Yellowstone Wildlife Ecology Summer Research Program

Experience the power of conservation where it all began — in Yellowstone, the world’s first national park. On our Wildlife Ecology Program, you’ll walk among bison and elk; you’ll track Yellowstone wildlife, from grizzlies to pikas, across ancient volcanic plateaus. Here in the wild, howl at the moon and you may hear a wolf howl back. Our summer research programs for high school and college students engage you with meaningful science in a landscape so unique, it inspired the entire idea that places and animals deserve protection.
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Welcome to Montana - Arrive to Bozeman, Montana, get to know your instructor team, and head south to the remote and vast Centennial Valley on the western edge of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. An evening around the campfire under the stars of the Big Sky will give you an introduction to the important work you'll be undertaking.

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Service and Research - Spend your days with The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removing fences that inhibit wildlife migration and monitoring the local population of Mountain Bluebirds. During down time, hike to a vantage point to take in the tremendous views.

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Wolves and Geysers - Explore what Yellowstone National Park has to offer, including wolf-watching in the amazing Lamar Valley, a scavenger hunt in Norris Geyser Basin, and hiking in the park's unique scenery.

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At your Service - Begin your Yellowstone wildlife monitoring project with the US Forest Service. Depending on the season, you might walk transects and search for animal sign, build a wolverine trap for the coming winter, or become a wildlife investigator as you collect DNA evidence from a bear hair snare lure site.

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On the River - Pure adventure! You'll raft the Yellowstone River, including the rapids of Yankee Jim Canyon in the Paradise Valley. Celebrate your accomplishments with a graduation dinner while hoping for a few last views of Yellowstone wildlife along the river.

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Departure Day - Today you wrap up your course and head home. Say goodbye to your instructor team and reflect on the wildlife you've seen, the summer research program you've conducted, and the amazing landscapes you've explored during your Yellowstone Wildlife Ecology course.

Dates Available for School Groups:


We know that school schedules vary from school to school and year to year. No problem! Our Yellowstone courses can run any time between June and August – just let us know what start date would work best for you and your group!

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Dates Available for Individual Students:


Not planning to travel with a school group? No problem! The dates below have been set aside for students like you hoping to join an existing course. Click the “enroll” button to start the registration process.

Conservation Impact

Yellowstone is among the few remaining intact islands of North American wilderness; conservation work helps keep it that way. This renowned destination is home to iconic American animals and landscapes — the bald eagle, American bison, grizzly bear, geysers and rocky mountain peaks. Through our Yellowstone Ecology Program, students from Montana, across the U.S., and abroad work with local institutions like The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to build on the longstanding tradition of wildlife conservation in this remarkable place.

Academics and Education

During your time in the field, you’ll work with regional conservation institutions conducting a wide variety of studies and projects. Under the leadership of our outstanding instructors, you’ll conceive, develop, analyze and present a field-based Yellowstone wildlife ecology research project and study wildlife and terrestrial ecology, biogeography, art and field journaling. You’ll discuss the conflicts caused by bison, grizzlies and wolves leaving the park and talk about solutions. We’ll help you make on-the-ground differences through habitat restoration projects, such as pulling fence to open up migratory corridors for Yellowstone wildlife.

Cultural Exchange

A visit to Yellowstone is an opportunity to experience the history of two great movements — the opening up of the west and the subsequent tourist economy. You’ll come to understand how the migration west in the late 1800s nearly destroyed America’s wildest places, and how tourism to parks like Yellowstone protected those places and led to the reintroduction of Yellowstone wildlife like bison and wolves. You’ll also learn about the dynamics between park managers and the ranchers and residents who also value this land.