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Orchids - Glacier's Precious Beauties

Orchids: Glacier’s Precious Beauties

Steve Wirt, B.S.

This course will provide an exciting introduction to the ecology and identification of some of the most secretive and beautiful of Glacier National Park’s flora. In addition to learning to recognize and identify orchids in the field, we will discuss the importance of maintaining specific habitat requirements for each of the species we encounter. We will hopefully see ten to fifteen different orchid species. 

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

Itinerary: After a brief introduction and slides, we will travel to several locations along the Camas Road and upper McDonald Creek.  We will try to visit a diversity of habitats in order to see several different orchid species.  Our exact destinations will depend on weather conditions and on which plants are blooming in early June.  The course will end by about 5 PM and will not be cancelled due to weather.

Food:  Students are responsible for their own meals.  Please bring a sack lunch and ample snacks.

Required Equipment (all seasons): Warm Layers

Physical Requirements: Easy hikes.  We’ll be taking several short hikes searching for orchids, but it will not be rigorous.  We may be off-trail, so be prepared to walk over logs, through brush, and in the woods where orchids like to grow.

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

Recommended Reading:We will provide handouts and pamphlets during the course and display several pertinent books for further reference.  The following books will provide good background reading:

Plants of Waterton-Glacier National Parks. Richard J. Shaw and Danny On.

Rocky Mountain Wild Flowers. Porsild, National Museums of Canada.