NOTES FROM THE FIELD GREATER YELLOWSTONE
Evan Iskenderian - Jackson Lang - Brooke Meredith - Michael Romney Lone Peak High School Student Researchers
Several years ago, we of the University of Montana began our relationship with Lone Peak High School by assisting with the Capstone project, then a requirement for all LPHS students. Over the past three academic years, through our UM outreach programs, including the Greater Yellowstone Initiative, I have had the great pleasure of mentoring two teams of students completing a requisite of the school's International Baccalaureate Degree, the CAS program (Creativity, Action, and Service). In this case, the students have been doing research and writing to share what they have learned with the community's people through Big Sky’s newspaper. Teaching is a privilege, and I thank the LPHS administration and the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation for their faith in our abilities. And I am grateful to Dr. Kate Eisele, LPHS Science Teacher for her help in class and in the field.
Rick Graetz – University of Montana Geographer
Through this project that I have participated in over the past academic year has been an amazing experience - learning more about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and all the abundant wildlife that call it home. I have also had the opportunity to partake in bringing all that I have learned to the public through articles and feel I have become a better writer. I am proud that I will be able to call Big Sky my forever home, even though I will be graduating from LHPS later this spring. I will be going to Arizona State University in the fall to study nursing and hopefully further push my education to become a specialized nurse.
This project has demonstrated the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's intricacies—the most impactful ecosystem I experienced in my life. Spending 13 years in Big Sky, the assignment has provided a unique opportunity to research animal movement, local issues, geography and the ecosystem's future. What's more, I'm proud to communicate this information to my community and encourage everyone to enjoy the unique and beautiful place where we live.
Next year, I will be attending Duke University, where I am entirely undecided on my major.
Over the last year, I have enjoyed working with my peers and University of Montana Professor Rick Graetz to learn more about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, including researching fire regimes, mountain peaks, and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
Next year I will be attending Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. I plan on studying environmental science and economics.
I've thoroughly enjoyed spending time in and learning about the Greater Yellowstone area during this CAS project. I've been able to experience its natural beauty on hiking and cross-country ski outings. I also learned about the area's intricacies, including its wildlife, plant life, and geographic features. The GYE is truly a unique place, and I'm grateful that I have such seemingly unlimited access to it.
After high school, I hope to attend college in the Midwest or on the East Coast, although I have not decided where yet. My major is also undecided, but I am interested in studying something related to business.
This collaborative endeavor with University of Montana professor Rick Graetz has provided these four seniors a tremendous opportunity to learn more about their backyard through exploration and research, develop their writing skills, and provide an invaluable service to the readers of the Lone Peak Lookout and the citizens of Big Sky. I've been fortunate to have all four individuals as students in DP Biology and share their experiential learning about the GYE through grade level expeditions, a cross country ski adventure, and a special visit with USFS wildlife biologist Randy Scarlett. I look forward to seeing where their post-graduation endeavors take them.
Dr. Kate Eisele LPHS Teacher