Yellowstone Quarterly - Fall 2017

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Quarterly Y ellowstone

FA LL 2017

Connecting the Next Generation Golden Eagle Study Yellowstone’s Elk Migrations

Dear Yellowstone Forever supporters, It has been a busy and exciting summer here in Yellowstone National Park. Our educational programs are in full swing, our Park Store sales associates are welcoming visitors from all over the world, and our dedicated team of volunteers are donating their time and energy to help people discover all that Yellowstone has to offer. It is also the first summer season we’ve experienced as Yellowstone Forever, and it’s been exciting to share the mission of our new organization as well as our combined focus of education and fundraising with visitors. This month marks an anniversary for me, as I am one year into my role leading this incredible organization. I’ve been able to share unforgettable experiences in the park with family, friends, and colleagues, and Yellowstone means more to me today than ever before. Over the past year, our dedicated staff and board have worked hard to build a strong foundation for Yellowstone Forever. Most importantly, Yellowstone National Park is our number one priority, and the park’s needs are our needs. As the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park approaches in 2022, we will continue to focus on providing opportunities for all people to make meaningful connections to the park. These include helping to fund the Yellowstone Youth Campus, engaging new and diverse audiences, and placing an emphasis on technology, so that we can take the Yellowstone experience out into the world and inspire the next generation of park stewards. Our strategic plan is available on our website, and I encourage you to visit to read more about where we’re headed. All of the work we are able to do on behalf of Yellowstone is thanks to your continued support and commitment. I invite you to get involved and stay connected: consider hosting an event in your local community, take one of our in-depth educational programs, or join us next summer working or volunteering in this place we all love.

Heather White President & CEO Yellowstone Forever





02 Connecting the Next Generation to Yellowstone 06 yf family Robert Petty 08 Air Support: Yellowstone’s Golden Eagle Study 10 experience The Fall Elk Rut 14 Yellowstone’s Elk Migrations 16 nps interview Pat Bigelow 17 naturalist notes Raptor Migration 18 flora & fauna Mountain Ash | Hermit Thrush

19 YF Strengthens Relations with American Indian Tribes 20 Supporters

Contributors writers Megan Boyle Stephen Camelio Wendie Carr Neala Fugere Jenny Golding Barbara Lee Ruffin Prevost Joshua Theuer

images / pages Ann Skelton Doug Loneman Maria Bisso Thomas Lee Ronan Donavan David Haines Dylan Schneider Tom Murphy Arin Leard Jim Futterer Matt Ludin

publication staff

cover 2 4, 6-7, 13, back cover 6 9 9 12 14 18 17, 21 21

Maria Bisso Megan Boyle Wendie Carr Paula Degen Neala Fugere

Executive Team & Board Members Executive Team

Heather White President & CEO

Ken Voorhis

Chief Operations & Education Officer

Kelly Herman

Chief Development Officer

Jeff Augustin

Senior Director of Park Projects

Wendie Carr

Vice President of Marketing & Communications

Thomas Cluderay General Counsel

J.D. Davis

Senior Director of Campaign & Special Projects

John Walda Secretary

Bob Shopneck

David Donovan Annie Graham


Carolyn Heppel

Vice President of Information Technology

Kevin Butt

Penney Cox Hubbard

Roger Keaton

Claire Campbell

Edna Johnson

Michael Campbell

Charles Kaufmann

Patty Carocci

Dan Manning

Terry “J.R.” Hunt

Vice President of Finance

Kathy Nichols

Vice President of Employee & Volunteer Engagement

John Costello

Joe Marushack

Board Members

Gail Davis

Robert Mathias

Kay Yeager

Tom Detmer

Bryan Morgan


Lou Lanwermeyer Vice Chairman

Doug Spencer

By Jenny Golding



the Next Generation to Yellowstone

On a hillside far above the Yellowstone River, 24 high-school students sit in a circle. It’s the last day of My Yellowstone Adventure, a five-day learning program where participants from urban areas—like Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or Seattle—get their first taste of national parks. One by one, the students stand and present a photo they believe communicates why Yellowstone should be protected. It’s the culmination of a week-long photography assignment: capture the essence of what Yellowstone means to you, and then share it with others. The future of Yellowstone belongs to a younger—and more diverse—generation. Yet the average visitor to Yellowstone—82% white, according to a 2016 summer survey—is not representative of most Americans. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that more than 80% of American families now live in urban areas, and that nonwhites will make up the majority of the U.S. population within a few decades. But that future majority has limited access to the park today. Just a quarter of visitors last year were age 19 or under. A lack of accessible outdoor spaces, increased dependence on technology, and more time spent indoors are barriers for the young, multicultural, urban audience that Yellowstone needs. Yellowstone’s future stewards are increasingly disengaged from public lands. How can you love and protect what you don’t know? The answer: bring kids to parks. “Making sure we’ve got a next generation who owns this park is critical,” says Ken Voorhis, chief operations and


“Such a huge display of beauty made us all feel so special, like that moment was created just for us. In that moment, in the grandeur of Yellowstone, we all felt so big, and so small, all at once.” L.D. from Cleveland,

