Sunday, May 22, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
This Yellowstone experience has not only allowed us to learn about plant ecology and the importance of restoration, but has also given us the opportunity to explore the unique landscape and wildlife this area offers.
Hiking through the woods of Montana we’ve encountered several feet of snow, animal remains, and even a black bear (unfortunately no photo evidence).
The picture shows the depth the snow would reach in some locations and Luke holding bear mace, a necessary deterrent when hiking
An example of the animal remains we discovered throughout the hikes (this is the skull of a pronghorn)
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Although I have enjoyed the beautiful scenery in Yellowstone National Park, I have also appreciated the interactions with various members of the National Park Service. John Klaptosky has been an instrumental part of the trip, assisting with much of the field work. He shares Dr. Hamilton’s concern with alyssum weed invasion of native vegetation and recently helped our group with the identification of alyssum boundaries using GPS markers. Mr. Klaptosky has some great stories from his time in Yellowstone, and it is worth meeting him to hear his encounter of six wolves in one afternoon!
Speaking of wolves, Rick McIntyre has met with our group during several early morning wolf excursions. As a volunteer for the Yellowstone wolf project, Ranger McIntyre has worked with the wolves for over 8 years. He taught our group about tracking wolves using howls and radio frequency collars. So far, we have met with Ranger McIntyre at about four of our wolf sightings!
Finally, Roy Renkin has been a major help during the permitting process for the project. He was recently appointed as the chief vegetation research scientist. I had the privilege of meeting him during Dr. Hamilton’s presentation to the Yellowstone Center for Resources, and he expressed a genuine interest in the progress inside and outside the treatment areas. Working with people like Mr. Renkin gives me a greater appreciation for the ecological research in Yellowstone.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
After our hike, we took soil cores through poa, alyssum, and sedge in Steven's Creek and the Remnant to analyze for biomass back in the lab.
As could be expected in Yellowstone, we have seen some amazing sights so far, both landscapes and wildlife. So far we have quite a list of wildlife sightings: bison, elk, pronghorn, big-horn sheep, moose, wolves, coyotes, osprey, a red-tailed hawk, a ground squirrel, and a possible marmot sighting yesterday.
We still lack one on our list: the elusive grizzly. Our morning "wolfing" excursions have been re-dubbed as "grizzing" excursions. This morning's group came up 0 for 1, but we won't be giving up easily. We will continue to take advantage of any tip-offs we can receive from our connections in the park in hopes of getting a grizzly sighting before we have to return home. Unfortunately, it may still be too cold for the grizzlies. Yesterday we drove deeper into Wyoming in search of a grizzly, near to Norris, and found the center of the park still covered in snow. However, we saw some beautiful scenery and very interesting geology: several geothermal features and an obsidian mountain.
As far as the restoration project is concerned, we have continued taking soil cores and have been measuring ammonia levels and taking biomass samples. We have a few days left in the field before the lab needs to be packed up and shipped back to VA, where more science will await our return.
More to come, as well as some more pictures when we have faster internet back in Lexington!
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Yesterday we created a twitter - wlu_ynp. Follow us!
Caitlyn and Louisa