WYOMING FIELD STUDIES IN ECOLOGY AND PALEONTOLOGY
This 6-week course is a unique introduction to the practices of paleontology, ecology, and archaeology, with a strong emphasis on field techniques. 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 basins to alpine forests to mountain snowfields; we study mammals, birds, insects, and stream ecosystems; 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 spectacular array of natural wonders while on a hiking and camping trip around the state that includes Yellowstone and the Tetons. This class seeks to develop an understanding of the complex geological, biological, and historical processes that shape the landscape, habitats, and natural and human communities we see today. These lessons apply both to Wyoming and the world at large.