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Reading the Forest Landscape: September 12, 2018


 Reading the Forest Landscape

September 12, 2018

Ellen Horowitz

Everyone knows that Glacier is a mountain park, but most people don’t realize that two-thirds of the park is forested. Gain a new appreciation and understanding of this vast and often “overlooked” landscape. Learn to read the forests through recognition of its trees. Listen to the stories they reveal about the environment in which they grow. From its fungal networks hidden underground to the tops of the trees, Glacier’s forests share their secrets once you know where to look and what to look for.    

At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Use a dichotomous key to identify trees
  • Identify at least 7 conifers native to the west side of Glacier
  • Explain the role of fire and forest succession on wildlife
  • Recognize wildlife signs such as critter condos, sapsucker cafes & bear trees

Instructor: Ellen Horowitz is an award-winning naturalist and writer. For more than 35 years she has taught field classes, guided tours and written about the flora and fauna of the northern Rocky Mountains.

Meeting Time: Wednesday, September 12 at 9:00 AM

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

Food: Please bring a sack lunch, trail snacks, and plenty of water.

Equipment: Please see basic gear list. The weather at Logan Pass in August or September can be really cold and snowy, or hot, windy and dry. Please check the local NOAA weather forecast to better prepare you for the conditions.

Physical Requirements: Moderate. Hiking distance covers approx. 5 miles or less.

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

Accommodations: Lodging can be purchased for $32/person/night at the Glacier Institute Field Camp on a bluff overlooking the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.  Facilities include bunkhouses, a community bathhouse, a classroom, a library and a kitchen.  Please call the registrar at 406-755-1211 to book lodging.

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.

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

Glacier National Park:  A Natural History Guide (2nd Edition)  by David Rockwell (2007).

Trees and Flowering Shrubs of Glacier National Park by Shannon Kimball and Peter Lesica (2013).

Tentative Itinerary:

Following a slide presentation, participants will head into the woods and learn to identify conifers. Through a series of short walks in the McDonald Valley, participants will become more aware of their surroundings and learn to appreciate the diversity and complexity found in forest landscapes. 

Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2017 Academic Credit’ Link on our website to learn about OPI credit and FVCC and UM credit for our courses. 

*All classes and participants are asked to practice “Leave No Trace” ethics.*