My Yellowstone Adventure participant

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education officer for Yellowstone Forever. So the National Park Service (NPS) and Yellowstone Forever are working together to help a new generation fall in love with Yellowstone through life-changing residential programs in the park. Last year, Yellowstone served more than 2,500 youth in a continuum of multiday education programs for elementary through college-aged students. The opportunities range from introductory experiences like My Yellowstone Adventure (MYA), to month-long immersion programs like the Yellowstone Conservation Corps (YCC), in which high-school students complete resource projects and learn about conservation careers. Curriculumbased Expedition Yellowstone and High School Field Experience use the park as a living classroom, making science and history come alive for fourth to eighth grade and high-school students. College students in Stewardship of Public Lands can study resource issues like bison management and climate change to better understand the complicated roles citizens, organizations, and agencies play in the management of our public land legacy. “What’s important about connecting youth to Yellowstone is that they won’t just be future visitors and park enthusiasts, they’ll be the next ones who will care for parks,” says Beth Taylor, Yellowstone education program manager. “It’s their voices that matter. They are going to decide what to do with places like Yellowstone.” Back on the hill above the river, the mood is reverent and sometimes emotional as the MYA students share their stories. This can be a powerful experience for kids who may never have been on an airplane, much less visited a national park. “For the first time in my life I saw the stars,” says S.A. from Pittsburgh. “Where I live it’s very hard to see even 10 of them in the sky.” There is also lots of laughter over the re-telling of shared experiences. Jess Haas, who oversees Yellowstone Forever youth, college, and teacher programs, describes the transformation visible over the course of the photography assignments: “At the beginning, there are a lot of selfies and pictures of people next to landscapes. As you progress through the week, it’s more about pictures of the landscape, pictures of things they are picking out that are meaningful to them. The park becomes the center of the story. It happens every time.” Yellowstone programs provide healthy outdoor experiences that go beyond simply connecting kids with their public land legacy. Whether it’s the self confidence that comes from climbing a mountain for the first time, or learning to cook and clean for the group, these residential experiences are life-changing, helping youth discover a new understanding of themselves as well as forge deeply personal connections with nature. “Today… I climbed a mountain and when I was at the bottom looking up I thought I could never do it. But I got there and I felt very brave….” says L.W. from Cincinnati. Hannah says of her YCC experience: “I’ve come to realize that hard work,


learning, and beauty go hand-in-hand. The people here have inspired me to make the world a better place, whether that means working in a conservation corps or turning off the lights in my bedroom.” B.A. from Chicago speaks of realizing the benefits of unplugging from technology: “After my trip to Yellowstone, I’ve learned to leave my comfort zone to appreciate nature more instead of sitting behind my laptop with nothing exciting to do.” As amazing as a Yellowstone experience can be, it’s only half the story. “It’s easy to bring a group of kids from Chicago out here and give them the ‘oh wow’ experience and just let them go,” says Voorhis. “We are much more effective in building the next generation of park supporters if we have partners who go back with the kids to their community and make sure that what happened in Yellowstone relates to what’s happening at home.” Community-based organizations like Park Journeys; Boys and Girls Clubs of Tacoma, Washington; Gary Comer Youth Center in Chicago; and schools like Kemmerer Elementary in Wyoming are key to recruiting students and ensuring that the interest sparked in Yellowstone becomes a lifelong love of public lands. By building pretrip excitement and facilitating post-trip opportunities for students to share their experiences, these partners build a powerful community culture around Yellowstone. Bob Fuhrmann, Yellowstone youth program manager, points to Expedition Yellowstone students from 30 years ago who are now returning with their own classes, bringing the experience full circle . With suppor t from their communities, the students themselves become ambassadors—sharing a new passion for Yellowstone with others through art shows, photography exhibitions, science presentations, and conversations with local lawmakers. Looking to the future, NPS and Yellowstone Forever staff are working together to find new and better ways to engage the next generation. In the near term, the focus is on collaborating on current programs, conducting joint staff training, sharing resources, and combining marketing and registration efforts. Long term, they are forming a shared vision for youth education in Yellowstone, which includes the design of a new state of the art youth campus. The idea: bring a student to Yellowstone, and ignite a spark. One day, that spark may become a steady flame that helps a new generation love and care for parks. According to B.F. from Cleveland, it works: “The view was mountains EVERYWHERE. The clouds cast amazing shadows on the ground, and you could see the snow on the peaks of the mountains. It’s something that I will remember forever…. Whether or not it’s in 5 years or 20 years, from this day on I am making a promise to myself to come back.” Jenny Golding is a former director of education for Yellowstone Forever. She currently runs the website A Yellowstone Life, and writes from her home in Gardiner, Montana, on the border of Yellowstone National Park.

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Robert Petty

DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION–Institute Robert Petty, newly appointed director of education, first visited Yellowstone National Park when he was ten years old on a family vacation to the Rockies. “I stood in front of Old Faithful, thunderstruck,” he recalls. “There was an aura of majesty and wilderness that I had long yearned to see.”

opportunities for people to forge their own relationship with the park. His vision for the Institute includes growing a citizen science program, reaching a more diverse audience through educational programming, and expanding possibilities for distance learning.

The Indiana native moved to Montana 30 years ago to attend graduate school at the University of Montana, with the intention of staying only a few years after earning his master of fine arts degree. Instead, he’s been here ever since.

“Our intention is to foster a sense of wonder and increase ecological literacy, thereby cultivating environmentallyconscious stewards who can care for and preserve not only this magnificent landscape, but those natural places in every community that are essential for our future,” he explains.

“While working at the University of Montana after graduation, some friends and I decided to start a nature center for Montana,” he explains. “We founded the Montana Natural History Center in Missoula. That experience was a major turning point in my career.”

After dedicating his career—and the bulk of his life— to nonprofit administration, Robert believes that philanthropy is much more than asking for a financial contribution. “The reality is that you’re giving someone an opportunity to give to something they care about,” he says. “The thing they care about is the real root of the relationship.”

