Rocky Mountain National Park Lyceum Series Continues March 13 & 20
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363
2010 Lyceum Series
Saturday, March 13, 7:00 p.m. - Our Great Nature
Mike Whatley is currently the Chief of the National Park Service’s Office of Education and Outreach, which is a part of the Service-wide Natural Resource Program Center. Although Mike’s program is a part of the Washington Office operation, he works in Fort Collins, along with some 200 other natural resource specialists. Mike has close to 40 years of experience with the National Park Service, and has had field ranger positions at Lake Meade, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Grand Canyon, Morristown, and Cape Cod. He has also had a variety of international experiences including National Park Service assignments in Canada, Jordan, and Israel.
Saturday, March 20, 7:00 p.m. - Monitoring Climate Change and Alpine Vegetation in the Wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park
This presentation will describe the importance of alpine ecosystems and the results from our initial monitoring efforts in Rocky Mountain National Park. Dr. Isabel Ashton, an ecologist with the National Park Service Rocky Mountain Inventory and Monitoring (I & M) Network in Fort Collins, will discuss the benefits and difficulties of monitoring wilderness and the role that the I&M Program plays in providing scientifically credible long-term data to aid in the management of wilderness areas within national parks.
The I & M network has developed programs to monitor climate, grassland and alpine vegetation, wetlands, and the ecological integrity of streams for a grouping of western national park areas. Prior to working for the NPS, Dr. Ashton was a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, Irvine and Niwot Ridge Long-Term Ecological Research Site. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a doctorate degree in Ecology and Evolution from the State University of New York.
In March, 2009, President Obama signed legislation providing additional protection to Rocky Mountain National Park by designating most of the park’s backcountry as wilderness, which encompasses roughly 95 percent of the park. Park staff joined the gateway communities of Grand Lake and Estes Park in welcoming the passage by the Congress of the wilderness designation for the park’s backcountry. This was the culmination of an effort that began in 1974 by President Richard Nixon and was jump started in recent years through the efforts of many.
The theme of the 2010 Lyceum Series is “Wilderness: Of What Avail Are Forty Freedoms Without A Blank Spot On The Map?” the famous quote from Aldo Leopold. This year’s series
will focus on how wilderness influences what we do as stewards of this incredible national park. Speakers will highlight what wilderness means spiritually, physically, as part of naturally functioning systems, as part of our psyche as a nation, and how it guides our decisions on management decisions at Rocky Mountain National Park.
The Lyceum schedule runs through May. Financial support for the lyceum series is provided by the park’s nonprofit partner, the Rocky Mountain Nature Association. Programs are free and open to the public. They are held at 7:00 p.m. at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center auditorium in Rocky Mountain National Park.
For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please call (970) 586-1206.
Did You Know?
The oldest rocks in the park are metamorphic (biotite schist and gneiss) estimated at 1.7 billion years old, making them some of the oldest rocks within the National Park System.