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A Journey through the Monument
by Ruth Miller, Montana State Office; and Craig Flentie, Lewistown Field Office
Fort Benton students await paddling instruction before beginning their multi-day river trip. This river trip is supported by Take it Outside funding through BLM.
Photo by Connie Jacobs
A Journey Through the Monument school group on the Upper Missouri.
Connie Jacobs, interpretive center director.
The Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center (MBIC) in Fort Benton hosts a long list of educational, entertaining and informative events each year. Among the most popular is a two and a half day float trip for seventh graders called A Journey through the Monument.
Developed under the Take It Outside program, the float down the Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River shows students the public land treasures right in their own back yard. They get to see unique geological formations, Native American tipi rings, homesteads, and Lewis and Clark sites; they learn about topics such as aquatic ecology and water sampling; and they practice journaling, art, Leave No Trace principles, and safe camping and canoeing protocols.
Fort Benton seventh graders have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Almost none of them had seen that stretch of the Missouri River before, and although a few had done an overnight river trip, some had never before been camping. Nearly every participant said they want to return with their families to float the Missouri again.
The word has spread. Fort Benton School will continue to participate, and other area schools are getting on board as well.
Interpretive Center Director Recognized
The Journey through the Monument program has earned Connie Jacobs this year’s Silver Star Award for Excellence in Interpretation/Environmental Education. Jacobs, director of the Missouri River Breaks Interpretive Center in Fort Benton, will receive the award from BLM Director Bob Abbey at the National Association of Interpretation annual meeting in Hartford, Conn., in November.