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Predation Voyage

June 25, 2017

It’s our last day at Yellowstone. As usual we woke before dawn and began to open our eyes and hearts and take in all that Yellowstone had to offer. The Park did not disappoint. After driving down through Lamar Valley for many miles we noticed a line of vehicles and lenses pointed in one direction — a tell tale sign for some large animal on the prowl.

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Lamar Valley at sunrise

After safely pulling over and setting up our scopes we spotted a pack of wolves. First we began to see dirt thrown up into the air with wolves hard at work digging. Then we noticed a couple of coyotes just outside the wolves reach howling in distress. We would come to learn that the wolves were digging up a coyote’s den. Though hard for many to watch, we witnessed nature at it’s most raw. The wolves dug for almost an hour until we saw them emerge from the den triumphant with several coyote pups. Coyotes are a competitor for wolves’ food and wolves have a strong dislike for coyotes in their hunting area, and will kill their competition to ensure the survival of their own pack. This was a powerful scene that we happened upon and will probably never see again.

As the afternoon arrived we took time to pause and reflect on what an amazing experience this has been. Each of us breathed in the dry air and quieted our minds and thought about everything we had learned and will carry back to our classrooms. I, for one, will be able to teach geology with more confidence, explaining different layers of sedimentary rock and how they form. I can now describe from personal experience examples of how our Earth is an ever-changing force powered by heat that shoots up hot water and sulfur dioxide when the pressure reaches a tipping point. I can describe how bison stick together as a herd protecting their calves and use their large heads and horns as an adaptation to plow through snow looking for food.

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Grand Geyser

These short 10 days will forever change how we teach in the classroom. Each of us will take back pictures and stories that we will continually light up our student’s imaginations. Tales of rumbling land that erupts with boiling water, and a true American safari adventure, will fill our school halls for many years to come.

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Final group meeting in Lamar Valley

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Becky Hurt permalink
    June 29, 2017 6:12 pm

    Enjoyed all the photos, blogs, and acrostics. Brought back great memories from the adventures I was part of in 2009, I think that was the year🐶🐈🐻🐾🌲

    On Jun 28, 2017 6:58 PM, “Yellowstone Institute” wrote:

    > Melissa Dowland posted: “It’s our last day at Yellowstone. As usual we > woke before dawn and began to open our eyes and hearts and take in all that > Yellowstone had to offer. The Park did not disappoint. After driving down > through Lamar Valley for many miles we noticed a line of ve” >

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