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WEN’s success is built upon the generosity and enthusiasm of our ever growing network of friends and collaborators.
Bitter Root Water Forum This year, we have been able to accomplish Blackfoot Challenge great things in the community through the help and Cairn Cartographics support of our partners. WEN was able to host a Clark Fork Coalition Family Watershed Exploration day with Missoula Clark Fork Technical Advisory Committee Children and Nature, as well as take part in the Department of Environmental Quality Forest Service Nature Days and Seeley Lake Department of Natural Resources and Discovery Days. WEN staff also were able to assist Conservation in the Sanders County Watershed Festival, lead a Ecology Project International program at Montana Wilderness Association event in Environmental Protection Agency the Rattlesnake Wilderness, complete a restoration Five Valleys Land Trust project with Rattlesnake Watershed Group and Flathead Basin Commission more. Thank you to all of our partners and all of the Flathead Lakers work that you do in the community. We look forward Friends of Two Rivers to working with you in the coming years! Gidaa Ice Age Flood Institute Montana State Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Lolo National Forest Montana Watercourse Lolo Watershed Group Montana Watershed Coordination Council Missoula Flagship National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Missoula Children & Nature National Science Foundation Missoula County Public Schools Office of Public Instruction Missoula County Weed District Project Learning Tree Missoula Downtown Association Project W.E.T. Missoula Urban Demonstration Project Project Wild Missoula Writing Collaborative Rattlesnake Watershed Group Montana Education Association Rocky Mountain Watershed Network Montana Environmental Education Association Salish Kootenai College Montana Natural History Center Sanders County Weed District Montana Nonprofit Association St. Anthony National Water Lab Sustainable Business Association Swan Ecosystem Center Tri-State Water Quality Council Trout Conservancy University of Montana: Center for Environmental Health College of Forestry and Conservation Environmental Studies Program Geology Department Internship Services Office for Civic Engagement Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences Watershed Health Clinic
Hello River Friends,
A wise Missoulian recently said to me, “What would Missoula be without our rivers?” Indeed, we are fortunate if the next generation continues to value the clean, healthy rivers we all now enjoy. Our work at The Watershed Education Network (WEN) is to continue this cycle of river stewardship through educating youth about healthy rivers and streams. As I reflect on 2011, I realize that WEN has weathered some major transitions and through these, the organization has grown stronger and more resilient than ever. As you page through this report you will see some staggering numbers that demonstrate that river education is crucial to our western Montana teachers and students. In a time of flood and drought concerns, global climate change and water ownership, it is imperative for our youth to have knowledge of and experience with our precious water resources. Participating teachers rely on WEN’s consistent field-based programs each fall and spring for enriching science lessons. Most of these classes pay a nominal fee, but we do not turn any class away for lack of ability to pay. WEN has only been able to provide scholarships for these classes due to the ongoing community support we receive each year. We have been fortunate to have a number of multi-year sponsors for our water education programs and have also welcomed new community and business members. As we look to the future, WEN is partnering with University of Montana, Salish Kootenai College and other collaborators crafting grant projects that include groundwater monitoring with surface monitoring. We are also expanding our database to provide critical water resource data as an available resource for educators, community members and students. To keep river education engaging, we also continue to respond to the needs of our teachers to better grow understanding of river ecosystems through the lens of Native American culture, riparian vegetation and plant communities. In the end, it is the network of friends, volunteers and lasting partnerships that make what WEN does possible. We thank each of you for all the ways you have contributed to making WEN strong and viable. As we begin our 16th year, I feel fortunate to work with dedicated staff, amazing volunteers, committed teachers and curious young people for another year of quality field-science education. Warmly, Deb Fassnacht WEN Executive Director
In 2011, WEN was pleased to work with Missoula’s Flagship After-School Program at a greater level than in 2010. WEN led 17 water resources and river focused Flagship programs in 2011, covering 219 student days. These programs ranged from a six-week spring Water Exploration with Sentinel High School students, to summer offerings through Meadowhill, Washington and C.S. Porter Middle School Flagships, and finally a six-week fall Bug Club Flagship with Lowell Elementary 2nd and 3rd graders. WEN staff has had a great year working with this wide range of students in after-school activities, and looks forward to building and strengthening this partnership with Flagship programs in Missoula in 2012.
