Tour the Tundra: Biome Explorers

Grab a coat – on our next biome exploration we will Tour the Tundra to discover the plants and animals that inhabit the Arctic, the Antarctic, and alpine tundra. This biome is vast, treeless, and mostly frozen – it’s also the coldest of all biomes and gets roughly the same amount of precipitation as deserts. Despite this, there are amazing plants and animals that call the tundra home.

We’ll see herds of caribou and millions of birds that have migrated hundreds of miles to take advantage of the short summer in the Arctic. There are also Arctic fox and hares. These hardy animals are year-round residents who change their coats each season to camouflage themselves – white in the winter and brown in the summer. There are hardy plants there, too – over 1,700 types!

In the Antarctic there is less biodiversity, but still some plants and animals thrive. Most of the region stays covered in ice all year but look closely in the few ice-free spots and you’ll see moss and lichen; there are even two species of flowering plants in the Antarctic. Most of the animals we’ll see are just temporary summertime residents living on the coast and in the ocean, including lots of penguins!

Finally, we’ll hike up to the alpine tundra of Colorado – one of my favorite places to visit in the summer. What might we see? Marmots, pika, moose, elk, deer, bear, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and more. We’ll also see dozens of different species of wildflowers, even in this environment with wind, cold, intense sun, and a short growing season. Remember, though, that these tundra biomes are fragile so watch where you step and stay on the trail!