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Autumn in Glacier: September 17, 2020

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Autumn in Glacier

Thursday September 17, 2020

Autumn is the season of change. Learn how animals and plants react to waning daylight hours and cooling temperatures. On our hike through meadows, aspen glens and into the subalpine zone, we’ll see some of the brilliant reds, oranges & golden hues of fall foliage and observe evidence of animals preparing for winter. Along the way, we’ll smell the scents of autumn; listen for the sounds of bugling bull elk; and savor the flavor of frost-kissed huckleberries in the high country.

Meeting Place: Glacier Park Field Camp Meeting Hall (see campus map).

Meeting Time: Thursday, September 17 at 8:30 AM

Tentative itinerary (subject to change): We’ll begin the day with brief introductions and class overview at Field Camp. Then we’ll travel by Institute bus to the Firebrand/Lubec Trailhead. During the drive, you’ll learn about the biology of autumn leaves and become more aware of the variation of colors they display. As we hike from foothills into the mountains, we’ll discuss topics that range from vertical migration to elk mating season, hibernators to hyper-eaters, and food caching critters to cocoon spinners. After lunch (in the field) we’ll resume our hike into the high country where trees grow shorter, mountain views grow bigger and winter comes earlier. We’ll return to Field Camp by 5:00 PM.

Food: Students are responsible for their own meals. Please bring a sack lunch and ample snacks for trail days. Use of the kitchen is restricted to Glacier Institute Staff only.  No food or cooking is allowed in the cabins.

Equipment (all seasons): Please see basic gear list. Come prepared for all types of weather (especially cold winds). Binoculars are recommended, but optional.

Weather: This course will not be canceled due to weather. Please check the weather forecast in advance and refer to the gear list for proper attire.

Physical Requirements: Moderate-to-strenuous. We will not hike to Firebrand Pass, but the total hiking distance may cover up to seven miles round trip with up to 1,000 feet elevation gain.

Transportation during course: We will be traveling in a Glacier Institute vehicle.

Accommodations: Lodging can be purchased for $35/person/night at the Glacier Institute Field Camp. Facilities include bunkhouses, a community bathhouse, a library and a kitchen. Please call the registrar at 406-755-1211 to book lodging.

Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2020 Academic Credit’ Link on our website to learn about OPI credit and FVCC and UM credit for our courses. There is a $20 administrative fee to receive OPI renewal units with FVCC.

Recommended Reading:

To enhance your understanding of the park and its plant communities, we recommend the following books:

GLACIER: A Natural History Guide (2nd Edition) by David Rockwell (2007).

Winter World by Bernd Heinrich