Team talking We visited Kurt Alt, Wildlife Biologist Kurt Alt

ARIA:
He started by giving each of us an envelope full of pamphlets and brochures featuring information on bear country management plans, sagebrush, land conservation, and other wildlife related materials.

CHRISTINE:
His talk had great delight for me - since I want to become a zoologist.

ARIA:
Kurt told us that, many times, ecosystems are not biologically defined. Rather, they are artificially defined using man-made features such as highways.

MERIAH:
When people draw the boundaries, they leave out some of what they are watching. You cannot make an island of what you are studying - because there are things outside the place you are studying that affect the animals and plants you are studying. No place is truly an island.

IVY:
I am very glad to hear that animals are now studied for their own ranging area rather than studying human-defined ecosystems.

CHRISTINE:
We talked about a lot of different animals and ecosystems. Bears and deer and elk, and what grazing animals can do to the landscape.

JEFF:
Wow, too many animals to manage at once. And how do you keep them all at a healthy level, what are all the variables that you have to make sure to manage - or else your animal will end up on the endangered list. Made me think about my animals on my island in the Footprint Island game.

ARIA:
That was the most interesting part of Kurt's discussion, in my opinion - when we described our Footprint Island to him and asked for suggestions. Kurt predicted that our island, based on its location and condition, could support deer, mountain lions, wolverines, and domestic livestock. He also told us to constantly consider precipitation when making our decisions.

CHRISTINE:
But no bears.
No bears on our island!

IVY:
I was amazed to find that we know so little of the patterns of our wildlife's survival needs.

MERIAH:
He said only about 1 or 2% of what was to know was known.

IVY:
I truly thought we were doing better than that! I believe the enormous amount of advertised animal shows and national geographic specials have given me a false idea that animals are being studied much more than they truly are. If we want to share this planet with wildlife, we certainly need to understand their needs.

ARIA:
The biggest concern I have for Footprint Island is population growth - what if immigrants come to our island? Will we allow tourists? If so, will we have sufficient resources in order to feed them? Kurt's last recommendation was to spend some time studying the wildlife on our island....and our ecosystems; stick with basic observations; adjust ourselves into the environrent, instead of the other way around.

IVY:
I'm glad Zeus included the "observing wildlife" activity as a plus in the Footprint Island game.