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Quarterly Steward

Winter 2008-2009

big brown bat
Gone Batty!
by Katie Benzel, Dillon FO

Bats are an important part of the ecosystem, pollinating valuable crop plants and controlling night-flying insects. One little brown bat can catch up to 1,200 insects in one hour and reproductive females can consume their body weight in insects each night. A large colony of bats can catch literally tons of insects nightly, including beetle and moth species that cost American farmers and foresters billions of dollars a year.  [Read full story]  

volunteers doing trail work
National Public Lands Day 2008 

Montana/Dakotas BLM hosted 11 National Public Lands Day projects this year – more than ever before. Volunteers of all ages showed up to pull weeds, plant trees, build fences, and pick up trash.  It wasn’t all work, though. Some organizers also took the opportunity to teach Leave No Trace principles or offer brief lessons on area history and wildlife. Volunteers at the Sheep Mountain Recreation Site wrapped up their work day by tossing atlatl darts at wooly mammoth targets. [Read full story]

pale evening primrose
Rare Plants Catch Fire in Southwest Montana
by Brian Hockett, Dillon FO 

A 700-acre fire swept across the north side of the Centennial Valley early in September, leaving the area completely clear of vegetation. A disaster? No. The prescribed fire will actually rejuvenate habitat for four rare plant species.  [Read full story


volunteers with Governor Schweitzer
Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center Draws Visitors and Volunteers

Word is spreading.  The Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center in Fort Benton is a great place to visit. In addition to the unique building design, scenic location, and interactive exhibits, the center offers fun and creative interpretive programs for people of all ages. 

In only its second year of operation, the MBIC hosted almost 700 students at 54 programs. Four separate evening presentations featuring historical reenactments drew in an additional 123 people. [Read full story]

Public Meeting Draws Applause
by Craig Flentie, Lewistown Field Office

The Lewistown Field Office recently hosted a public meeting to invite comments and ideas for treating about 200 acres of downed timber created recently by a significant wind event in the Judith Mountains.  Everything but the conclusion of this public meeting went pretty much along a straight line.  [Read full story  

Montana BLMers Receive Forest Service Partnership Award
by Ann Boucher, Montana State Office 

Five BLM-Montana employees are recipients of the U.S. Forest Service’s 2008 Rise to the Future Partnership Award.  Jim Sparks and Jay Parks (Billings Field Office); Joe Platz and Wendy Warren (Miles City Field Office); and Gayle Sitter (Montana State Office) are commended for their support, leadership, and commitment to the Crooked Creek Barrier Project. The interagency effort will protect and expand one of three genetically pure populations of Yellowstone cutthroat trout on both BLM and Forest Service lands in the Pryor Mountains.  [Read full story]

Clark Fork Team Receives DOI Environmental Achievement Award 

The Clark Fork River Response and Restoration Team accepted the Department of the Interior’s 2008 Environmental Achievement Award during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 18. 

Since the early 1990s, the team has been involved in settling a natural resource damages lawsuit filed by the DOI against the Atlantic Richfield Company. The lawsuit alleged that BLM and National Park Service lands along the Clark Fork River in western Montana were contaminated by heavy metals from Butte/Anaconda mining operations in the late 1800s and early 1900s. [Read full story

Don Galvin
Don Galvin – Employee and Volunteer Extraordinaire
by Ann Boucher, MSO

Don Galvin first came to the Billings Field Office as a seasonal range tech in May 2002. Having retired from a 30-year career with the Marines, he was enrolled at Middle Tennessee University in Murfreesboro and wanted a summer job related to his field of study.  He seems to like it. He has returned every year since then, holding seasonal positions related to wild horses, wildlife, and recreation. But to him, it’s more than just the job. [Read full story]