Since then, Robert has spent much of his professional career in the field of environmental conservation— primarily for The Nature Conservancy, Montana Audubon, and most recently for National Audubon Society. But after 30 years working for nonprofits operating on a national scale, Robert missed working on behalf of a specific place. “I had no idea that place would wind up being Yellowstone National Park,” he laughs.

Whether he’s in the field evaluating an educational program or collaborating with colleagues on Yellowstone Forever’s strategic plan, Robert believes in cultivating an authentic and direct experience with the natural world. “Our meaning as a species is measured not only by the many wonderful things we have created, but perhaps even more so by the magnificent things we refuse to destroy,” he says. “Yellowstone stands as a most powerful testament to that meaning of ours as a species.”

Robert was hired as the director of education in January 2017 and will lead the Yellowstone Forever Institute. In this role he will dedicate his time and energy to facilitating



Giving Back is Easier When You Join the Yellowstone Guardians!

Yellowstone in Winter

Winter is one of Yellowstone’s best-kept secrets, and we are excited to offer a wide range of topics highlighting this remarkable unsung season.

Become a Yellowstone Guardian and join a special group of loyal supporters who make a steady commitment to Yellowstone. For as little as $10 per month, you can increase the value of your donation by reducing printing and mailing costs, ensuring more of your contribution goes directly to Yellowstone. With automatic deductions from the account of your choice, this is the easiest and most efficient way to support the world’s first national park.

Join us for a catered Photography Rendezvous and learn tips for capturing the magical winter landscape of Lamar Valley. Cozy up for a weekend of Native American storytelling, wildcrafted teas, and hearty food in Lakota Winter Stories and Skills. Or, brush up on your wilderness medicine skills in a spectacular setting in Wilderness First Responder.

Visit for more information or to request a winter catalog of Yellowstone Forever Institute offerings.

Please visit us at or call 406.848.2400 to join today.

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By Stephen Camelio

Support Y e llows t on e ’ s G ol d e n Eagl e S t u d y

“Golden eagles are North America’s largest bird of prey, so why do we know so little about them?” asks Doug Smith, a senior wildlife biologist at Yellowstone National Park. To answer this question, Smith heads up the Yellowstone Golden Eagle Study, a scientific examination that monitors the population, breeding, and behavior of these magnificent birds in the park. This investigation is an outgrowth of the five-year Yellowstone Raptor Initiative, which began in 2011 with a grant from the Yellowstone Park Foundation and focused on studying the more than 20 species of raptors that call the park home. “Before the Yellowstone Park Foundation funded our initial study, the park was only monitoring three raptor species—peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and ospreys,” notes Smith. “After five years of research, we concluded there was a scientific oversight in terms of understanding golden eagle ecology, and determined there should be long-term monitoring of the species given the critical role

they play in the functioning of an avian ecosystem.” Contributing to this need for further study is a 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study that denoted the golden eagle population as “stable,” but also observed: “the population in the coterminous western U.S. [from the 100th meridian to the Pacific Ocean] might be declining towards a lower equilibrium size.” There are many factors that could be contributing to the birds’ population decline, with everything from habitat loss, lead poisoning from scavenging on hunters’ kills, and high-speed wind turbines placed in ideal eagle environments playing a role. With such a large area to cover, some places have reported that the birds are doing well, and others have found cause for concern. The folks in Yellowstone realized that they had little data to contribute to the conversation. “When we discovered U.S. Fish and Wildlife was trying to determine


the status of golden eagles throughout the West, we found out we knew little or no information about the birds in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” Smith says. “We thought we better learn more.” Enter Yellowstone Forever. Since the Yellowstone Park Foundation already sponsored the previous raptor study, Yellowstone Forever was poised to fund a continuation of the project. “Though the first go-round was a tremendous success, at the conclusion of the initial five years we knew there were still a lot of questions to be answered, especially about the golden eagles and the significant role they play in the ecosystem,” says Jeff Augustin, Yellowstone Forever’s senior director of park projects. “That’s why,” Augustin adds, “when it was over and the park submitted a list of the projects for funding that they deemed priorities, we were excited to see the golden eagle study on there.” Soon after, Yellowstone Forever secured gifts from individuals and foundations

Preparing to place a camera in an empty golden eagle nest .

to fully fund the program for three years. Smith classifies this extra time to study golden eagles as a “godsend.” That’s because so far the park’s monitoring has turned up some thought-provoking data that needs to be looked at closer. Thanks to the previous years of field work, which included countless miles of hiking in the backcountry to spot the birds and track them to their nests, researchers now know that Yellowstone is home to 28 golden eagle territories, each of which corresponds to a nested pair. (Golden eagles are very territorial and will dive bomb interlopers to defend their home range.) Twenty-one of these nesting areas are in the northern part of the park where the habitat—semi-open country, high-altitude mountains, and cliffsides—is more suitable to the birds. According to Smith, what’s interesting about the golden eagles in Yellowstone is that their numbers and breeding habits don’t match

up—the birds’ population density is quite high, but their productivity when it comes to producing offspring is very low. “We are focused right now on trying to figure why the eagles are doing so well but also why there are so few young.” Adding to the intrigue is that other studies have shown that golden eagles in the Livingston and Cody areas produce a lot of young. Smith is exploring two key factors as to whether or not young golden eagles survive: the severity of winter weather and the levels of spring precipitation. It is possible that heavy snow years mean more winter kills and more wolf kills, which in turn creates an abundance of food for eagles to scavenge and allows the birds to build up strength for the upcoming breeding season. But a cold and wet spring could cause problems with nesting, resulting in young that fail to survive. “To study how the weather affects these birds we really need to see a variation of conditions for an

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extended time so that we can overlay the breeding and meteorological data for accurate results,” Smith says. “That’s why Yellowstone Forever continuing to fund this study is so important— the more years we study, the more reliable our findings will be.” Along with determining whether or not Yellowstone is a stronghold for these raptors, Smith believes the study will help place the golden eagle in the same conversation with Yellowstone’s most famous fauna—bears, bison, and wolves. “These birds are grand, majestic animals. We’ve found 10–12 species of animals in golden eagles’ nests, everything from rabbits to pronghorn fawns. Golden eagles are every bit the predator as Yellowstone’s big carnivores,” Smith says. “They are the wolves of the sky and are deserving of the attention we and the public have given to Yellowstone’s other iconic wildlife.” Stephen Camelio is a freelance writer living in Bozeman, Montana. His work has appeared in Men’s Journal, Runner’s World, Field & Stream, and Fly Rod & Reel.


