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Rocky Mountain Conservancy

  • 1895 Fall River Road
  • Estes Park, CO 80517
  • Ph: (970) 586-3262
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Rocky Mountain Conservancy provides custom and regularly scheduled educational adventures and bus tours for visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park and surrounding areas. Educational tour topics include: Trail Ridge Road and Elk Expeditions, backpacking/hiking, birding, photography, wildflowers, wildlife, geology, history, astronomy, kid’s geocaching and more! With advanced notice, any educational class can be customized for a family or group.

This course will be a condensed overview of the avalanche phenomenon with a goal of participants being able to identify how, when, where and why avalanches are likely to occur in Rocky Mountain

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Discover the serene beauty of RMNP in the wintertime on this four-hour snowshoe hike. This fun and educational program will lead you through snow-covered pine, spruce, and fir trees to learn how

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Discover the serene beauty of RMNP in the wintertime on this four-hour snowshoe hike. This fun and educational program will lead you through snow-covered pine, spruce, and fir trees to learn how

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From the original inhabitants of the Americas to mountain men to modern-day recreationists, people have passed through these mountains (or called them home) for thousands of years. Explore

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This course will be a condensed overview of the avalanche phenomenon with a goal of participants being able to identify how, when, where and why avalanches are likely to occur in Rocky Mountain

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Discover the serene beauty of RMNP in the wintertime on this four-hour snowshoe hike. This fun and educational program will lead you through snow-covered pine, spruce, and fir trees to learn how

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Photography should be fun, not just scientific! In this highly interactive, inspirational, and enjoyable three-day course, you will learn both the technical and fun sides of photography, with an

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Discover the serene beauty of RMNP in the wintertime on this four-hour snowshoe hike. This fun and educational program will lead you through snow-covered pine, spruce, and fir trees to learn how

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Discover the serene beauty of RMNP in the wintertime on this four-hour snowshoe hike. This fun and educational program will lead you through snow-covered pine, spruce, and fir trees to learn how

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Coyotes are one of the country’s most successful and resourceful predators. Often misunderstood and maligned, the coyote’s impact on our everyday life is profound. Explore the country’s second largest

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Each year, April in the high country is a time when we welcome back birds that have spent the winter in warmer climates. Ducks, shorebirds, warblers, swallows, flycatchers, sparrows, sapsuckers,

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This course provides an overview of the history of environmental change in the national park, emphasizing human-caused change. We will discuss the history of mining, water engineering, recreational

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Every person alive on the planet today descended from ancestors surviving – and thriving! – in the Stone Age. In fact, more than 99% of our time as a species was spent in the Stone Age. Explore how

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A swelling on a twig or a hole in a stem, a stray feather or a piece of eggshell, an abandoned nest or a mound of soil: so many different things tattle the comings and goings of secretive creatures

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This one-day workshop will start your watercolor journey. You will learn the fundamentals of the watercolor medium and the exciting way of applying paint in a fresh and vibrant way. The day will be

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Wildlife so familiar by day can seem so different when experienced by night, and wildlife unknown in day’s lightness can suddenly become familiar in night’s darkness. Enrich your wildlife experiences

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Beavers play an extremely important part in the Rocky Mountain ecosystem. Delve into their daily lives, including social structure and building of dams and lodges. Follow in the footsteps of Enos

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This course is intended for the recreational hiker who has little or no experience reading a topographic map or working with a compass. Topics to be covered include: map vintage, next generation of

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Birds at Twilight

Evening twilight marks the transition time when nocturnal birds become active. While many daytime species can still be located, Wilson’s snipe, owls, common nighthawks and common poorwills start their

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North American Eagles

Colorado has both North American eagle species, as does Rocky Mountain National Park. The evolution, ecology, behavior, anatomy and population status of both the bald and the golden will be discussed

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Journey to the Top! A Trail Ridge Road Bus Adventure

One of the premier attractions of Rocky Mountain National Park is Trail Ridge Road, the nation’s highest continuous paved highway. Trail Ridge Road meanders through various life zones on its way

