March programs offer a variety of learning opportunities


A variety of educational programs are available at the refuge this month.

Photo credit: Google Images

March 6, 2019 

The historic Miller House on the National Elk Refuge will be open to the public later this month for a unique winter visit to the site. Though the Miller House is only open seasonally from late May to mid-September, refuge staff will open the door to the historic landmark on Saturday, March 16 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm and Sunday, March 24 from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm. The Miller House is located on the Refuge Road, ¾ mile north of the Refuge’s entrance at the end of East Broadway Avenue in Jackson. Entrance to the Miller House is free of charge. 

With daylight savings kicking in this month, one of the programs offered at the Miller House will focus on a common source of light for homesteaders. Visitors will have the opportunity to make candles, using the traditional method of candle dipping. Dressed in period homesteading clothing, staff from the Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum will be on hand to explain the process and guide candle makers of all ages through the process of repeatedly dipping a weighted wick between a beeswax vat and a cool water bath to create the layers that form the tapered candle. Participants will be able to take home the souvenir candle they create that day. 

A second craft will focus on fun over function: visitors can make a thaumatrope, a paper Victorian optical toy popular in the 19th century. Crafters draw a different picture on either side of a round paper disk, then attach a string to each side. When the string is wound up and released, the card rapidly spins and merges the two pictures. Creative artists can strategically place their drawings on the disk to make a variety of fun optical illusions. 

Visitors to the refuge this month can also get an early glimpse of one of the area’s most notable spring migrations by viewing a display at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center on the Path of the Pronghorn wildlife corridor.  Each year, hundreds of pronghorn migrate more than 100 miles from their summer range in Jackson Hole to the lower elevations of the Green River Basin. The journey entails crossing four major rivers, through a 9,000 foot pass in the Gros Ventre Mountains, and two wildlife overpasses located on US Highway 191. The route, which has been used by the remarkable mammal for over 6,000 years, is the nation’s first federally protected wildlife corridor and is one of the longest large mammal migration corridors remaining in North America. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are two of many agencies and organizations working to protect this passage from development. 

The exhibit, which also includes basic information about the unique, fleet-footed mammal, is located in the theater on the upper level of the Visitor Center and will remain on display through April 6. The display will be accompanied by continuous showings of the PBS Nature film The Sagebrush Sea, a documentary that looks at the complex and abundant life within the sagebrush ecosystem so important to the pronghorn’s survival. 

Naturalists will also lead two migration-themed excursions on the Refuge Road on Sunday, March 17 and Saturday, March 23 from 1:30 - 4:00 pm. Space is limited. For more information or to make a reservation, please call (307) 201-5406.