WYOMING FIELD STUDIES IN GEOLOGY AND PALEONTOLOGY
This class is one-half of a 6-week field course that, in conjunction with GEOL 1950, provides a spectacular, in-depth introduction to the practices of ecology, paleontology, and (to a lesser extent) archaeology. There is a strong emphasis on field techniques and applying what you have learned to understand how nature works. This program focuses on the rich resources of Pitt's Spring Creek Preserve outside Laramie, WY, which includes pristine beds of dinosaur fossils, Native American artifacts, and an intact, mixed-grass prairie. We explore ecological systems ranging from prairie grasslands to alpine pine forests to rushing streams to mountain snowfields; we study the abundant and diverse mammals, birds, insects, and aquatic organisms of the region; we excavate dinosaurs and find and document Native American artifacts; we reconstruct ancient environments revealed by rock outcrops and the fossils they contain; we discuss water rights, cattle grazing, wind farms, and economic development; and we experience a amazing array of natural wonders while on a hiking and camping trip around Wyoming that includes Yellowstone and the Tetons. You will develop a deep understanding of the complex geological, biological, and historical processes that shape the landscape, habitats, and natural and human communities that we see today, and you will be able to apply the principles and techniques of this class to gradually reveal the deep history of any place you visit. Students must enroll in GEOL 1950 and GEOL 1951 concurrently.