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This workshop is for:
- Journal-keepers who want to add illustrations to their writing
- Artists who want to fill their sketchbooks
- Gardeners and naturalists who want to learn more about the world

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Spend the morning discussing the migration, nesting, habitat, conservation, natural history, and ecology of mountain birds. Have fun in the field while learning to identify, enjoy and appreciate

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Take a sunset safari over Trail Ridge Road to experience the changing light, active wildlife, and the calmness of dusk with an ascent in elevation from 7,522 feet in Estes Park to more than 12,090

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The orchids comprise the world’s second most diverse family of wildflowers; yet perceived as plants of tropical rainforests, they can seem out-of-place in the Rocky Mountains. Learning that perhaps as

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When visiting the mountains, it’s easy to let ourselves get swept up by the stunning views of the high country and overlook the interesting things occurring in the meadows and forests below. Join our

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Rocky Mountain National Park contains breathtaking scenery, ample wildlife viewing, and opportunities to connect with the past as you travel across Trail Ridge Road, the scenic and awe-inspiring

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The diversity of birds of prey in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park during spring is quite impressive. In a few hours of field time, we may locate turkey vulture, osprey, golden eagle, bald

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June 14 — The Buttercup Family
Some of Colorado’s most-loved wildflowers – columbine, larkspur, monkshood, pasqueflower – belong to this family. A few plain wildflowers easily overlooked also belong

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June 15: Iron Thumb: A Fur Trapper’s Life in the Mountain: Iron Thumb is a fictitious character born out of the research and study of 19th century “mountain men” on the American frontier. His

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Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a predator in Rocky Mountain National Park? This exciting new class will take a look through the eyes of these mysterious animals. Through adventure in their

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Spend the morning discussing the migration, nesting, habitat, conservation, natural history, and ecology of mountain birds. Have fun in the field while learning to identify, enjoy and appreciate

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A story exists all around us as we walk through the woods. Animals use the same area we do, but often go unnoticed since much of their activity occurs off trails, at night, or early or late in the

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Wild birds fascinate most of us with their colors, behavior and beauty. Equally, capturing great images of birds in the wild can be maddeningly frustrating! This adventure will introduce photographers

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This all-day birding excursion will begin with a brief indoor session, followed by a day spent in the field within Rocky Mountain National Park. We will identify birds by sight and voice and learn

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Using a GPS unit, discover the natural treasures along Upper Beaver Meadows trail. Follow the clues left in nature to uncover the hidden mysteries that are located in this upper montane ecosystem.

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Through this series, students will unleash their creative potentials through various art forms including photojournaling, painting, sketching, and crafting. These artistic activities will allow

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June 21 — The Rose Family
The roses include plants as different as strawberries and apples. Many species exhibit mutualism with birds and mammals: by eating the fruits the animals acquire nutrition,

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While bugs are often seen as annoying and gross, they are actually quite extraordinary! They are able to lift impressive amounts, fly far distances, and jump to astonishing heights. Learn the basics

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June 22: Miner Bill and The Blue Mist: Remembering an Estes Park Legend: Since the story was first told in the 1940s, thousands of Estes Park area visitors have been intrigued and entertained by “The

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Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Who Pooped in the Woods? will have you solving real-life mysteries from start to finish. You’ll learn how to recognize different animal signs like scat (a fancy word

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Spend the day exploring the flora of the Park with a former RMNP interpretive ranger and Master Herbalist. Our attention will be focused on native plants and their current usage as food and medicine

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A prudent sense of safety keeps us looking at the ground as we walk, and trails trick us into looking straight ahead to see what’s coming. The consequence of looking down and looking ahead is that we

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While astronomy can seem intimidating, this introductory course is geared to families who would like to explore the constellations, the size of the universe, moon phases, the importance of dark skies

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Confused and overwhelmed by plant terminology and keys in field guides? Then this class is for you! Join Marlene Borneman as she decodes dichotomous keys as participants gain understanding in how to

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Cover a billion years of Park history… in a weekend! Roam the Park with award-winning writer Mary Taylor Young, author of the Park’s centennial history Rocky Mountain National Park: The First 100

