Despite limited funds and challenging schedules, Montana-Dakotas BLM employees continue to serve their communities through environmental education.
Environmental education crosses all specialties and serves many purposes. It can show homeowners how to protect their property from wildland fire, encourage the wise use of natural resources, demonstrate the role public lands play in our everyday lives, and introduce students to career opportunities in natural resource management.
Employees in every office contribute their time and knowledge, and the effects are far-reaching. Last year alone, thousands of visitors participated in BLM’s educational programs. If we include the Lewis and Clark bicentennial events, participants number well over 100,000.
Programs presented in 2006 included events such as kids’ fishing days, living history presentations, and conservation days, as well as programs on fire ecology, archeology, and wildlife. In addition, an assortment of events through our visitor centers at Garnet Ghost Town, Pompeys Pillar National Monument, and the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument offered site-specific information.
Environmental education programs are tailored for various audiences ranging from young children to adults and seniors. For instance, the visitor centers host hundreds of school kids each year as well as numerous Elderhostel groups, and Defensible Space Night at the Helena Brewers baseball game educated homeowners about wildland-urban interface living.
A few employees have environmental education as part of their job duties; with increasingly busy schedules, however, most of the environmental education occurring is simply due to employees caring about what they do and passing along their knowledge.
Geologist Dave Coppock tells about the geology of Pompeys Pillar during the Clark on the Yellowstone National Signature Event in July 2006.
Photo by Sandy Ward
Geologist Dan Benoit shows students how to pan for gold during Take Your Child to Work Day at the Montana State Office.
Photo by Ann Boucher
Miles City Field Office archaeologist Doug Melton assists a visitor with setting up an atlatl (a throwing stick and dart) during Miles City BLM’s annual Archaeology Day.
Photo by Mark Jacobsen