Monday, February 18, 2013

First month in Montana

Here are some reflections from Becca Mathias, our new AmeriCorps member through the Big Sky Watershed Corps. Stop by to welcome Becca, and read on to see what she's been up to in her first month here!

Hike through the Pryor Mountains

January 8th, 2013

Hikers log:  We set out to the Pryor Mountains to collect seeds for the replanting of natural flora on the Center grounds.

Weather Report:  Sunny with clear skies and a small breeze; a perfect day for a hike.

Observations:  The landscape and sediment type varies throughout our journey for seeds.  Bright, loose clay changes to dull, packed rocky substrate.  We saw a variety of tree and shrub species, most of which were seed-free, picked over by scavenging animals preparing for winter.  As we are walking, the few clouds move around in the sky, the Beartooth Mountains come into view perfectly!   

We had an amazing view as we stopped for lunch.  Basking in the sunshine, we take it all in while fueling up for the trip back to the truck.  As we were heading back, the wind decided to really pick up, pushing against us with invisible force.  Overall, we had a great trip out to the largely unexplored Pryor Mountains. 

Crawling with ANTS

The New Year brought lots of ANTS… not the kind you are used to seeing in your kitchen, we are working with school groups throughout the area and teaching them about Animal Adaptations.  These adventures include the proper use of binoculars, bird identification in the field, using dichotomous keys and adaptation deductions from the furs of our wild friends.  We just can’t get enough of hands on education and can’t wait for more classes to come out to the Center!

Fire & Ice, and Everything Nice

Making fire, home-made ice cream and sledding, oh my!  This program was filled with fun experiments, team-work oriented activities and delicious rewards.  We started out the day with some experiments inside, leading to our first sledding adventure outside!  The kids learned how to make tea bags fly, start a fire with flint and Magnesium, how to make ice cream in a bag and more!    

Students built towers of containers using strings attached to a pony-tail holder, this activity required communication and working together as a team!  They were great at it and we all had fun seeing how tall of a tower they could  make =)

Sledding one at a time down the hill led to an experiment, how many sleds can we get to go down the hill at once?  Answer, 5!  After a good sledding break outside, we came inside to warm up and learn how to make fire, they were really good at this and trust me, it’s no easy task!

We decided to warm up by the fire and take a quick snack break, toasty marshmallows on a cold day is just what the doctor ordered!

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