Protecting Elk Migration in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Protecting Elk Migration in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Learn about the nine herds of elk in Yellowstone National Park, each named for where they winter.


5 - 8


Biology, Ecology, Geography, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

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Idea for Use in the Classroom

To begin, have students read this case study on Arthur Middleton and his work to protect elk migration in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

After reading, divide the class into nine groups, or “herds,” as named on Elk Migrations of the Great Yellowstone Ecosystem map, found on page four of the case study. Ask each group to use the map to write down a description of its herd to share with the class. Instruct each group to include what the herd does throughout the year, whether or not they migrate, why they do or do not migrate, and where in the park they live. The descriptions can be written on the board, on poster board, or shared digitally if students have access to computers. When everyone is finished, have each herd present their description to the rest of the class.

After the presentations, have a class discussion. Ask students: Which herd do you think has the easiest life? Why? Why do herds migrate? Have students specify information from the infographic that supports their answers. Encourage students to consider migration routes, access to food, predation, hunting, and features of elk habitats.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Production Managers
Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Program Specialists
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

November 13, 2023

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