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Explore Yellowstone this winter



Registration for field seminars opens Aug. 22

By Christine Gianas Weinheimer Yellowstone Forever

Floating, hiking, fishing . . . while we’re still enjoying everything summer has to offer in the Greater Yellowstone area, August is the ideal time to start planning for winter fun in Yellowstone National Park.
A Yellowstone Forever Institute Field Seminar is a unique way to experience Yellowstone in the wintertime. These in-depth learning experiences are led by experts in their field and allow participants to explore a specific topic of interest or try a new skill. Registration for winter 2018-2019 field seminars opens this month, and popular programs will fill up fast.

Yellowstone Forever, the official nonprofit partner of Yellowstone National Park, hosts these educational programs to help visitors enjoy, understand, and appreciate the wildlife, geology, and cultural history of the park. During the quietly beautiful winter season, there are many different ways to engage with Yellowstone, with courses that focus on activities ranging from snowshoeing and winter landscape photography, to wolf-watching and reading wildlife tracks in the snow.

“In many ways, winter is the defining season for Yellowstone,” said Robert Petty, senior director of education for Yellowstone Forever. “The plants and animals … in Yellowstone [are here] in large measure because of the long, cold winters. It is hard to fully appreciate the harsh and beautiful majesty of this landscape without spending time here during the winter season. Participating in one of our winter field seminars is an excellent way to experience this spectacular season.”

Courses led by naturalists and wildlife biologists highlight cougars, wolves, ungulates, birds, or wildlife behavior. Others delve into the human stories of the Greater Yellowstone Region by exploring park history, conservation efforts, and Lakota traditions. Participants can even choose to spend a holiday at Lamar Buffalo Ranch with special programs to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year.

Four different photography-themed field seminars provide expert guidance for photographers of all levels who would like to capture Yellowstone’s magnificent winter landscapes and wildlife, and hone their skills both in the field and at their computer.

A brand-new field seminar for the 2018-2019 winter season—Yellowstone by Ski or Snowshoe—is designed for any and all skill levels. The program will take participants into the heart of wolf, bison, and elk country to gain a deeper understanding of the park’s wildlife and geology.

The month of March brings Lamar Valley Wolf Week, an annual favorite that, due to popular demand, is now offered in three sessions. Lamar Valley Wolf Week lets participants immerse themselves in the wolf’s winter world with naturalist-led snowshoe excursions, evening talks by wolf experts, and plenty of wolf-watching in the field.

Those seeking to start a new career or continue their professional education may take a course to become certified as a Wilderness First Responder, 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 winter field seminars, participants can reserve lodging with Yellowstone Forever at either the Overlook Field Campus in Gardiner, Montana, or the Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley.
Registration for 2018-2019 winter field seminars is currently open for Yellowstone Forever supporters, and will open to the public at 8 a.m. on Aug. 22.

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