Autumn Spectacular: Experience the Fall Elk Rut By Neala Fugere

Every autumn, visitors to Yellowstone National Park are treated to a dramatic spectacle—the thrilling display of the elk rut. September to mid-October is elk mating season in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and it’s characterized by mixed elk herds gathering in Mammoth Hot Springs to carry out the ritual. Park visitors from all over the world can be found in the northern section of the park as well, hoping to hear the haunting bugle of a bull elk or to witness firsthand the males engaging in battle.

Though the elk rut is undoubtedly a spectacular phenomenon to witness, visitors should be mindful of their own safety and that of the animals while they watch—and listen—to the action. Bull elk can become extremely aggressive during mating season and have been known to charge vehicles or even people.

Although the primary duty of volunteers and NPS staff is to keep the scene safe, they also provide elk ecology interpretation. Take advantage of their extensive knowledge to learn more about elk behavior during the rut and connect more deeply with these fascinating animals.

Fortunately, the gathering of elk herds in Mammoth Hot Springs signals another type of pilgrimage: the intrepid Elk Rut Corps Volunteers. Along with National Park Service (NPS) staff, the volunteers are stationed in Mammoth and stand ready to ensure the safety of visitors who have traveled from near and far to witness the rut.

This year, visitors can go a step further in ensuring the safety of the elk and themselves by taking the Yellowstone Pledge. The pledge is a personal promise visitors can make to themselves and to the park. It includes committing to safety measures such as practicing “safe selfies,” staying on boardwalks, and reporting violations to park staff.

“Our goal for managing the elk rut here in Mammoth is to protect the elk and their natural behavior in a developed area, while providing visitors with the opportunity to safely observe and experience the rut,” explains Tammi Corchero, NPS resource education and youth program supervisor. “We accomplish this through an established elk volunteer program and inter-divisional efforts and cooperation.”

“Every year visitors get far too close to wildlife. They endanger themselves and the wildlife they likely traveled hundreds of miles to watch,” explains Morgan Warthin, Yellowstone public affairs specialist. “I ask you to help us fix this problem. Take the Yellowstone Pledge and practice safe selfies by never approaching animals to take a picture. Share the pledge with your friends and family, tag #YellowstonePledge, and encourage others to do the same. Together we can stay safe and protect Yellowstone’s wildlife!”

If you ask the volunteers, they’ll explain that it’s important to give the elk plenty of room, and this includes refraining from approaching the animals in your vehicle—or especially on foot. It’s illegal to approach elk closer than 25 yards in the park or to imitate the call of an elk. It’s also good practice to exit buildings on high alert, as you never know who might be bedded down in a patch of shade just outside the Mammoth Dining Room! Finally, it’s important to obey the instructions of rangers and volunteers.

Learn more and take the pledge at, or #YellowstonePledge on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Neala Fugere is the communications coordinator for Yellowstone Forever.


Shop New Items from Yellowstone’s Official Park Store!


Our Park Stores are the #1 source of information on Yellowstone, and sale proceeds directly benefit Yellowstone National Park. To order, call 406.848.2400 or visit

People of Yellowstone Supporter: $25.45 Regular: $29.95 #3004 Discover the deeply personal tales and portraits of the people who live among geysers and wild animals—and how it’s become a transformative experience. Hardcover. 176 pages. 8.5" X 11.25"

Yellowstone Through the Lens of Time Supporter: $33.95 Regular: $39.95 #3009 A visual essay presenting the images of pioneer photographer William Henry Jackson (1871) paired with breathtaking contemporary originals. Hardcover. 297 pages. 13.5" X 12.5"

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2018 Yellowstone Calendar Supporter: $9.99 Regular: $13.95 #3005 Special price! This celebration of local Yellowstone photographers will keep you connected to the wonders of the world’s first national park all year long. By Yellowstone Forever.

Bison Mash Up T-Shirt Supporter: $22.10 Regular: $26.00 #3112–3116 / #3107–3111 For each t-shirt sold, 4% of the profits will be donated to our national parks and public lands. Cotton/poly blend. Men’s S–XL. Color: Brown (#3112–3116) or Red (#3107–3111).

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By Ruffin Prevost

Yellowstone Elk Migrations Bridge Landscapes, Communities

For the past decade, Middleton and collaborators like photojournalist Joe Riis have told the story of elk migrations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), capturing public imagination with stunning photographs and riveting videos. That imagery has yielded a growing awareness of the importance of protecting key habitats along migration corridors leading to Yellowstone.

When outfitter Lee Livingston of Cody, Wyoming, first heard about the “elk hippie,” he was skeptical. “He had a great idea, but he wasn’t quite sure how he was going to pull it off,” Livingston said of researcher Arthur Middleton, whom locals had dubbed “the elk hippie,” in part for his Ivy League credentials and seemingly quixotic efforts to track elk migrations.

