We hope that you all were able to get out and enjoy the long and lovely fall this year.
Even in the southeast corner of the state we were able to enjoy the colorful leaves for a couple of weeks before they all blew off!
It was amazing!
Have hours to report? Frustrated by the old entry system? We have good news!
If you have volunteer hours or advanced trainings you haven’t yet reported, please submit them using our new system, which can be accessed on the Wyoming Naturalist Website here under the “Service” heading. The form is password-protected, and it’s the same password used for accessing the course materials: wnp2022.
Under this new system, you’ll be able to submit service hours, advanced training hours, or both, all on the same form. You will hopefully find that this new system is easier to navigate than the old VolunteerWyoming and Google Forms system. But, if you encounter any errors, please let Mason know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi, I’m Dorothy Tuthill, Associate Director of the UW Biodiversity Institute, and a member of the Wyoming Naturalist Program steering committee. I also help organize the Wyoming BioBlitz, and serve on the boards of the Wyoming Native Plant Society and the American Penstemon Society.
I had the good fortune to be raised by naturalists. My father was an entomologist who specialized in ground-nesting solitary wasps, so we spent many summers in sunny, dry places. Sometimes my father would assign a wasp to each of us kids, and it would be our job to wait patiently until the female returned to her nest with prey. These wasps always cover their entrances with sand, so we would discover not only what she’s feeding her offspring, but also the exact location of the nest entrance. My mother was also trained in biology, and liked to teach introductory zoology.
This isn’t a fair question, since I teach two of them. But my favorite is Mycology! It’s a topic that most people have little familiarity with, but Fungi and fungus-like organisms are way cool. Of course, I also like listening to other people talk—and I learn more in those classes!
For the two years we have been doing this program, my favorite moment has been when we finally get to meet in person in May. There’s nothing better than being outdoors with like-minded people, exploring the natural world.
Another thing I have really liked is taking up nature journaling, which I would not have done without being prompted by the WNP. Nature journaling has refocused my attention when I’m outdoors, and made me a much better observer.
Birds. I seem to be a slow learner when it comes to birds, so I like every opportunity to learn more. But there’s nothing I don’t want to learn more about.
If you can call Wyoming a “patch,” then it’s my favorite. I have a few spots close to home that I visit regularly, and I also enjoy traveling around the state. I keep finding more and more beautiful and/or interesting places that require exploration. My son and his family live in the oak woodlands of California, and I have enjoyed spending time in such a different environment—so much for me to learn about there! But I’m always glad to get back home.
When I was growing up I wanted to be a hermit and live by myself in the woods where nobody would talk to me. I’m glad it didn’t work out that way!
This is a tough question! Field guides, especially the Vascular Plants of Wyoming, are my trustiest companions, but I like lots of kinds of books. Two biographies that I have really enjoyed, and have read more than once, are Wallace Stegner’s Beyond the Hundredth Meridian and Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humbolt’s New World. The first is the story of Major John Wesley Powell’s exploration of the Green and Colorado Rivers, and his (failed) efforts to open the west to settlement in a responsible way. The second is about the man who invented the science of ecology. Both books are in part adventure stories, and are also about our relationships with the natural world.
Check out a page from Dorothy’s book (aka nature journal) below!
If you’re looking to get volunteer hours in during the cold winter months, we’ve got some options for you. You can find them on the Volunteer Opportunities page. These include submitting articles to the WNP newsletter or StoryMap, submitting weather data to CoCoRaHS, or organizing a City Nature Challenge for your community in Wyoming! If you’re interested in leading a City Nature Challenge, you must fill out and submit the commitment form by November 18th, so don’t delay.
The Volunteer Opportunities list is not exhaustive. There are many more organizations with volunteer opportunities available that are not included on the list. Contact a member of the WNP steering committee to confirm that the opportunity qualifies for WNP hours. If you know of opportunities that should be included on the list, contact a steering committee member.
The Bridger-Teton Rangeland Management group submitted a volunteer opportunity from May to September next year at the Game Creek trailhead south of Jackson. This restoration project involves pulling weeds and applying herbicides. The contact for this project is Arne Johanson (email@example.com).
You are invited to attend the 2022 Rocky Mountain Community Science Conference, which will be held virtually on Zoom on December 1 & 2. Attending the conference counts for 2 hours of advanced training. The conference features keynote speaker Dr. Karen Oberhauser, University of Wisconsin-Madison, who has, with the help of community scientists, monitored monarchs for many decades. You will hear about a number of community science programs in our region and learn what makes them successful (or not). What’s more, there will be a one-hour discussion session on the 2nd, and we would love to hear the perspectives of community science participants. Please join us!
Registration is $15. Much more information, including the schedule and registration form, is available at http://wyomingbiodiversity.org/index.php/community-science/rocky-mountain-community-science-conference.