Day 5: Biotic Factors/Snake River

Trip Start May 30, 2009
Trip End Jun 07, 2009

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Teton Science School

Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Biotic Factors/Snake River Bottom

Is it Wednesday already? Are we really over halfway through the Teton trip?

This morning, we woke up to warmer temperatures and clearer skies.  After scrambled eggs, sausage, and fruit for breakfast, students prepared for another great day in the field.

Each field group loaded into TSS vans, and set out to hike the Snake River Bottom.  The Snake River originates near the Continental Divide in Yellowstone and flows south into Grand Teton National Park.  The name "snake" is said to come from its winding shape as well as the hand sign that Indians used for swimming salmon.

Today, two vans started at Schwabacher Landing, while the other two started at Black Tail Ponds.  After parking the vans, we headed down the bank of the Snake River, which is now dry, and into the tree line to look for signs of wildlife.  Today the kids led their groups by using compasses and maps as we traversed across the river bed.

Immediately after crossing a few streams of water and entering the tree line, two groups saw white-tailed deer roaming around.  As students continued their journey, they saw many signs of animal life, such as animal remains, tracks, fur, and scat.  In addition, some students saw elk, a bald eagle, and many unique types of birds.

Each group successfully made it to their final destination.  On the way back to campus, two vans full of students were held up in traffic by a herd of bison and calves.  Welcome to the Wild West!

After a full day in the field, we headed to the Oxbow for wildlife viewing.  Students were able to use binoculars and scopes to search for animals.  The group spotted elk, moose, a beaver, a muskrat, a sandhill crane, a river otter, pelicans, a blue heron, and various ducks and geese.

We arrived back at campus later than usual, and students headed towards their cabins for a great night's sleep.
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