Winter Wildlife In Yellowstone National Park

Winter Wildlife Experience in Yellowstone National Park

Watch wolf pack take on a small bison herd

This program is offered through the University at Buffalo

Office of Student Life-NOW Open for Enrollment


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

Dates:  January 11-18, 2015

Program Description

This program is designed for adventurous students and adults who are winter 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 in the depths of winter.  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 into an ecosystem that for 70 years was devoid of one of its' apex predators.  The long term effects of this reintroduction are being studied and evaluated in America’s first national park with implications in wild areas nationwide.  An overview of Yellowstone natural 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.


Our group will be based in Silver Gate or Gardiner, Montana, just outside the gates of Yellowstone National Park, affording us ready access to the best observational sites.  There will be snowshoeing and traveling to nearby towns, historic sites, natural sites as well as wildlife observation and photography in order to experience this very unique western environment. The highway from Cooke City, MT to Gardiner, MT through the park is the only road open year-round; in winter, it is only accessible from Gardiner.  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 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. It is expected that participants would be able to take part in moderate hiking at high altitude in frigid conditions.


How do you beat boredom?  Adventure! 

Watch the clip from "Never Cry Wolf"


Expected Outcomes

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


Dan Hartman, Wildlife Photographer-National Geographic Society

Rick McIntyre, Yellowstone Wolf Project, YWP, NPS

Rick Lamplugh, Author, Winter Resident YNP

Kira Cassidy-Quimby, Wildlife Tech, YWP, NPS

Doug Smith, Yellowstone Wolf Project Directory, NPS




Joseph Allen, instructor and trip leader. I have been a lecturer at the University at Buffalo 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 experiential courses and lead excursions in the western US through the UB College of Arts and Sciences-Interdisciplinary Degree Program and the Office of Student Life, including last summer's course, Megafauna and Predation in Yellowstone Park.  I have previously guided 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.  






Russ Crispell, Director of Outdoor Pursuits at the University at Buffalo, has a wealth of outdoor adventure experience, including 15 previous trips to Alaska. A New York State licensed guide in camping, fishing, hiking, flat-water canoeing and whitewater rafting.  Russ has been trained as a Wilderness First Responder, a Wilderness First Aid Instructor, and an instructor for the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association and the National Safety Council. He has served as Past-President of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education and has presented on Outdoor Education and Adventure at various international conferences.  He is the author of “Timothy and Me”, a children’s story about Alaska Wolves.








Kimberly F. Fedkiw, our medical staff member and guide has participated in numerous outdoor excursions sponsored by the University at Buffalo including several trips to Alaska and as of recent, Yellowstone National Park.  She has also traveled extensively worldwide, often to remote areas.  Kimberly is our medical guide and is currently on staff as a Family Nurse Practitioner in Critical Care with dual certifications in family and adult medicine at the Erie County Medical Center.  Her medical background includes emergency medicine as a Paramedic, Registered Nurse and Flight Nurse with Mercy Flight. In addition to her vast travel experience, Kimberly's outdoor leadership, her passion for winter camping and wilderness capabilities, as well as her photographic and wildlife observational skills, are numerous and tested.  She is also an accomplished chef.








Travel, Accommodations, Food & Safety

Readings & Academics

Photography & Observation

Typical Daily Activities & Schedules


Program Cost & Registration

Photo Gallery

Other Course Possibilities


Contact Information

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

              Joseph Allen            716-228-9510 or 

 Russ Crispell           716-841-5406


Links To Former Courses





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