The Yellowstone Project: Threatened and Sensitive Species

Meeting Location              Bozeman, Montana
 Program Dates        Summer 2018: June 17 - July 2, 2018
 Accommodations    Primarily camping or backpacking
 Language    English instruction
 Courses    ESCI 437A
 Credits    5 quarter credits or 3.35 semester credits
 Prerequisites    One college level course of ecology or similar                    
   18 years of age 


   Yellowstone Program Costs, Summer 2018
   $  150      Application Fee
   $2100      Program Fee
   $  750      Estimated In-Country Group Fee
   $  500      Estimated Airfare/Visa
   $  300      Estimated Food Money/Personal Spending
   $3800     Total Estimated Cost

  Summer 2018: Program fees due by May 1, 2018 



Join us this summer as we investigate the wild mountains and valleys of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, a biologically diverse wildland that provides critical habitat for majestic yet threatened wildlife species, and serves as North America’s premier location for observing and studying wildlife and multispecies interactions. As an immense natural laboratory, Yellowstone presents unparalleled opportunities for field investigations, and our primary focus on this project will be the grizzly bear, gray wolf, and American bison.


The Greater Yellowstone region is a highly complex and biologically diverse ecological system. It is one of the last remaining intact ecosystems in the lower forty-eight states, and still contains its entire pre-European compliment of species. Complex issues facing these wildlife populations present challenging management problems with few easy decisions.

Extirpated in the 1920s, restored in 1996, and delisted in 2011, wolves remain Yellowstone’s most controversial species. Every year thousands of people come to Yellowstone hoping for the chance to see a wolf in the wild. And yet many ranchers and hunters remain vocal opponents to the successful return of the wolf. At the same time, the Yellowstone grizzly bear has rebounded from 250 in the 1970s to more than 700 today, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is on the verge of delisting grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone. Yellowstone National Park is also the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times, yet the park is not big enough to meet the year-round habitat needs of these majestic animals. Their need to migrate outside the park in the winter has created a seemingly intractable management problem, pitting the principles of conservation biology against ranching interests and the Montana livestock industry.

With Yellowstone’s Northern Range as our base, we will embark on forays in and around the park to conduct our wildlife studies and observations, including day hikes and a multi-day backpacking trip. Our hands-on field studies will be augmented by information exchanges with wildlife management experts and conservation community leaders. By the end of the project team members will have a deeper understanding of the ecology of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and will have participated in firsthand investigations of major Yellowstone wildlife habitat issues in and around the nation’s first national park.


M.S., Environmental Science, University of Montana, 2007;
M.F.A., University of Montana, 2016
Jeff has been a university field instructor since 2007, focusing on conservation policy and wilderness education in the United States and Canada. He is an award winning author who has published two books and numerous essays and articles on wildlife conservation and natural resource policy. Jeff has taught at University of Oregon and the University of Montana and has been teaching with Wildlands Studies since 2012. He currently leads our Yellowstone and Northern Europe Projects.