Sharing IoE and EPSCoR Science with National Park Visitors

Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks --both of which lie within the ecosystems monitored and studied by IOE-- receive approximately 5 million visitors a year, many of whom are interested in receiving educational information about the areas they have visited. IOE will develop a blend of print and multimedia assets: animations, video clips, quizzes, calculators, tips, maps, quick facts, and interactives --that demonstrate concepts such as modeling, predictions and uncertainties associated with climate change.

December 2013: Living Colors: Microbes of Yellowstone is launched!

Living Colors: Microbes of Yellowstone National Park is a full-color guide that introduces the public to some of the tiniest residents of Yellowstone. An accompanying identification wheel is also available and can be used by itself or to accompany the book. 

The products were created as an educational partnership involving the Yellowstone Association, MSU’s Thermal Biology Institute and the Montana Institute on Ecosystems. Both TBI and the Montana IoE are involved in research that focuses on the critical role microbes play in human and natural ecosystems. However, despite Yellowstone seeing upwards of 3 million visitors per year, many of those visitors are unaware of the diversity of life around them. When visitors stand on a boardwalk at Yellowstone, there may be more microbes in the soil beneath their feet than humans on Earth. 

Read more in this news story, including how to get a copy. You can also see animations of Yellowstone microbes on YouTube

If you are interested in borrowing a set of Living Colors guidebooks and identification wheels for a class or educational field trip, please contact Jamie Cornish at (406) 994-6005 or

For the future....we'll continue working with the Parks and their non-profit partners to create media assets such as mobile apps for tablets and smartphones, and QR codes to complement Park signage and printed materials.

Additionally, IOE will continue to develop print and digital communications tools to reach face-to-face national park visitors as well as armchair travelers with information that ties IOE research projects and results to issues of high importance to the national parks and surrounding ecosystems.


MSU IoE Office

Montana State University
605 Leon Johnson Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717
(406) 994-2374
MSU Director: Bruce Maxwell

UM IoE Office

The Universityi of Montana

The University of Montana
Davidson Honors College
Missoula, MT 59812
(406) 243-6058
UM Director: Maury Valett


Montana University System

Montana University System

Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
2500 Broadway Street
Helena, MT 59620