Water Camp hailed as success

Submitted by

Shawna Kelsey

On July 19 and 20, the Yaak Valley Forest Council conducted the thrid annual Watershed Ecology Daycamp (nicknamed Water Camp). The camp is open to middle-school age students in the Troy area.

This year, eight kids participated in the two day camp. The camp includes teaching sessions as well as hands-on projects.

This year, we were happy to have presentations from the Three Rivers Ranger District staff including Sarah Alberts, Laura Jungst, Brad Hanson, and John Wagner. The kids were able to improve their base knowledge of watershed management, wildlife that depends on healthy water, and even bear spray training.

While at the Roosevelt Park fish pond, the kids had a chance to identify and label plants that the YVFC planted in the spring with the help of community volunteers and Morrison Elementary’s sixth grade class.

During the second day of camp, we traveled to Clay Creek, a stream in the Yaak Valley. The YVFC Headwaters crew began restoration work at that site in 2015. The crew was able to share the work with the kids, connecting the knowledge shared by USFS staff with on-the-ground work.

Once the kids understood the process, they jumped in the creek to plant willow and install brush bundles (wattles) to reduce erosion. The kids enjoyed the cool water on the hot day, showing great interest in the project.

We look forward to offering the camp again next year, in addition to our other conservation education activities including the Girls’ Hiking Series, Montana Natural Resources Youth Camp outreach and scholarship, and the Morrison Elementary School garden. For information on the YVFC conservation education programming, please contact shawna@yaakvalley.org or call the office at 406-291-9736.