Climatic changes are confronting the natural and historic resources of Grand Teton National Park, and an upcoming lecture series explores how those might alter the park's appearance.
The series, which opens Thursday, looks at threats to whitebark pines that are so valuable to the park's landscape and wildlife; how changing environmental conditions might impact the diminutive pika; how rising temperatures could affect plant resources, and; what challenges park staff might face when it comes to preserving historic structures.
Lectures will be presented by specialists in a variety of subject areas; these experts will share their observations, their collected data, and their perspectives on challenging issues, a park release said. The speakers will also lead discussions about the various changes affecting the park’s natural and cultural resources. All talks will take place at 7 p.m. in the Director’s Room at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose.
The scheduled lectures are:
Whitebark Pine: The Story of a Giant Prey, a Tiny Predator, and a Strangling Fungus
Grand Teton ecologist Nancy Bockino will discuss the ecology of whitebark pine, a keystone species of high mountain ecosystems in western North America. Learn about the threats to its survival and the outlook for its future.
Climate Change: Observed Trends and Future Impacts on North American Climate and Weather
National Weather Service meteorologist Arthur Meunier will talk about observed climate trends and discuss the likelihood of climate change impacts on the weather and climate of Wyoming and the Intermountain West. A discussion of climate change mitigation strategies, costs, and effectiveness will follow.
Beyond Buildings: Preserving a Sense of Place at Historic Sites in Grand Teton National Park
Join Kathryn Longfield, Grand Teton’s cultural resource specialist, in a discussion of current issues facing historic properties and the methods to preserve human history, cultural landscapes, and the historic sense of place that reflect social history and its patterns of development.
Perils Facing the American Pika
Join Grand Teton biologist Sue Wolff as she discusses the American pika, a talus-dwelling relative of the rabbit family, and possibly one of the first mammals in North America to be affected by climate change. Discover how pikas are influenced by rising temperatures and learn about their current population.
For more information about the lecture series, call the Colter Bay Visitor Center at 307-739-3594, or the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 307-739-3399.