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Sawtooth Science Institute Courses

Boise State has partnered with the Sawtooth Science Institute to expand the learning opportunities for K-12 Professionals. Listed below are the classes offered by the Sawtooth Science Institute. See something you like? Follow the link below the course to learn more and to enroll!

Course List

June

Coexisting with Idaho Wildlife

Dates: 6/16/2022 – 6/17/2022
Days/Time:  Thursday & Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Wood River Valley and Online
Professional Development Credit: 1
Cost: $145 (Includes $85 Course Fee + $60 Credit Fee)
Term/Transcript: Summer 2022
Register By: 6/10/2022

Course Description: Idaho is blessed with a great diversity of habitats and the wildlife that depend on those habitats. Five Wildernesses make up the heart of the state. More and more people are recreating in those areas and if we are not careful, humans can easily crowd out the wildlife, leaving no way to escape our numbers.

Most vulnerable and most important to the entire ecosystem are the native carnivores whose numbers are unstable. Idaho Fish and Game can only estimate the numbers of grizzly bears, wolves, wolverines, lynx, and fishers inhabit the state. Their estimate of the number of wolves in Idaho fluctuates from year to year, yet their policies could once again drive wolves and grizzly bears to extinction. Worse yet, hunting organizations and the powerful livestock industry see killing as the only way to manage these animals.

Fifteen years ago, a small group of colleagues developed the Wood River Wolf Project to determine if nonlethal deterrents could effectively save the lives of native predators and the livestock that graze our public lands. These experiments provided evidence that large scale nonlethal deterrents proactively applied are highly effective in minimizing conflicts between public lands grazing operations and native predator conservation.

Suzanne Asha Stone is a cofounder of the Wood River Wolf Project and executive director for the International Wildlife Coexistence Network which is teaching nonlethal deterrents and coexistence strategies all over the world. She has a MA in Wildlife Conservation and Conflict Resolution from Prescott College.

Sarah Michael, Wood River Wolf Project Steering Committee Chair.  In her work as a former Blaine County Commissioner, she partnered with the Wood River Wolf Project when it started in 2007.

Logan Miller, Wood River Wolf Project Field Manager, is coming back for his third year to work with sheepherders and train and equip them with nonlethal tools to deter wolves.

Lane Justus, Field Technician, is new to the Wood River Wolf Project and brings experience working with Idaho Fish and Game and the University of Idaho in the Pahsimeroi Valley where she worked with  ranchers on sage grouse research and grazing management.

Enroll in Coexisting with Idaho Wildlife (1 Credit) 

City of Rocks Natural History

Dates: 6/20/2022 – 6/21/2022
Days/Time: Monday 8 am – 5pm, Tuesday 8 am – 5 pm
Location: City of Rocks National Reserve
Professional Development Credit: 1
Cost: $145 (Includes $85 Course Fee + $60 Credit Fee)
Term/Transcript: Summer 2022
Register By: 6/13/2022

Course Description: City of Rocks National Reserve and nearby Castle Rocks State Park encompass 16,000 acres of dramatic scenery, featuring granite spires and monoliths. Summer is the perfect time to immerse oneself in the natural history of “City.” Its ecology is more akin to Basin and Range than Idaho’s Snake River Plain. The state’s largest pinyon pine woodland and state champion pinyon is here on the slopes of the Albion Mountains, as well as many plant and wildlife species found nowhere else in Idaho. Instructors will lead participants on two days of field study focused on geology that reaches back 2.5 billion years, mile‐high botany, and ornithology. The instruction is less intimidating than the terrain. Be prepared to walk 2 miles each day, in elevations over 6,500 feet, but also plan to experience the Reserve’s best natural areas. Participants will also come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the nearly one quarter of a million emigrants that journeyed through the City of Rocks between 1843 and 1882.

Wallace Keck has served more than 20 years as the park superintendent of City of Rocks National Reserve, and nearly 3 years prior as the chief ranger. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Arkansas Tech University in Fisheries and Wildlife Management with an emphasis in Interpretation. He has worked for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, US Forest Service, and the National Park Service over his 35-year career at 7 different parks. His expertise and enjoyment are birding, field botany, and digital photography.

Tara McClure-Cannon has been with City of Rocks National Reserve for six years. She began as the Integrated Resources Program Manager in 2016 and in 2019 became the assistant park manager. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Nevada and a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology from New Mexico State University. She has worked in archaeology for private consulting firms and the Bureau of Land Management. Her expertise is in prehistoric and historic occupations of North America, with a focus on historic westward expansion and historic mining. She enjoys archery and fishing in her spare time.

Enroll in City of Rocks Natural History (1 Credit) 

July

Identification and Conservation of Birds

Dates: 7/21/2022 – 7/22/2022
Days/Time: Thursday & Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Boise – MK Nature Center
Professional Development Credit: 1
Cost: $145 (Includes $85 Course Fee + $60 Credit Fee)
Term/Transcript: Summer 2022
Register By: 7/15/2022

Course Description: This workshop will include a combination of classroom presentations on birds, bird identification, and bird conservation, and field trips in the local area to find, identify, and discuss birds.

Participants will learn to: Identify local birds by sight and sound, understand the different habitat types and migratory strategies for Idaho birds, understand bird population monitoring and reporting programs, understand the latest phone apps for identifying and reporting birds, and understand bird conservation needs and strategies.

Terry Rich has a BS in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MS in Zoology from Idaho State University, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Policy from Boise State University. Terry worked for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for 20 years and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 15 years. He currently writes a weekly column on birds for the Idaho Press and has given a monthly program on birds at the Foothills Learning Center for the past eight years. Terry is an Honorary Life-time Member of the American Ornithological Society and serves on the board of the Idaho Environmental Education Association. He and his wife, three kids, and seven grandkids all live in the Boise, Idaho, area.

