This week the Maymester Rocky Mountain Ecology program kicks off at the Kelly Campus of Teton Science Schools. Fourteen students from Rhodes College will be spending the next four weeks in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem learning about the ecology, natural history, and social-ecological systems of this place and receiving college credit from Rhodes for their work. The first week, the students are at the Kelly Campus learning about the community ecology of Grand Teton National Park. The second week of the course will be in Yellowstone National Park and will focus on the geology of the area and trophic cascades in Yellowstone. In the third week of the course, students will engage in week-long research projects from the Kelly Campus. During the final week of the course, Rhodes students will shadow local field scientists and discuss the social and ecological issues relevant in this community. 

Recently, Teton Science Schools’ Graduate Program alumna Kim Thompson (formerly Mapp) shared a blog entry on her Master’s research about the efficacy of the field-based approach in the Rocky Mountain Ecology Course. Teton Science Schools is lucky to have a close connection to Rhodes, a partnership with benefits for both organizations. Rhodes College students have gone on to be graduate students, AmeriCorps interns, instructors, and other roles across Teton Science Schools. This year, for example, Rhodes College and Graduate Program alumna Megan Matthews will return to teach part of the Rocky Mountain Ecology program with two other Graduate Program alumni, Ben Johnson and Charlie Reinertsen. Meanwhile, Anna Singletary and Colin Rye, current Rhodes College students and alumni of the Maymester course, are working as a TSS intern and AmeriCorps member this summer.  

While they are here at TSS, the fourteen students in this summer’s course will be writing regular blogs as part of a course journal assignment. The blog for the program can be found here; it will have regular, daily updates, except when the group is in Yellowstone.  At the end of the course, we will highlight a few of the student blog entries here on the TSS blog; however, if you would like to follow along while the course is in progress, please check out their blog now!