Education Programs at the
Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary

Our trained education staff are passionate about connecting youth to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem through engaging programs. We have developed several environmental education programs that fall under three themes: Prevention, Wildlife Care, and Ecosystems & Conservation. Program formats are flexible to fit to your group’s schedule and curriculum needs.

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Email Courtney Long at, or call (406) 446-1133

AWARENESS: These programs focus on raising awareness of human-wildlife interactions and how we can make decisions to help prevent wildlife from needing lifelong sanctuary.

  • Bear Awareness Day and Bear-Resistant Container Contest- This is a one-time event, hosted on September 28th, 2019. Middle and high school students from Carbon County and neighboring counties are invited to design and create a bear-resistant container that will be put to the test by our black bears. Limited registration slots available. Email Courtney for contest and registration details.

  • Where the Wild Things Are (And Where They Are Going)- Wildlife corridors improve connectivity species that move long distances. A series of activities puts students in the perspective of several different types of wildlife and how they rely on wildlife corridors for safe passage. 3rd-6th grade. A high school option is available which uses the “Wild Migrations” resource.

  • Break the Habit- Several of the animals at the Sanctuary are habituated or imprinted on humans. Some wildlife lose the ability to forage for themselves, or no longer fear humans which can lead to negative interactions. In this lesson we use math and a game to discuss animal diets, nutrition’s role in growth and development, and impacts of human interaction with wildlife. 2nd-5th grade (best fit for 3rd-5th).

  • Wildlife Detectives- Who ate your teacher’s garbage? Who nibbled in your neighbor’s vegetable garden? These are some of the questions students will answer through observation of animal evidence, like scats and tracks, and other clues left behind by common backyard visitors. This program wraps up with a discussion in why wildlife are attracted to our backyards, and possible solutions to living with wildlife. Kindergarten-4th.

  • What is Wild?- Designed for younger children, students compare the differences between wild and domestic animals through examples of canids found in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Kindergarten & 1st grade.

ANIMAL CARE: These programs discuss individual animal needs and the importance of maintaining overall wellness of our residents at the Sanctuary.

  • An Enriching Opportunity- Students learn several adaptations of wildlife at the Sanctuary, and why it’s important to provide mental and physical stimulation in their enclosures. They will be challenged with designing an enclosure for a resident of their choice. This program is best facilitated at the Sanctuary following a guided tour. 4th & 5th grade.

  • Animal Castle- If you could design your own castle, what would you include? In this program students learn how animals are adapted for their environment and have different habitat needs, introduced through Primp the Porcupine, a story written by our education staff. Students will be able to choose a Sanctuary resident, observe, and draw or model a new “animal castle” to fit its needs. This program is best facilitated at the Sanctuary following a guided tour. Kindergarten & 1st grade.

  • Fit for a Bear- Our animal care staff weigh and provide a proper diet for each of the residents. Students will learn how different wildlife fill an ecological niche through the example of black bears. In this program we explore the food web, nutritional importance to development, and emphasize the importance of biodiversity in ecosystems. Variations for Kindergarten-9th grade

ECOSYSTEMS & CONSERVATION: Through hands-on discovery students explore other components of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

  • Keystone Species- Developed in collaboration with Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation, this program emphasizes interrelationships of plants and animals. Whitebark Pine is a keystone species under threat of climate change, disease, and pests in the ABW. Students will take on the role of the sun, pine, red squirrel, nutcracker, and grizzly bear to learn how each of these rely on the other. 6th-8th grade.

  • Predator Perceptions- Students gain a perspective of predator roles in ecosystems as we explore the food web and the flow of energy between organisms. We also discuss how human actions can either disrupt this energy flow or protect natural resources to maintain healthy ecosystems. 6th-8th grade.

  • Stream Studies- Plant to get a little wet and muddy as students explore a freshwater ecosystem. We will discuss the importance of water conservation, how the water cycle is not a closed loop, and how scientists use wildlife as indicators of healthy streams. Seasonal and fit for all ages.

  • Partnerships in the Field- Sometimes we are able to partner with local agencies to take your students into the field. This relies on collaboration. If you are interested in getting your students into the field for active lessons, we would love to coordinate an opportunity.

  • Citizen Science- There are a variety of citizen science projects that will get your students involved in real scientific research that can be done either in your schoolyard or here at the Sanctuary. All ages.

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On-Site: $3 per participant (includes activity + 1-hour guided tour)

Off-Site: $120 for programs outside of Carbon County

Off-Site: Free for programs within Carbon County

Animal Encounter: $35 additional fee per program