8th Annual Winter Tracks Education Event in Troy

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Yells of enthusiasm could be heard for miles. Mr. Arpin, a local school teacher, said “I’m just happy we got the kids outside.” Over at the mammal booth, Anthony never tired of answering the same question; “No that one is a coyote, not a fox.” Over at the bear-aware station, Ben could be heard shouting; “Watch out for the bear!” Later he also said, “It’s really cool to see kids excited and wanting to learn- it’s cold and weather is working against us, but I’ve never been so happy to hear about pandas during a local bear identification course. It’s contagious.” Amy Pierson, the executive director for YVFC guided groups from site to site, and said; “it was awesome to see so many adults invested in getting kids outside and connected to their environment.” A few brave highschoolers faced the cold as well to help chaperone the throngs. Phil Hough, who works at FSPW and was pivotal in coordinating the event said “Winter Tracks is great to get kids outside, having fun and learning about nature. We connect volunteers with expertise on things like tracks, trees, mammals, ecology, avalanche/snow safety to share their knowledge and passion with the students.” Although temperatures hung around 35 degrees Fahrenheit, everyone stayed focused and had a great time learning in the snow.


By Katie McCahan, The Montanian


Photos by Katie McCahan, The Montanian

Landowners can apply for Forest Resiliency and Wildfire Mitigation Assistance through the USDA Joint Chiefs’ Landscape

Restoration Partnership 

USDA’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Montana were awarded four Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership projects last week. These partnership projects will mitigate wildfire risk, protect water quality, improve wildlife habitat, restore forest ecosystems and ultimately contribute to USDA’s efforts to combat climate change.

Private forest landowners located within the priority areas for the following three-year projects can apply for technical and financial assistance. While NRCS accepts applications for all programs year-round, landowners should apply by March 4, 2022, to be eligible for the current round of funding. Interested landowners can use the contact information below to get more information.

Libby Surround Stewardship, Kootenai National Forest: Contact the NRCS Eureka field office at 406-296-0367.

“NRCS is excited to collaborate with the Forest Service and the many other partners that have helped to develop these projects and will be working with us to implement them,” said Tom Watson, NRCS State Conservationist for Montana. “Enhanced forest resiliency and reduction of wildfire threats benefits us all by protecting our communities, critical infrastructure, and evacuation routes for residents and responders.”

Learn more about each of Montana’s Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration projects at www.mt.nrcs.usda under Programs.

Submitted by USDA Natural Resources

Conservation Service