Summer Science Tours

Postponed until 2021

Summer Science Tours for Adults (and children over the age of 12 with an adult)

Enjoy a beautiful morning outdoors!  We invite you to explore the world of field scientists and learn how they use the Gunnison Valley to understand our world.  You will step into the shoes of scientists to learn about their field research as we explore each week’s topic.

Each tour includes 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 the Community Center with your scientist tour leader, $50 per person.

Please consider bringing a small day pack, drinking water, snack, sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen, rain jacket, and sturdy footwear. For your comfort we recommend wearing light colored clothing, a long-sleeved cotton shirt and pants. Walking poles, journals, cameras, and binoculars are also encouraged. Science Tours are considered moderate walking tours on gravel roads and dirt paths.

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 2:10 p.m.

For questions please email

Marmots of Gothic with Dr. Dan Blumstein of UCLA

Join UCLA Professor and long-time marmoteer Dan Blumstein on an informational tour of the RMBL marmot project. Started in 1962 by Ken Armitage, this is one of the world’s longest-running studies of individually-marked mammals.

Microclimates and Plant Communities of Gothic with Dr. Ian Breckheimer

Why are the plants so varied in the landscape around Gothic? What ingredients go into making a beautiful wildflower meadow? How are these landscapes changing over time? Join us for an exploration of aspens groves, rocky meadows, and conifer forests around the Gothic townsite, and learn about what the decades of plant ecology research here has taught us.

Plant pathogens and climate change with Ian Miller from Princeton University

Did you know that plants get sick too? Plant diseases and the pathogens that cause them are normal parts of healthy ecosystems. But in our changing world, they may pose an increased threat to both the environment and agriculture. Come see firsthand how RMBL researchers are using a wildflower to investigate the effects of climate change on the spread and evolution of plant pathogens.

Bees of Gothic, Dr. Jessica Forrest

Bees are the world’s preeminent pollinators. They’re also beautiful, diverse, and fascinating to watch as they go about extracting pollen and nectar from flowers and providing for their young. In this tour, you will learn about the many different types of wild bees, find out why the Crested Butte area is such a great place for bees, and get some tips on what you can do to support native bee populations. If the weather is cooperative, we’ll spend some time observing bees on flowers and looking at active bee nests (all without being stung!). This tour will be led by Jessica Forrest, long-time RMBL bee researcher and Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Ottawa (in Canada).

Ants and Plants of Gothic with Dr. Kailen Mooney

Because plants are rooted to the ground, they can’t run and they can’t hide from critters that want to eat them.  Incredibly, some plants have solved this problem by paying for protection from body guard ants that would make Tony Soprano proud. Come learn about these fascinating and complex partnerships between plants and ants.



East River of Gothic with Jared Balik of North Carolina State University

Come down to the East River near Gothic to learn about field and lab experiments in the streams near RMBL. Jared is a PhD Candidate at North Carolina State University studying how climate change affects ecosystem function and nutrient biogeochemistry in montane rivers, ponds, and wetlands. Jared’s stream research program focuses on how climate-driven advances in snowmelt phenology enhance algal growth and in turn modulate whole-stream nutrient processing, an important component of landscape energy and material transport. Jared’s work also examines how these changes in stream algae propagate through stream food webs to impact the growth and development of stream invertebrates.

Aspens of Gothic with Dr. Ben Blonder

Quaking aspen forests are one of the most beautiful and widespread landscapes in the Rocky Mountains, evoking sounds of leaves rustling in the wind, and images of golden hillsides in autumn. They are also far more than meets the eye, full of ecological and evolutionary surprises. Learn more about the challenges they are facing in warming and drying climates, about their histories since the last Ice Age, about their fascinating clonal growth, and about the many organisms that call them home. This tour will take you on a short walk to meet some trees in the aspen forests near Gothic. The tour will be led by Dr. Benjamin Blonder from the University of California, Berkeley, whose research group studies forest mortality.