It’s official – Kyleen and I are heading home tomorrow! We got in touch with our new friend the Yellowstone biologist, who was very excited to hear of Kyleen’s interest in sampling mid-elevation white bark pines in the park. As I suspected, he is able to sample for us without going through the formal permitting process with the park. Unfortunately, he couldn’t meet with us this week to locate and sample white bark pines, but he will be free when Kyleen returns at the end of July. So, on Kyleen’s second round, she’ll sample additional high-elevation white barks at our original lake-side spot (as the snow should no longer be a problem that late in the season), and will supplement that work with a mid-elevation sampling in Yellowstone. Yay!
In the meantime, we worked with our cabin-mate Kim on her butterfly work. Her field sites are several meadows near roadsides throughout the park, not far from the research station. Once there, we chased down butterflies with our nets, labeled them for future identification, and then did vegetation surveys along 100-meter transects at each site. This put my limited new knowledge to the test, and some plants were unknown by all of us and given nicknames like ‘fuzzy top’ and ‘green spike’ and collected for later identification with field guides.