Thursday, October 10
Tour 4. The Grand Transect: From the High Plains to the Heights of Rocky Mountain National Park
Thursday, October 10
7:00 am - 5:00 pm


  • Sadie Babits (Tour Leader) Professor of Practice, Sustainability Director, Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Amanda Peacher (Tour Leader) Public Radio Journalist
  • Tom Yulsman (Tour Leader) Director, Center for Environmental Journalism
  • Hanem Abouelezz (Speaker) Supervisory Landscape Ecologist, Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Jill Baron (Speaker) US Geological Survey
  • John Freemuth (Speaker) Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Cecil Andrus Endowed Chair of Environment and Public Lands, Boise State University
  • Doug Kenney (Speaker) University of Colorado
  • Tom Veblen (Speaker) University of Colorado Boulder


(7:00 a.m. departure, $45 fee, lunch included)

This tour is full. If you wish to be put on the waiting list, contact Kevin Beaty.

Colorado is best known for its majestic mountains, 59 of which exceed 14,000 feet. Yet nearly 40 percent of the state consists of high plains. This will allow us to make a grand environmental transect on our trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Within just a few hours, we’ll pass through roughly the same number of ecological zones as a trip from Fort Collins to Alaska. We’ll begin our transect at the foot of the mountains where we’ll get an overview of the day ahead and discuss pressing Western water issues. Next, we’ll plunge into the Big Thompson Canyon to learn about forest ecology and wildfire. Our transect will then take us into the gateway town of Estes Park and finally into the park itself. While there, we’ll hear about impacts on park ecosystems from pollution, massive tourism, over-population of elk and other factors — all against a backdrop of climate change. Total drive time: 4 hours. Good for those looking for some exercise.

Advance registration is required for all Thursday tours. Attendance on each tour is strictly limited, so registering early is important. All Thursday tours will return to the Lory Student Center at about 5:00 p.m.

IMPORTANT DEPARTURE INFORMATION: Please meet your tour leaders near the SEJ registration desk on the third floor of the Lory Student Center at the listed departure time to check-in for your tour. Eat breakfast at your hotel before arrival or plan to purchase breakfast at the Lory Student Center food court, which opens at 7:00 a.m.; coffee and snacks will be provided for tours that depart before the food court opens. Each tour will leave the ballroom as a group to board buses at a nearby location. Do not be late.

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