Rocky Mountain Nature Association Field Seminars
Rachel Balduzzi Field Seminars Manager
As winter fades to spring, many changes are taking place in the mountains. The snow is melting, animals are moving about, and the Rocky Mountain Nature Association (RMNA) Field Seminars Program is busy taking reservations for its 2011 educational classes. This year, more than 81 seminars offer classes on a wide variety of topics for all ages. Most seminars are scheduled to begin at the Field Seminar Center and then move into the Park to take advantage of its unique beauty and spectacular wildlife.
RMNA Field Seminars fill a unique niche in the Estes Valley by providing adult and children’s classes on natural and cultural history, art, photography, and outdoor skills. Adults can learn more about local history in Estes Valley: History and Historic Sites on July 15th and August 12th. Curt Buchholtz, the executive director of RMNA, will lead participants on a unique tour of the historic sites in and around Rocky Mountain National Park. The seminar includes lunch at an historic lodge and lots of great conversation. The new course Enos Mills’ Wildlife: Then and Now will explore the changes in Rocky Mountain National Park’s wildlife populations over time and how some of these observations were noted in the works of park activist Enos Mills. Other cultural seminars include Native American astronomy and seminars exploring the journey of Arapaho elders through the Park and the legacy of the names they left behind for many of the prominent Park features.
Photographers will enjoy learning more about how to make the most of cusp seasons, such as spring and fall, with John Fielder in Photographing RMNP with John Fielder: Be Productive in the In-Between Seasons. Glenn Randall will return to teach Landscape Photography and instructors such as Lee Kline help folks learn more about their digital cameras in Introduction to Outdoor Photography and Digital Photography in RMNP: Advanced Techniques. He will also show how to make the most of photographs once they have been taken in the digital processing course Magnificent Image: Now What?
Artists will find plenty of inspiration in the seminars Capturing Wildflowers in Watercolor with Sherrie York and Paint Your Prose: Creating a Sense of Place Using Nature-Writing Techniques with Mary Taylor Young. Nyla Witmore, a professional artist from Boulder, has returned to teach Sketchbook Journaling for Travelers & Artists.
New cultural and natural history seminars are also being offered. For families interested in hearing about the lives of people who lived in this area many years ago, the seminars in the Campfire Ghost Stories Series: Living History Tales of the West will offer stories of humor, exploration and danger from characters in period costumes. Afterward, time for roasting marshmallows around a campfire and asking questions will be allowed. Other new and exciting offerings include guided overnight backpacking adventures where participants will learn about the ecosystem they are hiking through, an all day hiking series taking participants to locations such as Bierstadt Lake, Bridal Veil Falls, Gem Lake, and the Tundra Ute Trail, and even a trip to Poland on the seminar titled Rocky’s Sister Park: Exploring the Natural and Cultural History of Poland’s Tatra Mountains National Park.
The Estes Park Treasure Hunt has returned as a seminar for children and families. It will focus on GPS navigation and natural history. Children will use hand-held GSP units to learn more about the natural history of Estes Valley. Art Adventures will also return this year during the month of July and provide budding artists with the opportunity to learn about nature and to express their observations through their art. We are also offering Who Pooped in the Woods? A Mammal Mystery, a course designed to teach kids how to spot and identify animal tracks and scat, and to learn which animals these items belong to. A family astronomy course is also offered on August 5th, designed to introduce folks to the basic structure of the universe, design of telescopes, and sky observation techniques.
The 2011 Field Seminars program will provide opportunities for families, children and adults to learn about the mysteries and beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park. For additional information about these seminars or to register, call 586-3262 or go online to www.rmna.org.