But at the heart of Middleton’s work is data analysis— gathering, studying, interpreting, and presenting a wide range of information drawn from an array of land management agencies and tracking technologies. Middleton has aggregated data on nine elk migrations across the GYE, and is now directing his focus on better understanding how factors like a changing climate will affect elk movements across the ecosystem. He also wants to use fine-scale GPS data and new analytic methods of mapping to help identify critical habitats as conservation priorities, as well as to better document the full ecological and economic role elk play in the region.

Middleton was then doing post-doctoral work at Yale, and he is now an assistant professor of wildlife ecology at University of California Berkeley. He sought Livingston’s expertise in navigating the remote and rugged Thorofare region just outside Yellowstone National Park’s southeastern boundary. Around this time every year, many elk follow a rugged path through the Thorofare, leaving Yellowstone for winter range in lower elevations around the park. The elk return along the same route in the spring, searching for the most nutritious new plant growth. “I wasn’t quite sure what the hell [Middelton was] after, but my first thought was: ‘I’ll take anybody’s money if it means going into the backcountry,’” said Livingston, a guide who has spent 30 years taking anglers, campers, and hunters into the Thorofare. “They were going to do it with backpacks and freeze-dried food, but we offered them horses and home-cooked meals,” Livingston said. “From there, a friendship was immediately formed.”

Elk are certainly an important species in Yellowstone, serving as a key food source for wolves, bears, cougars, and at least a dozen species of scavengers. Between 10,000 and 20,000 elk from six or seven different herds spend summers in Yellowstone. In winter, fewer than 5,000 remain in the park, as most move to lower elevations. But elk make up roughly 90 percent of winter prey for gray wolves. And elk calves are a major early summer prey for Yellowstone grizzly bears. Even golden 14

eagles have been known to prey on elk calves on occasion, said Yellowstone wildlife biologist Dan Stahler, who has spent years studying the dynamics between elk and predators like wolves and cougars, also known as mountain lions. Data show that elk don’t tend to change their movement patterns, despite the increasing abundance of predators in recent years, Stahler said. The National Park Service heavily managed Yellowstone elk for the first half of the 20th century, culling and shipping tens of thousands to achieve herd sizes believed to be preferable. But now, Stahler said, “Yellowstone is in a more natural state than it has been in a long time, with a full suite of ungulates and carnivores back on the landscape.” Established migration patterns are still in place, and elk numbers in the park have stabilized over the past decade, he said. “The park provides a refuge, even if it’s only for part of the year, from the human-dominated landscape. It’s important for animals to have a place like Yellowstone,” Stahler said. Early visitors to the region relied heavily on elk for food, but didn’t invest much effort in studying their migrations, said Yellowstone historian Lee Whittlesey. A 25-year analysis by Whittlesey and others of more than 500 written accounts made during the 1800s by travelers through the Yellowstone area yielded only 12 mentions of elk migrations. While people knew about elk

movements in and out of the park, “it wasn’t at the forefront of interest, and was never something that people looked at hard and studied and wrote papers on,” he said. Middleton hopes his work can change that, framing the importance of elk migration in terms any urban dweller can understand. “Imagine if all the bridges and tunnels between Manhattan and the outer boroughs were suddenly gone,” he said, likening migration corridors to the infrastructure that connects urban cores to outlying areas. “It would be a complete disaster. New York City would fail,” he said. “And if that happened in Yellowstone, the ecosystem would slowly come apart.” That insight lies at the heart of collaborations between Middleton and biologists like Stahler. But it also drives the unlikely friendship between Middleton—the “elk hippie,”—and Livingston, the hunting guide. Middleton and his collaborators became unexpected celebrities in Cody because of a shared belief that what’s good for elk is good for the community and the greater region. “I don’t think they fully appreciated how much this all meant until things really got going,” Livingston said. “But when it comes to elk, people just want to help. They want to see this thing take off.” Ruffin Prevost is founding editor of Yellowstone Gate, an online publication offering community news and inside views about Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

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Pat Bigelow

Fisheries Biologist Pat Bigelow intended to spend just one summer in Montana—until she landed a seasonal job working on Yellowstone Lake. Several decades and a Ph.D. in fish and wildlife management later, she’s now a fisheries biologist for Yellowstone National Park. We recently caught up with Pat about her role in preserving the park’s native fish population.

important to the environment, but they also provide an opportunity for people to personally connect with the ecosystem.

What efforts is the National Park Service involved in to preserve native fish in Yellowstone Lake?

We’re removing lake trout from the population to give cutthroat the ability to rebuild their numbers and approach population levels that we had in the 1980s—which were much higher than today. We utilize crews that directly remove the lake trout through gillnetting. And with the levels of effort we’ve been exerting over the last few years, we’re seeing a substantial decrease in the adult lake trout out there. However, we’re not able to gillnet all the lake trout out of Yellowstone Lake, so we’ve been researching alternative methods for removing them. The last few years we’ve been working with graduate students on ideas for eradicating lake trout eggs and fry from spawning areas, as well as using telemetry to inform the strategy of our gillnetters.

How did you come to work for Yellowstone?

I grew up in Vermont and expected to live there for the rest of my life, but thought it would be wise to spend a summer in a completely different environment. I got a work-study job in Bozeman, Montana, and later discovered a seasonal job with the Young Adult Conservation Corps in Yellowstone. I worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and we’d spend the whole day on Yellowstone Lake—that’s when I really fell in love with the park. After that, I worked for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Colorado, California, Washington, Montana, and Idaho, until the fisheries biologist position in Yellowstone became available.

