The Rocky Mountain Conservancy-Field Institute offers a wide range of scheduled learning adventures for all ages.  From hiking to bus tours, our premier educational experiences have something to offer for everyone. Can’t take a class or tour on a day that we have scheduled? The Rocky Mountain Conservancy-Field Institute offers a variety of classes and tours at your convenience, based on days you have available to explore. Flexible scheduling is available for most classes and tours, so check out the list of options below for ideas about customizing your educational experience. Call us at 970-586-3262 to book your adventure!

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April 2019

Beginning Watercolor for the Nature Enthusiast

Apr 27, 2019
$72 – $80

Start your painting journey through learning the fundamentals of the watercolor medium and an exciting method of applying paint in a fresh and vibrant way. The day will be spent learning varied techniques, setting up a palette of colors, and studying the importance of shapes and values. This information will be the jump-start you need to become a watercolor artist in nature, both indoors and out. Meets at the Field Institute Instructor: Karen Ramsey

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May 2019

North with the Spring: Bird Migration

May 3, 2019
$72 – $80

April in the high country is when we welcome back wildlife, such as birds, that have wintered in warmer climates. Ducks, shorebirds, warblers, swallows, flycatchers, sparrows, sapsuckers, bluebirds and many others return for the nesting season or stop to refuel before heading farther north. Explore several birding locations in and around Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park to identify as many species as possible by sight and sound while learning about each bird’s unique natural history. (CSM credit available)…

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There’s More to This Place than Meets the Eye: 100 Years of Environmental Change in RMNP

May 3, 2019
$72 – $80

This course provides an overview of the history of environmental change in the park with an emphasis on human-caused change. Discuss the history of mining, water engineering, recreational development and tourism, atmospheric inputs of dust and nitrates, wildlife management, and climate change in the context of protecting and restoring natural environments within the park. Understand how past human activities influence contemporary ecosystems and options for management of natural resources within the park. (CSM credit available) Meets at the Field Institute…

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Fire in Ecosystems: Friend or Foe

May 4, 2019
$72.00 – $80.00

Coming off of one of the worst fires seasons in the known history of the West, both managers and citizens are grappling with the complexity of how climate change may alter fire disturbance regimes. Is fire still a natural disturbance in these mountain forests? What relationship does fire have with other disturbances such as drought and bark beetle outbreaks? Explore the role of fire in mountain forest ecosystems, typical fire regimes, synergistic disturbances, and predicted changes with climate warming during…

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Hawks in Flight: Birds of Prey

May 11, 2019
$36.00 – $40.00

The diversity of birds of prey in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park during spring is impressive. In a few hours of field time, it’s possible to locate turkey vulture, osprey, golden eagle, bald eagle, Cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, northern goshawk, red-tailed hawk, prairie falcon, peregrine falcon and more. Our focus will be on this group of diurnal hunters, but we’ll not ignore the opportunity to observe other spring migrants and year-round resident species as well. Join the discussion…

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NEW! The Surprising World of Lichens

May 11, 2019
$72 – $80

You cannot hike, bike, climb, or ski in Colorado without encountering lichens, but few people take the time to notice or examine these ubiquitous organisms. Come take your blinders off and come be blown away by the biology and beauty of these fascinating communities of organisms that live where other life forms cannot. In this class you’ll learn about the inhabitants, anatomy, growth forms, and reproductive structures of lichens. You should invest in a 10X hand lens or loupe to…

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NEW! Endangered Species of the Rockies: Evading Extinction

May 17, 2019
$72 – $80

Concerned about threatened or endangered species, and their preservation as part of our natural world? How do species come to be at the brink of extinction, and how can they be recovered? The answers lie in the landmark Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), the emerging science of conservation biology, and the resulting actions taken by scientists and citizens. Using examples of species occurring in Rocky Mountain National Park, this class will delve into these topics and their application in…

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NEW! Owls of Rocky Mountain National Park

May 17, 2019
$72 – $80

Participants will explore Rocky Mountain National Park in search of 3-4 species of owls during the spring courtship and nesting season. Students will be listening for the vocalizations of northern pygmy, northern saw-whet, flammulated and great horned owls. The group will head into the field well before dark as pygmy owls are diurnal which provides a great opportunity to get great looks at this species. After dark participants will listen for the other species and hopefully locate a nesting pair…

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NEW! Estes Valley: History & Historic Sites

May 18, 2019
$72 – $80

This course will provide an overview of the region’s past by mixing brief lecture-and-discussion format with visits to historical sites of significance.  Site visits will range from an ancient Indian battlefield to early homesteads, from stately resorts to deserted cabins.  The course will examine numerous historical sites in the Estes Valley to discover the outlines of settlement and change.  This class is intended to be more than just an historical tour.  Participants are urged to sample the bibliography listed below…

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Orienteering for Beginners: Map & Compass Basics in RMNP

May 18, 2019
$36 – $40

This course is intended for the recreational hiker who has little or no experience reading a topographic map or working with a compass. Learn about map sources, map vintage, next generation U.S. topo maps by U.S.G.S. and map symbology. Learn to read contour lines, recognize landforms, calculate percent and angle of slope and become familiar with compass components, compass bearings and correcting for magnetic declination. More topics include overland navigation via map and compass and triangulation. The class will combine…

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Birds at Twilight

May 23, 2019
$36 – $40

Twilight marks the transition time when nocturnal birds become active. While many daytime species still can be located, Wilson’s snipes, owls, common nighthawks and common poorwills start their nightshift hunting at dusk. Explore the haunts of these elusive birds, and discuss their natural history and ecology as we visit, search and listen. Meets at the Field Institute Instructor: Jeff Maugans

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NEW! Beginning Digital Photography: Learning the Basics

May 30, 2019
$144.00 – $160.00

In this highly interactive and fun 2-day course, you will learn the basics and beyond. You will learn about those dials and buttons on your camera; those mysterious menu items; f/stops, shutter speeds, exposure and how they all work together; ISO and White Balance; different types of lenses; and composition. You will also learn about the #1 solution to the #1 problem in photography; and much more!! You will spend one day in class and the second day out in…

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