Guild of Natural Science Illustrators 2007 Conference in Bozeman Montana
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Field Trips

Field Trip schedule is subject to change. Field Trips may be cancelled if under-enrolled.
Start times indicate when the van leaves the campus and when it returns to campus (if applicable).

SUNDAY, JULY 15, 2007
HALF DAY 12:15 - 5:30 pm
Trip leaves from Hannon Hall
Limit 12
Lewis & Clark Caverns
State Park on the Jefferson River (1hr from Bozeman)
Join trip leader Britt Griswold for a visit to one of the most highly decorated limestone caverns in the Northwest. These spectacular state owned caves are lined with stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and helicitites, dating back through time. See the geologic development, the history of early exploration and gain an insight into the delicate ecology of this world without light.

Activity level:
Remember that the Bozeman area is high altitude, 4800 feet, so please take precautions if necessary and take it easy if you are out of shape a bit! This is a two hour, two mile guided hiking tour and includes walk to and from the cave, as well as ¾ mile within the cave on a semi paved walkway. It will involve some hiking, stair climbing, and butt sliding. Do wear walking shoes with a good grip (like sneakers), do not wear your good clothes, bring a sweater or jacket, (cave temperatures will be around 45 degrees) and bring flash attachments for your cameras. Water, but no food, is permitted in the cave. Feel free to drop Grant a line, if you have other questions concerning the activity level. He has been on the tour and feels it is fairly easy for someone in good shape.

Lewis & Clark Caverns web site


FULL DAY 6:30 am - 4:00 pm
We will meet Gary at Warm Springs around 8:30
Boxed Lunch provided
Trip leaves from Hannon Hall
Limit 12

Birding at Warm Springs Pond Complex

Participants in this workshop will explore examples of the major ecosystem of Western Montana and the associated bird species. Within a 7-mile circle of the Warm Springs Pond Complex, one can view birds of wetlands, riparian areas, short and tall grass prairies, and the coniferous forest. Of the 420 bird species in Montana I have encountered 235 in this area. This includes 147 breeding, 65 overwintering, and 76 migrants species. We will spend time in each ecosystem identifying, and digitally photographing as many as possible. You can expect to see more than 50 species on this outing. A bird check list of the area will be provided to each participant. Expected birds among many are Western Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Eastern Kingbird, Mountain Bluebird, Northern Waterthrush, and Clay-colored Sparrow.

What to bring

  • water (we will have some on the van for you or you could bring whatever you like!
  • light rain gear
  • comfortable hiking shoes
  • sun hat or baseball cap
  • a few mosquitoes, and the ticks are gone by July! Yeah!
  • sketching materials
  • a pair of binoculars
  • field guide is optional but would be nice! Gary recommends either the National Geographic, Birds of North America or Sibley's Field Guide to Birds - Western Edition.

Trip leader, Gary Swant, has a Masters in Biology and was a biology teacher and field ecology instructor for 25 years at the high school level. He has led birding trips for schools and the general public for the last 30 years. He recently wrote a Field Guide to the Common Birds by Habitat Type and Basic Color for the National Park Service's Grant-Kohrs Ranch Historic Site. This guide is used extensively by school groups and layman who bird the Upper Clarkfork Drainage.


Trip leaves from Hannon Hall
Marlene will meet us at MSU
Limit 12

Topo map of Spanish Creek Wildflower Foray Trail

Lupinus albicaulis

Spanish Creek Wildflower Foray
Our trail begins about 9 miles up the Spanish Creek Road off of Highway 191, approximately 40 minutes southwest of Bozeman. The Spanish Creek Road to the trailhead is a public access road through the rolling hills of Ted Turner's Flying D Ranch with spectacular views and an opportunity to view bison.

The South Fork Spanish Creek trail is approximately 23 miles long, venturing deep into the Spanish Peaks, part of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area. Our foray will focus on the first few miles of the trail, meandering along the creek through coniferous forests, aspen groves and montane meadows. We’ll go as far as the group likes, stop as often as requested and enjoy the day. We can expect to see a large variety of flowering plants, including wild roses, sticky geranium, lupines, bluebells and many more!

