and ad campaigns aim to incite global action on behalf of wildlife conservation.

Through morning and evening field trips to collect images and information, participants will learn novel ways to document Yellowstone’s ecosystem. Back in the classroom, the group will use an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates both science and art to produce students’ own multimedia or mixed-media outreach, and perhaps even their own campaign centered around Yellowstone.

Learn more or register at yellowstone.org/masters.

Christine Gianas Weinheimer lives in Bozeman and has been writing about Yellowstone for 17 years.

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