Lecture Series On Yellowstone Ecosystem and Climate Change On Tap

How might climate change impact the greater Yellowstone ecosystem? Kurt Repanshek photo.

A series of discussions on how climate change could impact the greater Yellowstone ecosystem is coming to Big Sky, Montana, in the weeks ahead.

The four lectures, intended to generate a community-wide dialogue about the region’s changing climate, will be held at the Big Sky Community Library in the Ophir School. Each lecture begins at 7:00 p.m., is free, and open to the public.

The series, called “The Heat Is On: Climate Change in the Yellowstone Ecosystem,” is being organized by the National Parks Conservation Association, the Big Sky Institute, and the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce. The talks, which begin February 12 and run into March, will feature experts in ecology, economics, tourism, infrastructure, and sustainability practices.

“This is a great opportunity for community members to receive sound information on how climate change is impacting wild lands we all treasure and depend on,” said Twila Moon of the Big Sky Institute.

“Climate change is already affecting our national parks, including treasures like Yellowstone and Glacier,” said Danielle Blank of NPCA. “We need to find solutions to preserve them for our children and grandchildren.”

Here's the lineup:

February 12 - Climate Change in the Yellowstone Ecosystem: Cathy L. Whitlock, professor of earth sciences at Montana State University will discuss how warmer winters, earlier spring snowmelt, and hotter summers are affecting the ecosystem.

February 26 - Costs of Climate Change Inaction: A panel discussion on what global warming could cost the ecosystem's fishing and tourism industries, and the expense of increased fire activity in Montana.

March 12 - Yellowstone National Park in a Changing Climate: Jim Evanoff, sustainability coordinator for Yellowstone National Park, will discuss the many ways climate change is impacting Yellowstone’s natural environment, and the innovative and proactive approach the park is taking to reduce its carbon footprint.

March 26 - Climate Change Solutions for the West: A panel discussion on the promises and pitfalls of options for addressing climate change, and how various policies would impact Montana and the region.