The Yellowstone Association Institute (YAI) will offer several options of winter classes in Yellowstone for visitors to “Wildlife Central” – the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park.
“We have worked hard to expand our offerings in winter to appeal to more participants by providing catered meals with specific programs and offering bedding for rent in our cabins,” said Jenny Golding, director of education for the non-profit YAI. “Our participants have been rewarded over the years with some of the best winter wildlife watching in all of North America.”
Golding noted that last year was an exciting time on Yellowstone’s northern range, particularly the “Little America” area just 15 minutes from the Institute’s historic Lamar Buffalo Ranch Field Campus where four different wolf packs – the Lamar Canyon Pack, Agate Creek Pack, Blacktail Pack and the Mollie’s Pack – engaged in various interactions such as fighting over territory and competing for food. At least a portion of the Mollie’s pack is rumored to have pups nearby this summer, and by winter they will be ready to make their appearances.
This winter YAI’s winter classes in Yellowstone consist of 33 Field Seminars, including 14 new programs and 23 offered at the Buffalo Ranch.
YAI’s lineup of Field Seminars features a range of programs focusing on topics such as wildlife viewing, photography, tracking and more. Examples of this upcoming winter’s program titles include New Year’s Wildlife Watching, Photographing Winter Sun, Snow and Stars; and Yellowstone Winter Serengeti.
Participants in most seminars bring and prepare their own meals, but YAI introduced Lamar Valley Wolf Weeks two years ago featuring seminars with capacities of 19 people.
This program features in-field observation led by Institute naturalists and guest experts. These programs are offered when the park hotels are not open so guests practically have the park to themselves. Lamar Valley Wolf Week will be held Dec. 3-7, 2012 and March 4-8, 12-16 and 17-21, 2013. The programs are limited to 19 participants, and the minimum age is 12. Rates are $620 for members of the Yellowstone Association. Catered meals, use of snowshoes, instruction and in-park transportation are included. Accommodations are at the Buffalo Ranch.
The Buffalo Ranch is comprised of simple and comfortable log cabins and a common building where participants attend classroom sessions, eat their meals and socialize. Beds are available for $30 per person per night, and YAI rents bedding for $20 in the winter for those who prefer to travel lightly. Private cabins are available for $75 per night for up to 3 people.
Field Seminars are also held at the Yellowstone Overlook Field Campus in Gardiner, Mont. where participants stay in two three-bedroom, two-bathroom modern log cabins for up to 12 people and a two-bedroom, one-bathroom cabin for up to five people.
In addition to its Field Seminars, YAI offers Private Tours and Lodging & Learning programs. Private Tours are tailored for families and small groups and typically focus on wildlife watching, natural history and geology, thermal features and hiking. Lodging & Learning programs are offered in partnership with lodge operator Xanterra Parks and Resorts and combine daily field trips with comfortable lodging in park hotels at night.
Reservations for Field Seminars, Private Tours and cabins at the Yellowstone Overlook Field Campus and Lamar Buffalo Ranch can be made by calling 1-406-848-2400. For Lodging & Learning program reservations call 1-866-439-7375. For more information about any Institute program visit www.YellowstoneAssociation.org or FaceBook.com/YellowstoneAssociation.
For information about becoming a member visit www.YellowstoneAssociation.org/membership/.
The Yellowstone Association Institute is a non-profit field school operated by the Yellowstone Association in partnership with the National Park Service. The Institute was founded in 1976 and offers more than 500 courses each year on the park’s plants, animals, geology and history. Courses are based at the organization’s Lamar Buffalo Ranch and Yellowstone Overlook field campuses, at park hotels, and in the backcountry.
The Yellowstone Association was founded in 1933 to foster the public’s understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of Yellowstone National Park and its surrounding ecosystem. In addition to operating the Institute on a break-even basis, the Association manages educational bookstores and a membership program that generate revenues for the National Park Service. Since its inception, the organization has raised more than $30 million for Yellowstone.
To receive a course catalog or for more information, go to www.YellowstoneAssociation.org. or write to the Yellowstone Association at PO Box 117, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190 or call 406-848-2400.