Numerous scientists will be presenting as part of the Centennial Science Behind The Scenery Programs at Rocky Mountain National Park. This series of programs highlights scientific activity and learning in the park. Each week a different scientist conducting research in the park will share their experiences and discoveries. The programs will be held on Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and are free and open to the public.
This Thursday, August 13, join Dr. Tom Hobbs as he presents How many elk should there be?A history of the concept of carrying capacity in Rocky Mountain National Park. The elk population in Rocky is enjoyed by park visitors from all over the world. Deciding how to best manage that population has formed a central challenge for the park since its creation. Dr. Hobbs has worked on population and community ecology of large herbivores for the last three decades. He has been at Colorado State since 2001 and before that he served for 20 years as a research scientist for the Colorado Division of Wildlife and will trace the history of elk management as it has been influenced by changing ideas about ecological feedbacks between large herbivores and plant communities.
Next Thursday, August 20, join Ellen Wohl as she presents The Importance of Beaver Dams and Wet Meadows. Beavers were historically widespread and abundant throughout North America. Beaver dams helped to create extensive floodplain wetlands known as beaver meadows. Within Rocky Mountain National Park, the most extensive beaver meadows were located just upstream from glacial terminal moraines in places such as Moraine Park and Wild Basin. Many of the beaver meadows within the national park have become drier grassland environments. The remaining functioning beaver meadows provide important insights into how river valleys across the national park and throughout North America once functioned. This talk will review these insights and explain the importance of protecting and restoring beaver colonies. Dr. Wohl has been on the geosciences faculty at Colorado State University since 1989.
For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please call the park's information office at (970) 586-1206.