How has Yellowstone Forever supported the Native Fish Conservation Program?

What challenges are facing fisheries in Yellowstone?

In addition to providing funding for the program, Yellowstone Forever has been hugely supportive in giving people the opportunity to help preserve the native fisheries through education and by simply spreading the word. You can’t achieve public support without education.

In Yellowstone Lake—my area of focus—lake trout predation is the biggest challenge for the lake’s native fish, Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Lake trout aren’t native to the lake, and because cutthroat trout didn’t evolve with other fish predators, they have no defense strategy. Lake trout are super-efficient predators and they can easily decimate the cutthroat population.

What can park visitors do to help preserve Yellowstone’s native fish?

Why are native fish so important to the Yellowstone ecosystem?

Go fishing! Visitors can keep as many lake trout as they catch. They’re pretty tasty when cooked—especially the smaller ones—or you can even try canning them. Just keep in mind cutthroat trout are catch-and-release only. Get out on the lake and catch some lake trout!

I was fortunate to work here when the cutthroat population was extremely healthy, so I remember what it was like to see thousands of them running up a stream, or to see grizzly bears fishing along the lake. Yellowstone’s cutthroat trout are one way the aquatic ecosystem connects with the terrestrial, and it’s important to do all that we can to preserve the integrity of these connections. On top of that, Yellowstone cutthroat are a beautiful fish, and they’re easy to catch. Not only are they

Yellowstone Forever is proud to support the park’s Native Fish Conservation Program. Learn more about the program—and how you can help support it—by visiting



The Marvels of Raptor Migration By Joshua Theurer, Institute Lead Instructor

We watched in silence as the feathered form rose effortlessly on an invisible column of rising air. The Swainson’s hawk maneuvered in tight curves in the atmosphere, forming an ascending spiral. My mind reeled as it tried to put the mechanical pieces together: wings shaped with just the right lines and proportions to create lift, hollow bones resulting in a light but strong frame, and both skeletal and muscular adaptations allowing the bird to hold the wings steady in the dynamic air. But we did not gather to contemplate the mechanics of flight; we were here to witness the marvels of migration. The waning daylight hours of autumn is the primary stimulant for raptor migration, exciting the pituitary gland to release hormones that agitate the creature. However, the raptor will wait until environmental conditions, such as a change in weather, push it to the brink before initiating the incredible journey. Migrating during the day lets the raptors take advantage of a huge energy saving strategy: the ability to soar aloft thermals. These columns of air rise like a vortex from the warming ground below and allow the animal to hitch a ride, utilizing almost none of its own energy to gain altitude. Once the bird has reached the apex of the thermal it glides to the next column and repeats the process, ultimately traversing vast distances in search of resources. Amazingly, this Swainson’s hawk will exploit such techniques to arrive in the grasslands of Argentina before winter. Hayden Valley is an excellent place to catch these migrants as they pass from nesting to wintering ranges. Each September, as the days grow ever shorter, you can join other birders as they peer into the depths of the blue bowl overhead, in search of these feathered forms and in awe of the magnificence of raptor migration.

YQ |  17



All Teachers!



Whether you’re looking to share the wonders of Yellowstone with your students or make the natural world come alive in your classroom, the Yellowstone Forever Institute has a program for you! And thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we offer several ways to help bring you to Yellowstone:



By Barbara Lee Art Elizabeth Mordensky

During fall and early winter, the mountain ash becomes a magnet for Yellowstone’s birds, including rakishly handsome Cedar and Bohemian waxwings. Roving flocks of waxwings devour the berrylike red fruit—the more fermented the fruit, the greater the birds’ noisy enthusiasm. Look for this small-tomedium-sized tree in the park’s woodlands and open areas, and along Mountain Ash Trail and Mountain Ash Creek in Yellowstone’s southwest corner.

• Apply for financial aid to take one of our in-depth Field Seminars

• Bring your students to

participate in one of our handson youth programs

• Sign up for a teacher workshop at a reduced rate

To learn more or apply, call 406.848.2400 or visit


By Barbara Lee Art Elizabeth Mordensky

“And as the hermit’s evening hymn goes up from the deep solitude within me,” wrote naturalist John Burroughs, “I experience that serene exaltation of sentiment of which music, literature, and religion are but the faint types and symbols.” The hermit thrush—a modest, brown bird with an exquisite song—frequents Yellowstone’s woods, thickets, and forest floor, and can be recognized by its flute-like notes and the slow drop of its rust-red tail when perched.

Participants at the April meeting in Bozeman, Montana.

Yellowstone Explores Partnerships, Strengthens Relations with American Indian Tribes

“Yellowstone National Park is a region that has been and continues to be important for as many as 26 different tribes,” observes Robert Petty, director of education at Yellowstone Forever. To honor those connections, explore partnership opportunities, and build relationships between Yellowstone National Park and American Indian tribes, Yellowstone Forever hosted a gathering in Bozeman, Montana, on April 11, 2017. Those in attendance included leadership from Yellowstone Forever, the Salish Kootenai College, the Blackfeet Community College, the Intertribal Agriculture Council, Montana State University, the National Park Service, Montana Conservation Corps, and other stakeholders. “The purpose of the meeting was to bring together tribal leaders and partners to begin building stronger relationships that forge a positive collaborative future shaped by trust, common purpose, and mutual connections as Yellowstone Forever embraces its commitment to diversity and inclusion in our future work,” explains Petty. The meeting began with an opening prayer, an honor drum song, and introductions of all participants. Through presentations and smaller group brainstorming sessions, the attendees spent the day exploring areas of opportunity for collaboration in environmental education, research, food sovereignty, youth engagement, agriculture, and economic development. Each group then identified at least three points that would be appropriate next steps. “As the official nonprofit of Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone Forever has a unique opportunity to play a key role in this partnership,” says Heather White, president & CEO of Yellowstone Forever. “We are committed to embracing diversity and inclusion both within our organization and in Yellowstone National Park and look forward to what lies ahead for the future of this partnership.”

