Students engage in hands-on research and conservation service activities that increase their understanding of management and ecological issues challenging the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
The largest intact ecosystem in the contiguous United States awes visitors and residents alike.
There is no other place where herds of wild bison roam free alongside elk, wolf packs, pronghorn antelope, and grizzly bears under the sweep of majestic mountains and an inspiring big sky. This stunning ecosystem is intact only because of the determination of citizens and scientists who have reintroduced, protected, and managed critical species and habitat. Citizen engagement and conservation efforts, led by the next generation will allow Yellowstone to remain a stronghold for species that once roamed far and wide.
Alongside researchers from Yellowstone National Park, U.S. Forest Service, B Bar Ranch, and National Parks Conservation Association, youth participate in science that informs management decisions, and conservation service work to improve wildlife habitat. Teens from nearby states and across the U.S. are empowered by the opportunity to gather data on bison, mountain lion, moose, and bear. Participants explore the complexities of land management and the process of collaborative decision making. They arrive as inquisitive youth and leave as empowered, inspired conservation leaders.
"I now have different perspectives on some of the matters that we talked about, especially the wolves. There were lots of good debates and disagreements. I liked the different perspectives, and I think it changed some of my perspectives on the matter."
On a 2016 EPI Yellowstone winter ecology course in Yellowstone National Park, 13-year-old Bailey from Gardiner, Montana, realized her personal potential for leadership, as well as her power as an individual to make an impact on the world around her. After spending five days snowshoeing, researching cougar and moose, and working alongside wildlife biologists, Bailey proved to herself “that if I set my mind to something, I can be a positive influence.” A lifelong resident of Gardiner, just minutes away from Yellowstone, Bailey furthermore gained a newfound appreciation for her surroundings and their need for conservation.
On visit to Yellowstone, Montana teens find wildlife is ‘pretty cool’
Story and Photos By BRETT FRENCH, originally published in The Billings Gazette, June 22, 2017
On visit to Yellowstone, Montana teens find wildlife is 'pretty cool'
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — On a sagebrush-covered hillside where bitterroot flowers were in full pink blush, Montana teenagers lounging and lunching lazily under a hot noon sun witnessed something totally wild.
“How many of you woke up this morning and thought you would see a pronghorn chase a badger?” asked Forrest Shafer, a 23-year-old Ecology Project International instructor.
Even veteran park wildlife biologist Rick Wallen had to admit the spectacle was &ldquo... Learn More