“Ten Days Till Yellowstone!”

As the school year winds down, our group of 12 intrepid educators is getting ready for an educational adventure: our 2024 Yellowstone Institute. Early on June 13, we will board our first flight towards Bozeman, Montana, arriving in the park later that day. We’ll spend ten days taking a deep dive into Yellowstone’s ecology, geology, and history as we rise early to watch wildlife, explore some of the park’s many trails, and learn from experts and each other.

At the Museum, our staff leads have been finalizing the schedule, packing binoculars and spotting scopes, printing stickies for everyone’s journals (including maps, our itinerary, and daily team assignments), and cramming just a little bit more Yellowstone knowledge into our brains.

Some of our participating educators have shared how they’re preparing, too…

From Jessica Pichan: “Once May comes, things get a bit hectic at school with the EOGs quickly approaching, so it has been nice to have our Yellowstone trip as a light at the end of this tunnel! I am getting ready for Yellowstone by making sure that my family goes hiking each weekend. Last weekend our hike was one that created core memories because it involved a quest to find cicadas. I am going to make sure that I start walking on the treadmill at the gym with increased elevation again during the week… I started out the year strong in preparation, but have fallen off a bit.

teacher smiling at camera while holding a bug

Jessica Pichan with a periodical cicada

“Yellowstone has been on my bucket list for a long time and I cannot wait to soak in the views and to learn things that I would not if I were to go with my family alone. Our youngest daughter (5) has Type 1 Diabetes, so I worry about something happening while I am so far away, but I know that she will be safe and in the most capable hands with my husband. I realize that I cannot pour from an empty cup and I know that this adventure will recharge me in ways that I cannot even begin to put into words. I am so incredibly grateful to have been chosen to be a member of this Yellowstone cohort!”

toiletries on a surface

Laura Walkup has already started packing: “I’m getting ready for Yellowstone, so I’m taking stock of my toiletries by making a list and checking it twice! I’ve also gathered my journal, art supplies and writing materials. So excited to see new sites with my new friends!”

Allyson McFalls shared how she’s combining Yellowstone prep with a field trip for her students!

teacher and 3 students on a fire tower

Allyson and students on a fire tower

From Allyson: “As part of my Yellowstone training, as well as an effort to get our students out of the school while other grades were testing, my teammate and I took our sixth grade class hiking at Moses Cone along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The weather looked dicey all week (at one point forecasts were calling for hail and high winds!), but thankfully the morning of our hike, things were just overcast. We completed the 5 mile hike with 30+ students in under two hours, including climbing to the top of the fire tower for some incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. My hiking boots seem well broken in, and over 20,000 steps later, I’m sure that all the kids slept well that night. I’m looking forward to the new terrain and challenge of the Yellowstone trails, as well as all the new plant and animal species we’ll see along the way.”

We hope you’ll follow our adventures as we post blogs on our Yellowstone Institute from June 13-22. Send questions our way by leaving comments on our posts, and we’ll do our best to get back to you!