YQ |  19


MANY THANKS! We wish to acknowledge those who contributed to Yellowstone Forever between January 1, 2017, and June 30, 2017. Because of space constraints, the following list includes contributions of $1,000 or more and Special Tribute gifts. Your support — regardless of size —  plays a critical role in connecting people to Yellowstone. YELLOWSTONE SOCIETY

$10,000 – $24,999

Kathy and Ed Fronheiser Penny and A.C. Hubbard Axson and Bryan Morgan Kathleen Parrish and Doug Spencer Nancy and Richard Severance Cappy and Bob Shopneck

$5,000 - $9,999

Tracy Arthur* Barbara and George Beal Colleen Begley and Slim Seamus Tucker Bounds Shari Burns Claire Campbell and Brian Makare Chris and John Cavanaugh Mary Chisholm and John Schuldt Marguerite and Tom Detmer Jo Ann and Bert Eder Betty Jean and Thomas Eubanks Barbara Martin Kelli and William Ritter Joan and Rufus Taylor

$2,500 - $4,999

Catherine Aves David Burday* Joy Carlough* Katherine Cattanach and David Charles* Karen and Kent Cochran Leslie and Thomas Croyle* Sandra and Jeffrey Dunning Charlene and Jim Eckman Frederick Fox Janet and Churchill Franklin Tamara and Martin Hicks Mary Beth and Thomas Lukas Deborah and Dale Nickels Mary Beth and Charlie O’Reilly Mary and William Redmond Carolyn Rosin* Lillian Stephens Ashley Sullivan

$1,000 - $2,499

Anne and John Allen O. Steven Anderson Jane and Anthong Arnold JB and Brown Atkins

Cathy and Stuart Barnes Warren Bergholz* Nancy and Theodore Berndt Janet and Michael Brown Jeff Cadwell Debra Caruso and JD Davis* Susan and James Clay Linda and Tim Cohane Patricia and John Connolly Kathryn and Danny Dansby Catherine and Brooks Darby Thomas Doneker Bari and Peter Dreissigacker Mary Kay Eberle Jo Ann and Bert Eder Debbie and John Edgcomb Gloria and Ross Edwards Jason Emert Linda and Robert Fenner Beverly and Richard Garnet Cleo and Michael Gewirz Jo Giese and Ed Warren Dave Gregg Janet and Charles Haas Sherrie Hald Dianne and Cline Hickok Lyda Hill Ellen and Bruce Hill John Howell Deanne Jackson Scott Johnson Judy Johnson and Hubert M. Lattan Kay and Matt Johnson* Leslie Johnson Jeanne and David Jones Barbara and Kenneth Kaufman Michael Koehl Katherine Korba and Ray Laible* Joan and Louis Lauch Carolyn and Mark Lillehaugen Rebecca and Richard Loftus Sally and David Long Nathan Lord Gigi and Mike Louden Clark MacKenzie Sue Marler Ronald McDaniel Krista and Michael McIntyre Megan Meagher* Jim Nelson Paulette Pallazzolo and Robert Flora Dana Phippen


Cindy Pigott Grace and Matthew Rhoades Sigridlinda Rivington* Celeste and Mike Rooney Dennis Rowe Kim and Alan Roylance Barbara and Franklin Shekore Loretta Stadler Carol and Mark Stein Joan and Mark Strobel Keith Suchy Anne and Andrew Suk Kelly and Len Trout Barbara Trueman Karen Uhlenbeck and Robert Williams Van Vanderwal Rita Vasquez-Myers and Brys Myers Jayne Visser Kim Waters and Larry Rogers Pamela and David Waud Joseph Willhelm Amy and Charlie Wunsch Barbara and Donald Zucker *Yellowstone Guardian – our sustainable monthly giving program


The following donors made a contribution as a tribute to someone or something special in their lives. In memory of Helen Amundsen

Donald Amundsen

In honor of Ann Azevedo

Teresa Digenova

In memory of Franklin I. Bacheller

David Lancy

In honor of Becky and Rod

Nathan Seidle

In memory of Bella

Lisa Lloyd

In memory of Bob Barbee

Don Castleberry, Jon Erickson, Trevor Povah, John Robbins, Jack Stark, Robert Utley In memory of Patricia Bauernfeind

Jessica French

In honor of Tim Bogg

Jeff Bogg

In memory of Kenneth Boggs

Lee Barhaugh, Brenda Letang, Merlin Voegele In memory of Ruby and William Bowler

Betty Bowler, Tom Bowler In memory of Lori Lee BrotzmanMorris and John Joseph Morris Jr.

Glenn Morris

In memory of Robert Bryant

Linda Bryant*

In honor of Jeanette Burton

Lanore Wadsworth

In honor of Rick Caldwell

Alison Caldwell

In memory of Tanner Chamberlain

Suzanne Oquendo

In memory of Bette Chasin

Kathy and Ed Fronheiser In memory of Harold R. Cheuvront

Maggie and Bill Young

In memory of George Denham

Justin Shaw

In honor of Stella and Alphonso DiPasqua

Carolyn and Bill Dempsey In memory of John Elkin

Michelle Elkin

In memory of Richmond M. Eustis, Sr.

