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May 2020

North with the Spring: Bird Migration

May 1, 2020
$80

May 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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Hawks in Flight: Birds of Prey

May 2, 2020
$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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Tracking Wildlife in Rocky: Signs of Creatures Big & Small

May 8, 2020
$80

A story exists all around us as we walk through the woods. Animals use the same area we do, but often go unnoticed since much of their activity occurs off trails, at night, or early or late in the day.  Do you know how to read the signs they leave behind?  If not, this class is for you.  Walking through the woods, along streams and in meadows we will look for animals and their signs, visit den sites used by…

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Fire in Ecosystems: Friend or Foe

May 9, 2020
$80.00 Sold out

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 this full-day class. Discuss the history of fire policy ranging from the “10 A.M. policy” to…

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Endangered Species of the Rockies: Evading Extinction

May 15, 2020
$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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Birds at Twilight

May 21, 2020
$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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Owls of Rocky Mountain National Park

May 22, 2020
$80 Sold out

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

May 22, 2020
$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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The Surprising World of Lichens

May 30, 2020
$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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Birding RMNP by Ear

May 31, 2020
$80.00 Sold out

Birds are far more often heard than seen – but learning to identify them by ear can be a challenge. This course will introduce the most common bird sounds of Rocky Mountain National Park. We will begin with a field trip in the morning to several different habitats, to hear and practice identifying as many birds as possible. In the afternoon, we will reconvene indoors for a class session to reinforce and extend the learning from the morning. Both indoors…

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June 2020

NEW! Hunters of the Wind: Eagles, Hawks, & Falcons

Jun 5, 2020
$80

Eagles, hawks & falcons are icons of power and speed that capture the human imagination. Rocky Mountain National Park has all three of these aerial athletes. With an illustrated lecture/discussion in the morning followed by an afternoon field trip, participants will learn how these beautiful birds are alike and different with respect to their diet and nesting requirements, behavior, evolution, and population status. Nesting areas will be viewed from a safe distance and live birds will be presented as part…

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Early Wildflowers of RMNP

Jun 6, 2020
$80.00

Some of the park’s early blooms are the loveliest, from tiny alpine forget-me-nots to colorful Calypso orchids. Search out these beauties with former Rocky Mountain National Park interpretive naturalist Leanne Benton as we explore from high alpine ridges to lower montane meadows depending on what is blooming. Participants will get up-close with the mountain flora to discover their adaptations for survival and interesting stories behind their beautiful faces.  Identification techniques will be honed, and participants will gain confidence using a…

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