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This one-day workshop will start your watercolor journey. You will learn the fundamentals of the watercolor medium and the exciting way of applying paint in a fresh and vibrant way. The day will be

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June 28 — The Eryngo Family
An unfamiliar name encompasses familiar wildflowers: cow parsnip, sweet cicely, lovage. To this family also belong caraway, carrot, celery, coriander, dill; and just try to

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Spend the morning discussing the migration, nesting, habitat, conservation, natural history, and ecology of mountain birds. Have fun in the field while learning to identify, enjoy and appreciate

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This two-day class will give you the techniques needed to capture the landscape in watercolor. We will open our eyes to the beauty surrounding us and learn ways to paint skies, mountains, water,

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Butterflies enthuse people, mosquitos exasperate people, several thousand insects go unnoticed, and a few nifty insects catch our attention by serendipity. The amazing pine sawyer that lands on your

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Wildflowers of RMNP

Explore the wonder and diversity of the Park’s wildflowers with former Rocky Mountain National Park interpretive naturalist Leanne Benton. The Park’s vertical topography allows for a variety of

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Spend a day in Rocky Mountain National Park with your camera, photographing whatever wild creatures may be encountered. This adventure will allow photographers of all experience levels to become more

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Using a GPS unit, discover the natural treasures along Upper Beaver Meadows trail. Follow the clues left in nature to uncover the hidden mysteries that are located in this upper montane ecosystem.

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Through this series, students will unleash their creative potentials through various art forms including photojournaling, painting, sketching, and crafting. These artistic activities will allow

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July 6: Enos Mills: “Father” of Rocky Mountain National Park: For his tireless efforts, Enos Mills (1870-1922) is remembered as the “father” of Rocky Mountain National Park and a Colorado legend. His

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Spend the morning discussing the migration, nesting, habitat, conservation, natural history, and ecology of mountain birds. Have fun in the field while learning to identify, enjoy and appreciate

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Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Who Pooped in the Woods? will have you solving real-life mysteries from start to finish. You’ll learn how to recognize different animal signs like scat (a fancy word

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Spend the day exploring the flora of the Park with a former RMNP interpretive ranger and Master Herbalist. Our attention will be focused on native plants and their current usage as food and medicine

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It is easy to forget that travel in Rocky was once not as simple as it is today. Join us as we switchback through time to traverse the park’s oldest road up to the Alpine Visitor Center and back down

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Birding the Life Zones

Rocky Mountain National Park is a birder's paradise during the nesting season. During this two-day class, we will explore the various ecosystems (life zones) of the Park to find 50-70 bird species. We

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Study the history of the Town of Estes Park, the Estes Valley, and Rocky Mountain National Park, all of which share a common ecosystem and an interrelated history. Following a brief overview using

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This all-day tour will provide an overview of the region's past by mixing brief lecture-and-discussion format with visits to historical sites of significance. Site visits will range from an ancient

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July 12 — The Rhododendron Family
The very name “rhododendron” conjures images of shrubs with gorgeous flowers, but neither name nor image suggests the relatives: blueberry, cranberry, kinnikinnik. In

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July 13: Rocky Mountain Tales of Survival (various): Hear thrilling tales of adventure from pioneers facing perilous encounters and daring escapes. Abner Sprague recounts the 1896 camping trip that

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This course provides basic identification and biology of the insects most commonly encountered in freshwater habitats. Emphasis is placed on identification of aquatic insects and other insects often

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A prudent sense of safety keeps us looking at the ground as we walk, and trails trick us into looking straight ahead to see what’s coming. The consequence of looking down and looking ahead is that we

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Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Who Pooped in the Woods? will have you solving real-life mysteries from start to finish. You’ll learn how to recognize different animal signs like scat (a fancy word

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Bears are the iconic symbol of the American wilderness. North America has three of the world’s eight species. Historically, the Park had two of the three - now only one. Learn the natural history of

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This class will focus on the Civilian Conservation Corps and its years in Rocky Mountain National Park. Following an historical overview discussion of the CCC, we will visit the sites of three of the

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Butterflies are easily observed insects which fly in every life zone of Rocky Mountain National Park. This class will begin with an indoor introduction to basic butterfly biology, butterfly behavior