The South Fork of the Spanish Creek is a tributary to the Gallatin River, one of three rivers that join together in Three Forks, Montana to become the Missouri River. The Spanish Peaks are considered the northern end of the Madison Range, a raised block in which the rocks consist of basement rock still extensively covered by folded Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary formations. The Madison Range has active faults along the western and southern edges. The Spanish Peaks form a tight cluster of craggy mountains that is a large block of Precambrian basement rock lifted high along the Spanish Peaks fault.

The Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area is part of the Gallatin National Forest and was designated by Congress in 1983 in honor of the late Montana congressman Lee Metcalf. This Wilderness area is an important part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which is the last large, nearly intact ecosystem in the northern temperate zone of the Earth.

Activity Level: Marlene said that the hike should be relatively easy, assuming that folks are generally in good health and accustomed to our higher elevations. Folks coming from sea level may experience some adjustment to the elevation. We didn’t put any pre-determined length for the hike, Marlene prefers to allow the group to decide that based on what we see and where we stop. Most wildflower hikes she leads never make it very far due to so much interest in looking at plants!

Suggested items to bring:

  • plenty of water (there will be bottled water available for you)
  • snacks provided
  • bug spray
  • sunscreen
  • supportive hiking shoes
  • hiking poles if you use them
  • rain jacket (for possible afternoon thunderstorms)
  • clothes for layering (the weather can change every 5 minutes in Montana!)

Marlene is a consulting botanist with 13 years of field experience and a passion for the Greater Yellowstone area. For work, she is frequently contracted to complete vegetation inventories, rare plant surveys, and noxious weed surveys. She also consults on restoration projects and landscaping projects using native plant species and periodically leads wildflower walks for interested folks.

Marlene earned her degree in Terrestrial Ecology from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. She worked for a number of years in and around the North Cascades before moving to the Rocky Mountains in 1997. In addition to working with private clients, Marlene does botanical field work for The Nature Conservancy, regional universities, and the U.S. Forest Service throughout Montana and Wyoming.

A member of the Montana Native Plant Society, Marlene enjoys educating people about the values of native plants and our region’s natural landscape. Meanwhile, she is hard at work converting her entire yard in downtown Livingston to native plant species.

When not outside hiking for work, she can usually be found hiking for fun or floating the Yellowstone River with her husband and dog. The last few years she has discovered an interest in birding, which requires a new skill for Marlene, learning to look up! Come winter, when plants in Montana are either dead or asleep, Marlene enjoys volunteering, working at Bozeman’s natural food co-op and exploring Yellowstone National Park on skis. Early spring typically finds her in the southwest region of the U.S. in search of flowers as the snows begin to melt in Montana. She lives in Livingston, Montana.


Field trip-half day
Thursday July 19, 1:15-5:30pm

Trip leaves from Hannon Hall
Limit 12

Gallatin River Float Trip
Mountain Destinations

For beginners and those seeking a fun trip with some rapids, the upper whitewater trip of the Gallatin River is for you. Enjoy wildlife encounters and towering rock formations, and be ready for a few good soakings. Expect an exciting ride! We advise you to wear shorts, T-shirt or a swim suit and shoes that can get wet. Appropriate river sandals may be used as well, no thongs or other unsecured footwear please. It is a good idea to bring a fleece jacket or other non-cotton top for cooler days or for comfort after the trip.
Friday, July 20, 2007  

FULL DAY 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Trip leaves from Hannon Hall
We will meet Richard near the pass.
Boxed lunch provided
Limit 12

Boulder Batholith: Granite to Gallows Frames
JJoin guide and trip leader Dick Gibson, geologist/ historian, for this trip. The first part of this guided field trip focuses on the textures, veins, and weathering patterns of the Butte Granite in the Boulder Batholith near the Continental Divide. After an initial stop and walk near Homestake Lake where we'll see spectacular examples of spheroidal weathering, we will drive to Delmo Lake for more sketching opportunities of rocks as well as flora. We'll enjoy our box lunches near Pipestone Hot Springs in a foothills area that includes a wide variety of habitats and excellent birding opportunites in addition to the great geology. The second part of the tour will take us into Butte for looks at human interactions with nature at the Berkeley Pit, Granite Mountain Memorial, and at one of Butte's famous mining headframes. A final short walk will point up some of the environmental damage and reclamation around small mines west of Butte. Wear sturdy walking shoes or boots, but all walks will be non-strenuous. Basic stuff-sunhat, light jacket and raingear. Bring a hand lens if you have one, to examine details of rock textures.

