Rhodes Students Learn in the Great Outdoors of Wyoming

(l-r) first row: Kaelee Overfield, Ema Wagner, Claire McGuire, Megan King, Mallory Earle, Andy Astorga, and Charlie-Paul Leblanc; second row: Tolly Maloney, Anna Browning, Mickey Babcock, Katherine Hancock, Caroline Sutton

Eleven Rhodes students participated this June in the Rocky Mountain Ecology Maymester through the Teton Science Schools in Kelly, WY. Since 1967, the schools have been teaching science courses through place-based education in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). 

The students are Andy Astorga, Anna Browning, Mallory Earle, Katherine Hancock, Megan King, Charlie-Paul LeBlanc, Tolly Maloney, Claire McGuire, Kaelee Overfield, Caroline Sutton, and Ema Wagner.

“As an environmental studies major, getting hands-on experience in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem was so valuable in understanding how to look at the environment through a new perspective while learning in the most beautiful landscape,” says Maloney.

The ecology course was split into four sections, one for each week of the course. During the first week through fieldwork, students were acclimated to each GYE community. The second week included four nights of camping in Yellowstone, where the students continued their ecology work. Students constructed their own research projects the third week and studied studied social-ecological systems the last week. 

As part of their fieldwork, participants also observed adolescent and adult bison, measured ground cover of an uncharted section of a major landform, and sampled water quality from different sections of a major waterway in northwestern Wyoming. 

The Rhodes students had the chance to meet alumna Mickey Babcock, who established the Rhodes-Teton Science Schools collaboration, over a meal at the Kelly campus of Teton Science Schools. They also were able to discuss their major areas of study at Rhodes and how the ecology class has enhanced their lives, both academically and personally. 

By Katherine Hancock ’19