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Come learn about climate change in our beloved park. The prospect of rapidly changing climate and landscapes should give us pause. Will our grandchildren see the same birds and wildflowers, play among

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The combination of heavy snowfall, bitter wind, low temperatures, and mountainous topography in alpine areas creates the most severe climate in the world," writes alpine researcher Joyce Gellhorn in

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Learn about Rocky’s hummingbird populations and their habitat while observing field ornithologists as they safely capture and band these remarkable birds. Marking individual birds remains essential to

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Using a GPS unit, discover the natural treasures along Upper Beaver Meadows trail. Follow the clues left in nature to uncover the hidden mysteries that are located in this upper montane ecosystem.

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Through this series, students will unleash their creative potentials through various art forms including photojournaling, painting, sketching, and crafting. These artistic activities will allow

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Come explore Rocky’s history with a guided naturalist hike to the once active Eugenia mine. Kids will learn about how some colorful characters in Rocky’s past shaped the landscape, exploring how the

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While bugs are often seen as annoying and gross, they are actually quite extraordinary! They are able to lift impressive amounts, fly far distances, and jump to astonishing heights. Learn the basics

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Learn about Rocky’s hummingbird populations and their habitat while observing field ornithologists as they safely capture and band these remarkable birds. Marking individual birds remains essential to

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A few years ago, researchers from the Loch Vale Watershed Long Term Ecological Research Program noticed abundant algal growth along the shores and lake bottoms of The Loch and Sky Pond, dominated by a

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Spend the morning discussing the migration, nesting, habitat, conservation, natural history, and ecology of mountain birds. Have fun in the field while learning to identify, enjoy and appreciate

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Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Who Pooped in the Woods? will have you solving real-life mysteries from start to finish. You’ll learn how to recognize different animal signs like scat (a fancy word

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The bighorn sheep is the rightful symbol of Rocky Mountain National Park and the State of Colorado. It is one of the most highly esteemed mammals in North America, representing the majestic rugged

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James Hutton, who lived in Scotland during the 18th century, made three great discoveries that geologists use to read geologic history. They are 1) the present is the key to the past, 2) the earth is

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This two-day class will take you several steps beyond the basics to a deeper understanding of aerial perspective, linear perspective, simplifying shapes, linking values and more exciting compositional

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Rocky's Other Plants

Wonderful as they are, wildflowers are not the only plants out there. Mosses provide nesting material for American dippers and house those amazing little tardigrades. Horsetails descend from plants

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July 26 — The Lousewort Family
Decades ago, botanists lacked knowledge necessary to assign some plants to natural families. As a result, some wildflowers were temporarily assigned to families on the

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Wind makes aspen leaves and conifer needles whisper, but they do so in different voices. In flight some birds’ wings whistle, some trill, some buzz, and some are silent. Subalpine fir and balsam

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Enjoy breathtaking views as you hike across the alpine tundra from Milner Pass to the Alpine Visitor Center on a Native American foot trail. Learn about alpine ecology, geologic formations, and the

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Using a GPS unit, discover the natural treasures along Upper Beaver Meadows trail. Follow the clues left in nature to uncover the hidden mysteries that are located in this upper montane ecosystem.

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Through this series, students will unleash their creative potentials through various art forms including photojournaling, painting, sketching, and crafting. These artistic activities will allow

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Come explore Rocky’s history with a guided naturalist hike to the once active Eugenia mine. Kids will learn about how some colorful characters in Rocky’s past shaped the landscape, exploring how the

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Discover what puts the “rock” in Rocky Mountain National Park during this geologic adventure! When visiting RMNP, folks may drive by, walk on, or overlook hundreds of rocks scattered throughout the

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Fly-fishing is a sport that dates back centuries. In Rocky Mountain National Park, it draws beginners and seasoned anglers alike. Join Rocky Mountain Conservancy as we give kids a taste of what

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This all-day tour will provide an overview of the region's past by mixing brief lecture-and-discussion format with visits to historical sites of significance. Site visits will range from an ancient

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This course is designed for the recreational traveler who has little or no experience using a GPS and/or GPS owners who would like to gain a greater understanding of their receivers. Emphasis will be

