WCU geology students and recent alumni (from left) Richard Pedigo, Courtney Hartman, Holly Hurding-Jones and Eliza Hurst check their notes during a field training session in Yellowstone National Park with U.S. government engineering geologist Doug Anderson (background).

A group of four Western Carolina University geology students and alumni kept an eye out for grizzly bears and other wildlife this summer while working on a project to map landslides in one of the crown jewels of the U.S. park system – Yellowstone.

Courtney Hartman, Richard Pedigo, Holly Hurding-Jones and Eliza Hurst participated in field training with a Yellowstone geologist and a National Park Service geomorphologist during the week of May 20-25 to learn the details of a landslide and slope assessment methodology. Their field work, which began May 25 and ended July 14, involved spending 40 hours per week mapping landslides along several major Yellowstone highway corridors, including West Entrance to Madison Junction, Madison Junction to Old Faithful, and Madison Junction to Mammoth Hot Springs.

Hurding-Jones, who came to WCU from Bromley, England, by way of Lenoir, and Hurst, who is from Pompano Beach, Florida, received their bachelor’s degrees in geology after WCU’s recent spring semester. Hartman hails from Hickory and plans to graduate in December, while Pedigo is from Charlotte and expects to graduate next May.

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Originally published July 11, 2018. Written by Randall Holcombe.

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