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SOLD OUT! – Naturalist Field Weekend: Sage-Grouse Experience

April 20 @ 1:00 pm - April 22 @ 2:00 pm

greater sage-grouse

April 20-22, 2018 | Montana High Country Lodge


Please call us at 406.327.0405 if you would like to be added to the waitlist.

Discover a success story of collaborative conservation and a dancing wonder of the world and the wide, open west–the Greater Sage-grouse. In this three-day exploration through the Grasshopper Valley of southwestern Montana, you’ll experience a welcoming mix of place-based experiences and expert knowledge as you explore the natural history of sage-grouse. This field experience will allow you a rare opportunity to see their magnificent mating displays on leks protected by ranchers, landowners, and conservation partners.

Greater Sage-grouse perform elaborate courtship displays each spring on a lek, or mating arena. During the early morning and evening, males display by strutting, fanning their tail feathers, and inflating bright yellow gular sacs, creating a unique sounds. The grouse return to the same leks year after year for generations, hoping to attract females.

This field weekend is for anyone looking to deepen their knowledge of this species, while enjoying being part of a group of naturalists in one of the most beautiful corners of our state.



Jay GoreJay Gore, Wildlife Biologist
Jay has extensive background in wildlife biology, endangered species management, and collaborative conservation processes. Jay has been an ‘Adopt-a-Lek’ coordinator, served on the Upland Game Bird Enhancement Citizens Advisory Council, and served on the Montana Governors’ Sage-grouse State Management Council. He has also worked as an Endangered Species Program Manager and National Grizzly Bear Habitat Coordinator for the Forest Service.


Wenfei TongWenfei Tong, Wildlife Biologist
Wenfei has a PhD in biology from Harvard and currently teaches at the University of Montana, where she also studies the evolution, genetics, and behavior of grassland birds. She has done fieldwork on ranches in Zambia and in Montana on the National Bison Range and Yellowstone National Park, and is also helping bird conservation partners in Montana to develop a long-term bird-monitoring program using citizen science platforms like eBird. She has been the naturalist and guest lecturer for Harvard Natural History Museum trips to Tanzania and Central Asia as well as the Galapagos Islands, Panama, and Costa Rica with National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions. She currently leads natural history and birding trips in Montana, on foot, on skis, and on horseback.

$375 for MNHC Members; $395 for Non-Members

We’ll be staying in the spacious and comfortable Montana High Country Lodge in the Grasshopper Valley in southwest Montana.The price for the field experience includes two breakfast meals and a two-night stay. Lunch and dinner will be on your own (the Lodge can provide sack lunches, and they have a wonderful restaurant for evening meals).

Montana High Country Lodge

Montana High Country Lodge interior


Friday, April 20th:
If you would like to join us on the MNHC bus, we will leave the Montana Natural History Center at 1:00 p.m. You can also meet us at the Grasshopper Lodge. We will arrive in time to settle in and enjoy a delicious meal.

Jay Gore and Steve Sherman, a Dillon biologist and photographer, will lead an evening program on Greater Sage-grouse biology and conservation.

Saturday, April 21st:
Leave the lodge bright and early at 4:30 a.m. to travel to the lek. We will view the sage-grouse for 2-3 hours.

Breakfast/brunch will be served at the lodge when we return.

In the afternoon you can choose to:

  • Take the bus to Clark Canyon Reservoir for waterfowl birding with Jay Gore and Jenélle Dowling.
  • Take the other bus to Bannack State Park and ghost town for a historical tour and possible birding along the way with Christine Morris.
  • Enjoy the lodge atmosphere, view numerous elk, and walk or hike the grounds with Wenfei Tong.

Dinner in the lodge.

Wenfei Tong will lead an evening program on Greater Sage-grouse current research and behavior.

Sunday, April 22nd:

Breakfast in the lodge.

Depart at 10:00 a.m.

Arrive MNHC around 1:30 p.m.


Clothing Day Pack Food
T-shirt/Long sleeve shirt Day pack Snacks
Jeans/pants Water bottle Tea, instant coffee packets, ect.
Socks Sunglasses  
Underwear Pen/pencil  
Sweater/fleece Journal  
Hiking boots/shoes that can get muddy Camera  
Lodge shoes Travel coffee/tea mug  
Brimmed hat/ball cap Binoculars  
Warm hat/cap Bird guide book  
Rain gear- jacket/pants or poncho Flashlight  
Gloves Sunscreen  
Warm layers    
Hand/Foot warmers    


Not all of these items are required—you can use your judgment based on what you think you might need.  But this list will help serve as a reminder. We will have multiple scopes and binoculars to borrow.

There is plenty of room on the buses for luggage. However, we are not able to accommodate full-size coolers for each participant. You may bring a small personal cooler.

Please bring whatever you need to ensure your comfort and happiness.



April 20 @ 1:00 pm
April 22 @ 2:00 pm
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