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August 9 — The Mistletoe Family
Ancient druids made mistletoe culturally meaningful; Christmas made mistletoe fun. However mistletoes may be regarded culturally, they figure prominently in various

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A prudent sense of safety keeps us looking at the ground as we walk, and trails trick us into looking straight ahead to see what’s coming. The consequence of looking down and looking ahead is that we

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Geology of the Western Slope

The western part of Rocky Mountain National Park offers a grand opportunity to see some of the oldest rocks in Colorado as well as some beautiful examples of very recent (geologically speaking)

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The Wild Basin Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park. The Wild Basin Trailhead is on the east side of the Continental Divide between Meeker Park and Allenspark. Turn west on to Wild Basin Road from

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Mushrooms & Other Fungi

Long regarded as atypical members of the plant kingdom, the fungi are now regarded as a separate kingdom of their own standing. Because mushrooms are so visible and figure so prominently as foods and

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You’ve driven Fall River Road from Endovalley to the Alpine Visitor Center…but did you know the west side of the old route still lies like a phantom between Trail Ridge and Grand Lake? Fall River Road

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Spend the day exploring the flora of the Park with a former RMNP interpretive ranger and Master Herbalist. Our attention will be focused on native plants and their current usage as food and medicine

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This two-day class focuses on Colorado’s top predator, mountain lion (Puma concolor). Experienced mountain lion researchers will lecture on mountain lion ecology, ongoing research, human-mountain lion

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The Life & Times of Moose

Moose naturally occurred in Colorado then naturally vanished from the state long before people brought them back. Thus the moose has a prehistory and a history in this region plus a natural history as

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Much of today’s magnificent scenery in Rocky Mountain National Park is attributable to the erosional effects glaciers. This course will begin at the terminal moraine of an ancient glacier near a Park

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Spend a day in Rocky Mountain National Park with your camera, photographing whatever wild creatures may be encountered. This adventure will allow photographers of all experience levels to become more

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This class uses built environments—buildings, fences, roads, and so forth—to explore the human and environmental history of the Kawuneeche Valley. We will begin with an indoor introduction to the west

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Don’t put your camera away after the sun sets! There’s a whole different park to photograph when the stars come out. And you don’t need a telescope. This course will discuss and demonstrate various

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Celebrate the National Park Service’s 100-year anniversary by creating a travel sketchbook. Document your travel experiences by learning 100 approaches as you create your sketchbook. Find new

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This spectacular loop affords views of the Continental Divide, rushing waterfalls and lush aspen and pine forests as participants wind their way through a subalpine ecosystem on this day-long hike

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In this advanced watercolor workshop, time will be spent exploring ways to develop individual intuitive skills as painters. Expect to identify, develop and strengthen your unique methods of looking at

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There is much more going on in any forest than meets the eye. A forest is much more than a collection of trees. During this all day class, we will explore and discover the interactions that take place

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Have you ever wondered how a non-hibernating animal like yourself might fare trying to survive in the alpine year-round? Come watch the American pika demonstrate its survival strategy. Pikas and their

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Elk Expeditions

The fall rut is a spectacular display of elk mating behavior featuring bugling, posturing and herding displays. This extraordinary event will be available for viewing from the comfort of a

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The Cow Creek Trail provides a lovely walk through meadows flanked on either side by rock outcroppings and pine forests. Participants will stroll through these meadows, past an historic homestead and

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From Elk to Aspen: An Educational Adventure by Bus

It’s impossible to ignore the magic of fall in the Rockies, as morning sunlight glows through golden aspen leaves and elk bugles echo in the distance. Experience these autumnal wonders from the

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Seeing wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park is not at all unusual. However, making great photographs of what you see sometimes presents a challenge and many times results in disappointing images.

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Join researcher Scott Rashid as he traps and bands boreal and northern saw-whet owls in Rocky Mountain National Park. Learn about their habitat requirements, nighttime activity, and general ecology

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Autumn is a truly magical time to be in the high country. This class will focus on two seasonal events that will offer photographers an outstanding opportunity to capture memorable moments digitally —

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