Steamboat Springs If you've ever become lost on Rabbit Ears Pass while stumbling through the intoxicating fields of wildflowers that you struggled to identify, and then thought to yourself how in heck did the landmark rock formations come to resemble the elongated ears of a jackrabbit? well then, Yampatika has a field seminar for you in June.
Yampatika's roster of local naturalists will lead the uninitiated in a series of workshops that will lead to wildflower identification, a better understanding of the igneous plugs on Rabbit Ears and newfound navigation skills.
Karen Vail, who has encyclopedic knowledge of local flora, will offer a beginning course in wildflower identification on June 8. For a fee of $20, Vail's students will learn to master basic wildflower terminology, then head into the field to encounter and identify flowers. Students will meet at Yampatika at 9 a.m. and Vail suggests they bring a pencil, paper, water and a snack. Walking shoes are also a good idea.
For people who want to consume the plants they encounter and gain medicinal benefit, Mary O'Brien's "Herb Walk on Emerald Mountain" on the evening of June 11 should be the ticket. She will share the common and historic uses of plants as both medicine and food.
Students will be given guidelines on ethical wildcrafting, storage and preparation of the plants. Again, meet at Yampatika, this time at 5 p.m. The fee is $20.
Local naturalist John Spezia is fond of quoting the writer John McPhee who once proclaimed "Geology is our destiny!" Of course, if McPhee was speaking in geologic time, your personal destiny isn't exactly just around the corner. All the same, Spezia will unravel the mysterious geologic history of the Flat Tops mountain range on June 15, and then on June 29 he'll turn his attention to those weird Rabbit Ears. Both "Rock Talk, Walks" begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m. The fee is $35.
Vail will lead an advanced wildflower I.D. course on June 22 and then on June 29, Sandy Witte will tell students how to find their way home in a navigation workshop.
Witte's course is intended to help hikers refresh their skills or learn new ones. The course runs from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. The morning will be spent learning and practicing map and compass skills. The afternoon will be spent in the field gaining practical experience.
For more information about Yampatika's field seminars, visit www.yampatika.org or call 871-9151.