Dick Gibson is a professional geologist with 32 years of worldwide experience in resource exploration, environmental studies, and geoscience education. He was a co-instructor for college geological field programs, including trips to Yellowstone from 1989-2002, and served as a Study Leader on Smithsonian Journeys in Alaska, Iceland, and western US (including 4 western parks tours that visited Yellowstone).  He is the former education director for the World Museum of Mining at his home in Butte, Montana, and serves as a guide for historic walking tours in Butte as well.  Dick is the author of "History of the Earth", 366 snapshots of earth history in the form of a perpetual calendar designed for non-technical audiences, as well as "What Things are Made Of" (in progress).


HALF DAY 8:00 am - noon
Trip leaves from Hannon Hall

Limit 12

Bozeman Fish Technology Center (5 miles NE of Bozeman)
Looking for a casual trip where you can sketch, photograph and view nature? The Center offers a charming 1⁄2 mile nature loop along Bridger Creek, with a pond and picnic tables. We will also tour their center with one of their biologists where we can see people working on research of fish cultural techniques, fish diseases, fish-fed development and testing, broodstock diet testing, and fishery management. This is state of the art research station that provides the federal and state fisheries agencies as well as the private sector with vital information in managing and restoring native fish populations across the United States. Their site is under reconstruction but you may check these sites for more info:
Bozeman Fish Technology Center

Other information and what to bring:
The Center has access to public restrooms, is handicapped accessible and is air conditioned. For those going on the nature loop your basic needs will be:

  • water (we will have some on the van for you or you could bring whatever you like!)
  • light rain gear
  • comfortable hiking shoes
  • sun hat or baseball cap
  • a few mosquitoes, and the ticks are gone by July! Yeah!
  • we will ask our tour person about areas of poison ivy or snakes, and will avoid those areas!
  • sketching materials

Saturday, July 21, 2007
Saturday July 21
Full Day - 8-5pm
Boxed lunch provided
Trip Leaves from Hannon Hall
Limit 24
Yellowstone Discovery Tour
Join guide Richard Gibson for a full day trip to see some of the highlights of Yellowstone Park, for newcomers and veterans. We will have a more specific itinerary of activities available soon. We will be entering the park at Mammoth Hot Springs which is about 85 miles south of Bozeman and making our exit at West Yellowstone.
We will be stopping often so that he can talk with the group about a specific highlight.

This is a basic idea of some activities we might be doing:
At Mammoth - hot spring terrace guided walk, and take time for close up views of the elk likely to be walking around the townsite. Tower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and a guided hike through Artist Point will be other highlights. Yellowstone Lake,, bison viewing in Hayden Valley and eating our boxed lunches somewhere on the shore of Yellowstone Lake are planned. Old Faithful, geyser basin and a stop at Old Faithful Inn, Fountain Paint Pots, Firehole Loop are also planned. We will exit at West Yellowstone-- Dinner and shopping on your own.

Please read Richard’s bio under the geology field trip “Boulder Batholith”. As you can guess he will have plenty of interesting geological facts to tell about the Yellowstone area, but he also knows the area extremely well from his years doing his geological field work there, from wildlife viewing to rock formations. Please take time to give Richard a special thank you when you meet him. This trip may not have been possible without him! He will be planning activities that the group might enjoy so a little sketching and hiking will be planned as we can fit it in. It will be a full day since we will be covering quite a distance, so we will be arriving back at Bozeman probably in the early evening.