Another year has indeed come and gone. Another year I feel extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to volunteer with WEN. There is nothing that makes me happier than going out on field trips and helping the kids learn how to understand rivers. It became sort of an addiction over the years - seeing how different kids interpret rivers, recognizing the moment when it clicks and they realize how all the little things they are shown come together to form a picture of a healthy river. It is so important to teach them while they are young so they have time to develop their interests. I was not so lucky and only found the depth of my interest in water through volunteering with WEN. I never would have thought that I would love aquatic macroinvertebrates until WEN introduced me to them, and now I have a great job where I get to look at bugs every day! WEN not only provides an important service to the community by helping to grow the next generation of watershed stewards but also an invaluable service to their volunteers through support and encouragment in pursuing life’s goals.
-Al Pak, Rhithron Technical Department
Milltown Journeys Program:
The Milltown Journeys Program is still in full swing, reaching over 220 student days and serving twelve class presentations and fieldtrips to the Milltown Bluff in the last year. Beyond K-12 programs, WEN staff worked with the Montana Environmental Education Association (MEEA) last spring, showcasing the Clark Fork River restoration and the Milltown site for 14 teachers and natural resource leaders. Additionally, WEN led three University of Montana Environmental Education classes for a total of 55 students in an exploration of the history of the Milltown dam removal.
Liam Wood Fly Fishers and River Guardians Program
This season we celebrated our fifth annual Liam Wood Fly Fishers and River Guardian School. This week-long summer program was created in honor of Liam Wood, a dedicated fly fisher and river steward. In this week, high school students have opportunity to explore river ecosystems, learn about river advocacy, read various examples of fly fishing and local literature and, of course, fly fish! This summer marked a special year for the program, as we were joined George Kesel, an expert fly fisherman, as well as Bruce Brabec, Liam Wood’s stepfather. We also were lucky enough to be joined by various river experts and fly fisherman such as Ron Beck of the Missoulian Angler, Doc Davies and more.
2011 WEN Interns:
Hayle LaFountain – Website Intern (Spring 2011) Jesse Dwyer – Plants Intern (Spring 2011) John Presser – Tech Intern (Spring 2011) Katie Foster – Media Intern (Spring 2011) Rosie Amo – Intern (Spring 2011) Shawn Ash – Stream Team Intern (Spring 2011) Lindsey Salmonson – Stream Team Intern (Fall 2011) Katy Thomas – Native American Curriculum Intern (Fall 2011)
Arlee Elementary School Bonner School C.S. Porter Middle School Dixon School Five Valleys Home School Co-op Garden City Montessori School Hellgate High School Flagship Hot Springs School Lewis and Clark Elementary School Lincoln School Lowell Elementary School Flagship Meadowhill Flagship Missoula Community School Missoula Girl Scouts Missoula Youth Homes Nkwusm Salish Immersion School Noxon School Paxson Elementary School Plains School Potomac School Primrose Montessori School Rattlesnake Elementary School Salish Kootenai College Salmon Prairie School Seeley Lake High School Sentinel Flagship Spirit at Play Preschool St. Regis School Sussex School Swan Valley School Target Range Elementary School Thompson Falls School Trout Creek School Two Eagle River School University of Montana Victor School Washington Middle School Watsons Children’s Center Woodman School
Bancroft Pond Bitterroot @ Fort Missoula Bitterroot @ Victor Crossing Clark Fork River @ Clark Fork Park Clark Fork @ Easy Street Clark Fork @ Kelly Island Clark Fork @ St. Regis Clark Fork @ Turah Fishing Access Glacier Creek Jocko River @ Bison Range Turn Jocko River below Fish Hatchery Lolo Creek @ Fort Fizzle Lolo Creek @ O.Z. Ranch Lolo Creek @ Wastewater Treatment Plant Miller Creek @ Bear Run Creek Road Mission Creek just north of St. Ignatius Patty Creek @ Lester Park Patty Creek @ Sylvester home Rattlesnake Creek @ bridge above trailhead Rattlesnake Creek @ Greenough Park Rattlesnake Creek @ Pineview Park Spring Creek St. Regis River Swan River
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