Originally published at the Idaho State Journal.
POCATELLO — Out of hundreds of applications and a rigorous application process, Eric Rude of Pocatello High School has been selected by the nonprofit organization Ecology Project International to participate in an eight-day Teacher Fellowship in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. EPI is a field science and conservation organization that partners scientists with local and international students and educators in ecologically critical environments in Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Galapagos, Belize, Baja Mexico, Yellowstone and Hawaii.
Since 2005, EPI has worked with nearly 2,000 students in their Yellowstone Winter and Summer Ecology programs, the majority of them local to the project site. During the fellowship, Rude and a small group of carefully selected teachers from across North America will experience the field course for themselves, as well as gain skills and resources they can bring back to the classroom.
Vicky Tong, a past EPI Fellow said, “I have so many more tools: I feel empowered to inspire my students now to make more of a difference. I learned ways in which we can take action.”
On this year’s sixth annual fellowship, Rude will participate in a modified version of EPI’s Yellowstone Winter Ecology Program. He will be immersed in the diverse ecology of the area, home to abundant wildlife and fascinating thermal features. Days spent in and around the park will include field tracking of ungulate species like bison and elk, contributing to ongoing research projects by the park’s wildlife biologists, and wolf observation. EPI instructors will also weave in lessons on how the Fellows can incorporate field studies into their classrooms.
This EPI Teacher Fellowship will occur April 7 14.
For more information on EPI’s programs or how teachers can apply for next year’s Fellowship, visit their website at www.ecologyproject.org/fellowship.