This Edition's Featured Programs:
Pacuare Reserve: The Reserve is buzzing with new arrivals! Turtles, researchers, and students alike have traveled thousands of miles to the Reserve for leatherback turtle nesting season.
Yellowstone: Our Yellowstone program enjoyed a week in the spotlight, thanks to local news station Wake Up Montana.
Baja, Mexico: Get a glimpse into our Baja Whale program from a student's perspective.
Preparations in Pacuare Reserve
The new year started with a bang in Pacuare Reserve! Preparations were in full swing to welcome the leatherback sea turtles that travel thousands of miles here for nesting season starting in February. So how do you prepare for almost 300 leatherbacks who can weigh more than 800 pounds, and lay a hundred eggs at a time? Step one: build the hatchery. In January more than 60 EPI students, scouts, volunteers, local families, and EPI staff members rallied together to build the 1,500 square ft. structure.
HATCHERY DEEP DIVE:
As a biodiverse hotspot of more than
2,700 species, it’s no wonder Pacuare Reserve attracts scientists and researchers from all over the world. In February, a diverse group of international Research Assistants touched down in the Reserve to dedicate four months to sea turtle conservation and research work. Ph.D. Student Ellie Weir also arrived to start her analysis on how microplastics affect leatherback nest chambers and hatching success. All guests arrived just in time to welcome the first leatherback nest of the season!
Interested in a degree or career in conservation science? Our blog is filled with tips and tricks on how to make that dream a reality.
‘Stone in the Spotlight
The program hosted its biggest group of students since it began in 2005. Wake Up Montana news reporter Noah Shmick was there to tag along with the group during the weeklong activities, which included bison research, snow science, and wolf observations. Read on to see how the week went.
Same Backyard, New Discoveries ♥
For many visiting Yellowstone students, the opportunity to see wolves, bison, and other life on the Yellowstone range is a rare treat. But for this group of students, it’s the norm. They came from Gardiner High School, just a 15-minute walk from the Yellowstone Park entrance.
EPI Yellowstone Program Manager Alexei Desmarais explained to Wake Up Montana, "They have this perspective that comes from lived experience, but also a lot of them don’t have the opportunity to get out in the park or they don’t want to because they live there, that’s where their parents work, it’s where the tourists go.”
As the weeklong news feature unfolds, viewers get to witness the students start to see their home from a new perspective. The program reacquaints students with the ecosystems at work around them.
"I normally don't get opportunities like that, to go in the park and have people that work there teach us. It was really cool."- Maggie, Yellowstone Winter Ecology Participant
In addition to connecting them to the unique landscape they call home, the program presents possible career paths and passions for conservation work. And as you see in a clip, it works. An aspiring vet in the group already has big ideas.
Check out the full news feature here.
Ramping up for the summer season
The Yellowstone team is now busy preparing for summer! The team is eager and excited to welcome visiting and local students. They’re looking for qualified candidates to fill open Assistant Instructor positions. You can visit our job board for more details.
Interested in learning more about what our Yellowstone programs have to offer? Check out our website. You can also donate to our Yellowstone conservation efforts that help protect the wildlife of the amazing park.
Making Memories in Mexico
"These are experiences and emotional connections that no textbook or research paper can teach someone."
To us, there's nothing better than hearing from students about how much an EPI course impacted them. Check out this video with footage from Hamline University student Lindsey Bernardy to get a participant's perspective of our Baja Whale Ecology Course.
A group of Box Elder High School students from Montana is now heading to Baja to make memories of their own! The group will take part in the Marine Science program where they'll assist local biologists and conduct hands-on reef and wildlife research. Check out this article to see what the students and teachers are most excited about.