Environmental Science at UB Taught by Joseph Allen

Megafauna and Predation in Yellowstone National Park

This program is offered through the University at Buffalo

College of Arts and Sciences-Interdisciplinary Degree Program


"......green fire in the eyes......"


Dates:  July 28-August 7, 2014 (10 nights)

Program Description

This program is designed for adults who are outdoor enthusiasts that are affiliated with either the University at Buffalo, Earth Spirit Educational Services, Inc. or the Western New York community that are interested in outdoor adventures and field studies in the Rocky Mountains. More specifically, the course will share with participants the ecological legacy of predation by large megafauna in Yellowstone National Park.  The geographical area of concentration is the NE corner of the Yellowstone National Park, in the famed Lamar Valley where it is the least developed and the most prolific in both predator and prey species. 


It is also one of the sites of the 1995-96 wolf reintroductions, placing extirpated gray wolves back into the ecosystem that for 70 years was devoid of one of its' apex predators.  The long term effects of this reintroduction are beginning to be studied and evaluated in America’s first national park.  An overview of Yellowstone history, ecology, wildlife politics, and environmental advocacy will be our major topics. As you scroll down, click on the other pertinent parts of our trip.

 Live Streaming Webcam Link to Old Faithful Geyser


Our group will be based in Silver Gate, Montana, just outside the NE gate of Yellowstone National Park, affording us ready access to the best observational sites.  There will be hiking, fly fishing, traveling to nearby towns/historic sites/natural sites as well as wildlife observation and photography in order to experience this very unique western environment. Each day, participants will experience wildlife observations, both avian and mammalian, interpretive programs by noted wildlife specialists, photographers, wolf watchers, environmental activists and park biologists. Visits to the more notable sites such as geyser basins, habitat recovery areas, wolf reintroduction pens, old wolf dens, lodges and other areas of interest will add further insights into local ecology, history and culture of the Yellowstone ecosystem.  Several additional excursions into remote areas of special interest to fly fishermen are also planned. It is expected that participants would be able to take part in moderate hiking at high altitude.

Click here for some of Yellowstone's tourist highlights

Expected Outcomes

Participation in this program will provide participants with a historical, ecological, recreational and political understanding of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Guest speakers include:

Jeff Welsch, Greater Yellowstone Coalition

Dan Hartman, Wildlife Photographer-NGS

Rick McIntyre, Yellowstone Wolf Project, NPS

Norman Bishop, NPS (ret.)

Doug McLaughlin, Wolf-watcher, Photographer, Author

Doug Smith, Yellowstone Wolf Project Director, NPS

Kira Cassidy-Quimby, Instructor, Yellowstone Association




Joseph Allen, instructor and trip leader. I have been a lecturer at UB for twenty years in the Environmental Studies Program having taught several courses including Introduction to Environmental Problems, Wilderness, Wildlife and Wildlands Management and Ecology of Unique Environments-Yellowstone National Park and Wind River Range, Wyoming. Although retired from UB, I continue to teach outdoor courses in the western US through the UB College of Arts and Sciences-Interdisciplinary Degree Program.  I have previously lead and taught numerous outdoor field courses in the desert southwest and Rockies including the Snowy Range, the San Juan Range, the Wind River Range, the Black Hills, Grand Canyon NP, Grand Teton NP, and many other wilderness areas. My major academic interests involve wilderness preservation and rewilding, environmental ethics, predators and ecosystem recovery.






Josh Hysert, guide and wilderness assistant.  Josh has a leader on many wilderness trips and is a highly proficient guide, wilderness expert, climber, wildlife observer, outdoor chef and photographer. He is a graduate of the Environmental Studies Program at UB and has been a teacher assistant and guide on multitudes of trips to the west. His list of outdoor treks and accomplishments is exhaustive. Josh has participated in every excursion I have offered. 


WBFO Interview Regarding Predators in Yellowstone and Our Travels to the Park


WIVB/CW 23 Winging It Buffalo--Travel To Yellowstone With UB


Buffalo News article regarding the course


Travel, Accommodations, Food & Safety

Readings & Academics

Photography & Observation

Typical Daily Activities & Schedules


Program Cost & Registration

Photo Gallery


Contact Information

The course is now open for enrollment.  See Program Costs and Registration to enroll. As this program develops, new items will be added to this site.  In the interim, here is my contact information if you have any questions:

            Joseph C. Allen        716-228-9510        bluegrassguitar@gmail.com or jcallen@buffalo.edu 


Follow the course on Facebook: Search "Mega Fauna and Predation in Yellowstone National Park"



Links To Courses Formerly Taught




PHOTOS OF WIND RIVER TRIPS FROM 2001, 2003,2008 & 2010