Geek Week Events


RMBL’s 5th Annual Geek Week!

August 3 – 7, 2015

Science Tours

Science Tours include moderate hiking as you follow your scientist guide up the winding footpaths of the Gothic townsite to research meadows, forests and streams. Tours are from 9 a.m. to Noon followed by lunch in our new Community Center with your scientist tour leader.   $45 per person.

Please bring water, sunscreen, sturdy shoes and a hat or visor.  Meet at the Gothic Visitor Center. If you drive up to Gothic, you may park in front of the Visitor Center or along the county road.  Please consider riding the free Mountain Express bus;  it leaves the 4-way stop in Crested Butte at 8:30 a.m., leaves Mountaineer Square in Mt. CB at  8:40 a.m. and arrives in Gothic at 8:55 a.m.  The bus will leave Gothic for CB at 1:00 p.m.

For questions please email

Pic-albino marmot
Albino marmot – Photo from RMBL Archives

August 3 – A Marmot’s Life: Winter is Coming, Tiffany Armenta (UCLA): In our busy modern lives, we all occasionally feel like there isn’t enough time to take care of everything we need to do. Now imagine trying to cram a whole year’s worth of activities into only 6 months! As a high elevation, hibernating mammal, this is a marmot’s life. On this tour, you will learn all about the fast-paced marmot life cycle: from emerging from their snowy burrows in spring to mating and fighting for prime locations to raise pups in, to fattening up for the deep sleep in fall. Bring your binoculars and be prepared to walk to nearby colonies to watch the marmot soap opera as they play, fight, lounge around, and eat, eat, eat!

August 4Charismatic Micro-Fauna: Butterfly Biology, Dr. Carol Boggs (University of South Carolina): Ever wondered how butterflies survive the winter in the Gunnison Basin? How they decide to lay eggs or not on your garden plants? Why do they sometimes congregate around mud puddles in your hiking/biking path? What is the impact of climate and land use change on local species? Come explore the natural history, ecology and evolution of our local butterfly fauna.

August 4 – RMBL Poster Session,  Tuesday Talk, 7:30 – 9 p.m. at the RMBL Community Center, FREE – For more information on our free Tuesday Talk Series, see our web page here.

August 5Medicine on the Wild Side: What Insects can Teach us about Chemicals in Nature,  Dr. Emily Mooney (Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts): In a world of hungry, hungry caterpillars, what’s a plant to do? Since they can’t run away from their enemies, plants produce a variety of special compounds to ward off attack. We as humans often find these potent compounds useful in herbal medicine. In this tour, we will take a walk to see this connection in the medicinal plants and insect herbivores of the Gothic area. Along the way, participants will get to know the traditional or medicinal uses of a variety of plants and trees. 

Sample Collecting
Sample Collecting

August 6Why a Healthy Diet Might Make You Sicker: What Worms and Fish Can Teach Us About Links Between Nutrition and Disease, Dr. Brad Taylor (Dartmouth College): This tour will focus on the importance of understanding interactions between nutrition and infectious disease. Although the focus will be on wildlife diseases, the concepts are widely applicable to many human infectious disease. Specifically, this tour will focus on how changes in food quality affect whirling disease, a common and current problem facing trout in many Rocky Mountain rivers. Participants will help collect algae, sediments, invertebrates, and fish from local rivers. 

August 7Plant Evolution in a Rapidly Changing World, Dr. Jill Anderson (University of Georgia): Modern reliance on fossil fuels has ushered in extreme temperatures globally and abnormal precipitation patterns in many regions. Climate change exposes natural communities to novel stresses, and increases extinction risk. In this tour, we will discuss short- and long-term consequences of changing climates, and how natural plant populations are responding. Scientists can test biological consequences of climate change through various procedures, including experimental manipulations of temperature and water stress, and experimental gardens across climatic gradients (such as elevation). In this tour, we will visit a study that combines these methods to discuss experimental design and results. Plants are particularly interesting because of their sedentary nature. Yet, plants have mechanisms to adjust to changing environments, which we will explore in this tour.

To learn more about Geek Week, check out the article  ‘Geek Week: Up close and personal with RMBL scientists’ which appeared in the Crested Butte News in July 2013.