Friday night - super-special opportunity (optional) just for WY Naturalists
5 pm: Northern saw-whet owl banding on Casper Mountain. Meet at the Tate Geological Mu-seum parking lot (2332 Lisco Dr., Casper) at 5 pm to carpool and caravan up the mountain. Parking is very limited at the banding cabin. Dress warmly and bring food and water for the evening.
10 am: Naturalists’ River Walk along the Platte River (optional). Zach will tell us about efforts to restore habitat to the river. Bring binoculars and hand lenses—you never know what we might find! Meet at the Izaak Walton League Lodge, 4205 Fort Caspar Rd, Casper.
Noon-3: Annual meeting at the Izaak Walton League Lodge, 4205 Fort Caspar Rd, Casper. Door open at 11:30. Lunch will be served at noon.
1 pm: Andrea Orabona, WGFD non-game biologist, will present on burrowing owl migration (see flyer at the end for more info)
Followed by: Recognition of Wyoming Naturalists’ training and service
Whether you plan to attend or not, please submit your volunteer hours on Serve Wyoming’s site and log your advanced training hours here by September 16 so that we can honor the commitment of ALL Wyoming Naturalists. Instructions to use Serve Wyoming’s site can be found on the WNP website.
Register for the annual meeting and owl banding here - Please register by September 16 so we can order lunch for you.
Camping is available at the Izaak Walton League’s Fort Caspar Campground (adjacent to the lodge). For more information and to make reservations, visit their website https://www.fortcasparcamp.com/ If camping in late September isn’t for you, Casper has many hotels to choose from.
by Meredith Taylor, WY Certified Naturalist
Camp Bighorn was hosted by the National Bighorn Sheep Center on August 8-11, 2022 at the Whiskey Mountain Conservation Camp in Torrey Valley near Dubois.
The camp includes four days of education and natural history activities such as wild edible and medici-nal plants ethnobotany, field journaling, wildlife art, water ecology, petroglyph exploration, fly fishing, fire ecology, kayaking Torrey Creek, and more.
The natural history of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem was shared by the students as local flora and fauna. The ethnobotany hike involved plant identification including edible and medicinal plant uses. Students were interested to learn they could gather delicious pine nuts from pine cones; pick sweet berries of currants, gooseberries, service berries and chokecherries; eat rose hips fruits from wild rose plants for vitamin C; gather grain from Indian rice grass and Basin wild rye; make willow water as a liquid Salix species or aspirin drink; collect arnica and plantain to make anti-inflammatory salve; pick wild tarragon to season meat; and eat dandelions, biscuitroot and other plants for greens. Ethnobotany was documented by each student in their field journal with pressed plants and notes of their edible and medicinal uses.
The Camp Bighorn students discussed how they could learn to gather enough plants to eat as the Native Sheepeater people did to live off the land year around. One day the students took a hike to view the Indian Petroglyphs nearby and we're impressed by the local art worked that were pecked by hand into the rocks. We discussed how the native people may have been migratory to follow the bighorn sheep into the high alpine coun-try each summer and back to winter in Torrey Valley again.
A trip to the National Bighorn Sheep Center demonstrated the importance of wildlife and wildland con-servation to protect the habitat for present and future generations. The students toured the Sheep Center that has been in operation for almost 30 years and is still continuing its conservation message for the future.
by Tony Meena, WY Certified Naturalist
August is a time of summer fun and adventure. From Vedawoo to Yellowstone, every mile of Wyoming has something exciting to discover. In a land of boundless wonders, an ancient hole in the ground can teach us about the past, present and future.
Imagine yourself sitting on the beach, sun shining, sand in your toes. It would be pretty tough to say that you picture Wyoming. Nearly 70 million years ago, this beach paradise could be found near Lovell.
Now picture yourself on an African safari, cheetas on the hunt, flocks of birds crashing like waves above the savanna. Again, this could have been your backyard summer vacation, 10 thousand years ago in happy Lovell.
I was doing this searching near a natural trap cave. This cave is a deep pit in the ground perfectly situated to be easily overlooked yet obvious once it's too late. Formed in the limestone of our once mighty inland sea, this cave is unique for what knowledge it can give after it has taken so much. Layer after layer of time is represented in the soil of the cave. Imagine finding a tree that lived for ten thousand years. Data about wildfires, harshness of winter, even the precipitation received could be inferred. This cave is our ten thousand year old tree.
My task was to find living mammals on the surface near the cave. Mostly mice and pack rats. They represent our current time and known atmospheric conditions.
Using techniques honed over the centuries, a team of expert scientists has found that natural trap cave can unlock the secrets of the history of our climate through bones. The bones of sacrificial wildlife trapped in their layer gives clues about the envi-ronment on the surface at that time. Bone density and other metrics of an animal at a specific layer in the cave represents the atmosphere. Concentrations of various elements in the bones clue us in to how much water was around and what food was abundant.
The deeper you go in the cave, the farther you look back. Given the perfect conditions of the cave, the bones are similar in quality to mummi-fied vs fossilized. By documenting each layer of time down to the element level, much can be seen. With enough data and imagination one can time travel!
While most wouldn't pick vacationing at a hole in the prairie over the beach, I truly enjoyed my stay. Here's to great summers filled with adventure and discovery!
Volunteer Surveys at Habitat Hero Demo Gardens
Cheyenne Botanic Gardens and Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities
7:00am - 9:00am, Twice a month through September 20, 2022
To see dates and times and to register, visit our registration page.
Conduct bird and pollinator surveys alongside Audubon Rockies staff while getting ‘training on the go.’ The information you help us gather will allow us to evaluate the progress of these bird and polli-nator-friendly gardens as they mature. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out all our WNP volunteer opportunities!
It’s time to enter your Advanced Training hours! Fill out the form here.
Mark your calendars!
Tepee Ring Recording Training
August 27, 2022
Glendo State Park, WY
To register email Dan Bach at email@example.com
Bird Banding Trainings
Sept 8 to Sept 12,2022
Location: Casper, WY
Trainings will be held in the mornings. For those interested in the in-person banding workshop, contact Zach directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bird Molt Webinar
7 PM, Sept 8, 2022
Location: Virtual (Zoom)
Watch the WNP email listserv for the webinar link.
Sharing Natural Science with Youth Workshop
Watch the WNP email listserv and this newsletter for more information!