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Exploring the Ecosystems and Wildlife of Rocky Mountain National Park

Sep 20, 2023

Rocky Mountain National Park is host to a diverse range of unique ecosystems, from sunny montane meadows to windswept tundra expanses. Get to know each special place up close with us!

When you think about Rocky, do you dream of marmots on the wide open tundra? Or the quiet of steep conifer forests? Or trout-filled streams winding through lush meadows? Each of these scenes is a special part of Rocky Mountain National Park, and we’re here to help you learn more about what makes each of Rocky’s ecosystems unique. We’ll spend the day traveling through the park, stopping to explore and learn about the plants, animals, geology, and other factors that characterize Rocky’s various life zones.

We will visit several different life zones during this day-long field experience. In each zone, we’ll take time to learn about key features such as landscape/topography, tree species, and geological features. As we explore each ecosystem, participants will learn more about wildlife in each life zone and hone their observation and identification skills for both flora and fauna. Participants will learn to identify features of the main ecosystems/life zones of Rocky Mountain National Park: the montane, subalpine, alpine tundra, and riparian ecosystems. In addition, they will learn about the various animals living in each one of those ecosystems.

Who: Participants ages 16 and up. This is a Level II course. Expect short-distance walks throughout the day primarily on level terrain.

When: Wednesday, September 20, 2023, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Where: Meet at the Estes Park Visitor Center, 500 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park, and travel together to various locations on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. We will begin in the lower meadows and work our way up to the tundra.

What to bring:

  • 10 Essentials for Field Courses,
  • A sack lunch,
  • Camera,
  • Binoculars,
  • Hand lens,
  • Favorite guide to Rocky Mountain National Park,
  • Map of the park to write/draw on (optional).

Conservancy members get 15% off individual registration when you use the discount code in your membership email! Enter your code and select “Member Registration” tickets at checkout. Limit 2 per membership.

Not a member of the Conservancy? Learn more and join here: Conservancy Membership

For questions about membership, please contact memberprocessing@rmconservancy.org or call 970-586-0108.

For questions about the course, please contact education@RMConservancy.org or call 970-586-3262.

About your instructor: Betty Trummel has been a naturalist and outdoor educator for over 30 years. She fell in love with Rocky Mountain National Park at a family nature conference in 1983 and has been exploring Rocky ever since, hiking and backpacking in all areas of the park. Betty loves spending hours observing wildlife in its natural habitat, as well as sharing this special place with learners of all ages by “rambling:” taking time to explore and look at things up close, really helping people get to know every corner of Rocky Mountain National Park.