Catherine and Richmond Eustis In memory of Jerry Fletcher

Stanley Cohen, Jaclyn Gelzheiser, Terry Sippin In memory of Robert James Flynn

Katherine Boyd

In honor of Emily Fowler

Virginia Fowler

In memory of Sally Lee Fryda

Blaine Fryda

In honor of Becky and Rod Gilles

Debbie Gilles

In memory of Michael Glavanovich

Shayla Burnett, Susan and Paul Ewing-Decou, Steven Fryberger, Fred Fuller, Keith Womer

C.T. Harriman, Joseph Hart, Sharon Laney, Jerald Leonhardt, Mark Olson, Kimberly Shaw, Diane Sloane, Giles Smith, Laura Stone, Elizabeth Willis, Marla Young

In honor of Amanda Stump

In memory of “Betsy” Mote

In memory of Gloria Swann

In memory of James Musgrove

In memory of Vera Tonjum

Anais Cordebard

In memory of Kelly G. Greer

Mary and Richard Greer

Claudine Pedersen

In honor of Kathleen Gurnard

Vinent Gurnard

In memory of Bunny Nuss

Clara and Horace Smith Eric Walters

Claudia Flowers, Sara Tornay Daddy, Mama, Angelia, Eric, Jordan, Remy , Abby and Kristi

Kris Dunn, Adelaide and Robert Haraden

In honor of Logan Trowt

In honor of Tom Offutt

In memory of Willie Wallace

In honor of Carolyn Heppel

In honor of Mary and Bob O’Malley

Margaret Holzer

In memory of Jack Arthur Wallgren

Anne Fisher, Jean Lewis In honor of Scott Heppel

In honor of John and Christine Overmier

In memory of Don Wasson

In memory of Adelaide Haraden

Dana Blizzard, Merv Olson

In memory of Connie Heilman

Beth Jenkins

Caroline McClure

Michael Pollard

Susan Guenther

In memory of Nate Herrington

Wendy Joly Lisa Fisher

Amy Anichini, Earl Hooper, Jane Pearson, Daniel Tillotson Kirsten Munighan

Marion Buckley, Elizabeth Dickey, Elaine and Steve Keonig, Krista, Michael and Aidan McIntyre, Jim Rossman

In memory of Vera Packer

In memory of Joyce Weldon

In memory of Chuck Pass

In memory of Anne Whitbeck

In honor of Margee Husemann

In memory of Dick Pate

William Bass, Caroline McClure Don Francis

Kelly Kirk

Katherine Farris

In memory of E. Leon Jaeger

In memory of Helen and Bobbie Phippen

Melissa Bellis

Dana Phippen

In memory of Kim H. Johns

Curtis Ribando

In honor of Jim Plummer

Lisa Richter

In memory of Dori Johnson

Peggy Lange, Dale Hodgkins

In honor of Maria, Jan, Ty and Steve

Joyce Kayim

In memory of Dusty Johnson

Roger Malcolm

In memory of Melvin Ray Petty

Steve Centimole

In memory of Susan Marie Johnson

L. Burton

In memory of Dorothy Pinson

Jay Anders, Corinne Carland, Eugene Carrick, Robert Krisko, Mitzi Lutz, Kathy and Tom Morris, Stephen Purifoy, Teresa Roland, Melanie Vickers

In memory of Vienna and Arthur Keskitalo

Betty Bowler, Tom Bowler In memory of Sally J. Labay

Joe Labay

In memory of Betty and Tom Pirtle

Robert Sarratt

In memory of Susan V. Kraft

Lindsay Robb

In memory of Michael C. Ramsey

Jennifer Ramsey

In memory of the White Lady

Lou Wilson

In memory of Robert A. Rasmussen

Patti Miller

In honor of Charles Langdon

Jennifer Batek

In honor of Mel Ratliff

Deborah and John Daniel

In memory of Paul Goethe

In memory of Eleanor “Ellie” Magyar

In memory of Barry Dale Graham

In honor of Eric Malecki

Robert Bloodworth, Gene Clary, William Gooden, Melody Graham, Carole Graham, Robert Granow, Patricia and

In honor of David Morris

Kelly Shaw

In memory of Elizabeth Macfarland Webber

Greg Spahn

In memory of Kyla A. Smith

Mary Sue Johnson

In memory of Sandy Godsey and Canyon Lodge Savage

Harlan H. Grooms Jr.

In memory of Keith Mielke

In honor of Peter Ruschp

Amanda Cote

Nancy Baggaley, Mitchell Morer Ariel DeFelice

In memory of Lew McEver

Roger Dustan

Carolyn Ruschp

In honor of Andrea Saul

Rebecca Schumacher In honor of Cort Schlichting

Mary Schlichting

In honor of Jene and John Schreiner

Angelica Ortiz

YQ |  21

Joanne Pugliani

Marcia Barber, Lois Downing, Keith Jimmerson, Lynette Johnston, Nancy Pesman, Peter Pollock, David Robertson, Jeffrey Wheeler, Noel Young In memory of Mr. Kay Wieland

Elaine Moss

In honor of Mary E. Williams

Anne Glenn

In honor of Steve Williams

Norbert Gottschling

In memory of L.D. Young Jr.

Jerilyn Cottom, Alexia Greiner, Mary Hilton, Coryn Lloyd Every effort has been made to ensure that this list is accurate and complete. We apologize if your name has been omitted or otherwise improperly reported. Please contact us at 406.848.2400 if you feel this is the case so we can correct our records.

PO Box 117, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190 406 | 848 | 2400

Join the Yellowstone Community! Whether you are in the park or at home, we can help you stay connected to the park you love. Visit our website for current reports from the field and updates on park projects, and subscribe to our email list for updates. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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