Enroll in Identification and Conservation of Birds (1 Credit)

Migration and Conservation of Birds

Dates: 7/26/2022 – 7/27/2022
Days/Time: Tuesday & Wednesday, 7:30 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Boise River and Online
Professional Development Credit: 1
Cost: $145 (Includes $85 Course Fee + $60 Credit Fee)
Term/Transcript: Summer 2022
Register By: 7/19/2022

Course Description: Join the biologists at the Intermountain Bird Observatory to learn about bird migration here in Idaho!

We will spend the mornings at the banding station learning how IBO scientists catch, measure, band, and release migratory birds.

We will spend the afternoons learning bird identification and understanding bird migration.

We will incorporate some curriculum planning tips and tricks, helping teachers integrate bird migration and conservation topics into their existing lesson plans.

Jay Carlisle, PhD Research Director for Intermountain Bird Observatory.  Jay has almost 30 years of ornithology experience, including familiarity with many standardized monitoring techniques.  He really enjoys sharing his passion for birds and conservation!

Heidi Ware Carlisle has been with Intermountain Bird Observatory since 2008 as an undergrad intern at Lucky Peak.  She received her bachelor’s degree and her M.S. in biology from Boise State.  She has studied the impacts of traffic noise on migrating songbirds.  As Education Director Heidi coordinates IBO’s Boise River Research Station, runs social media pages, conducts field trips, and teaches courses. Heidi focuses on using IBO’s strengths in hands-on science and community involvement to integrate K-12 science education with bird conservation. 

Enroll in Migration and Conservation of Birds (1 Credit)

August

A Mining Story

Dates: 8/2/2022 – 8/3/2022
Days/Time: Tuesday & Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 
Location: Wood River valley (Hailey/Mackay)
Professional Development Credit: 1
Cost: $145 (Includes $85 Course Fee + $60 Credit Fee)
Term/Transcript: Summer 2022
Register By: 7/26/2022

Course Description: This workshop could easily be titled “Mining in Idaho, Then and Now” as we’ll be looking at the early history of Idaho and mining as the foundation of Idaho culture and learn something of “our Founding Fathers.” We’ll talk about why Idaho has such prolific mineral deposits and visit the Triumph mine to discuss the ongoing cleanup and remediation at the site. On our second day, we’ll discuss the proposed Empire Mine near Mackay and look at both the environmental and community impacts of the project.

Tom Blanchard is best known for his work as a historian and as an expert in mining history, in particular the mining history of the Wood River valley.  Tom has also served three terms as an elected County Commissioner and five years as City Administrator. His focus will be on the impacts of new mine proposals on community infrastructure and character.

Josh Johnson is a Senior Conservation Associate for the Idaho Conservation League, a statewide environmental advocacy organization. Josh has a B.A. and M.S. in geology and his work at ICL involves engaging with mining projects across central Idaho to ensure that their environmental impacts are appropriately minimized or mitigated.

Enroll in A Mining Story (1 Credit)

On the Oregon Trail

Dates: 8/4/2022 – 8/5/2022
Days/Time: Thursday & Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Massacre Rocks/City of Rocks
Professional Development Credit: 1
Cost: $145 (Includes $85 Course Fee + $60 Credit Fee)
Term/Transcript: Summer 2022
Register By: 7/29/2022

Course Description: Join historians and park rangers for a two-day immersive trip along the Oregon and California National Historic Trails. Participants will learn about the Oregon Trail and the California Trail and their significance to American and Idaho history. An auto tour will take participants to hidden spots along the trail in southern Idaho. Guest speakers will share unique history and perspective on the trail. Activities geared to K-12 students will be interspersed throughout the program, designed to be easily replicated in a classroom setting.

Tara McClure-Cannon has been with City of Rocks National Reserve for six years. She began as the Integrated Resources Program Manager in 2016 and in 2019 became the assistant park manager. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Nevada and a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology from New Mexico State University. She has worked in archaeology for private consulting firms and the Bureau of Land Management. Her expertise is in prehistoric and historic occupations of North America, with a focus on historic westward expansion and historic mining. She enjoys archery and fishing in her spare time.

Enroll in On the Oregon Trail (1 Credit)

Idaho's Salmon

Dates: 8/11/2022 – 8/12/2022
Days/Time: Thursday & Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Galena/Stanley
Professional Development Credit: 1
Cost: $145 (Includes $85 Course Fee + $60 Credit Fee)
Term/Transcript: Summer 2022
Register By: 8/5/2022

Course Description: Idaho’s Salmon examines the history, the science and the politics of Snake River salmon recovery. The classroom studies will show how salmon numbers were bountiful well into the 1950s despite overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction that began in the 1860s. Dam building on the Mainstem Columbia and Snake rivers from the 1950s through 1975 dramatically reduced salmon and steelhead numbers and they were listed as threatened and endangered species in the early 1990s. We will discuss what’s been done since then and what has been proposed this year to reverse the population slide. On day 2 we will travel to the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River to see chinook salmon spawn, visit the remains of the Sunbeam Dam and go to the Sawtooth Hatchery.

Rocky Barker was the environmental reporter for the Idaho Statesman for many years.  He is the author of four books about fish, wildlife and public lands.  His work in saving Idaho’s salmon included a trip following endangered salmon home from the Columbia to headwaters in central Idaho, retelling the Idaho salmon story.  He is the recipient of many awards and has been recognized by the Wilderness Society and Trout Unlimited for his environmental journalism. 

Enroll in Idaho’s Salmon (1 Credit)