Every year, Rick and Suzie Graetz of the University of Montana bring the Polebridge Field Course to the North Fork. For the “field” part, the class spends five days up here, learning about the landscape, the species that live on it (including humans), its geology and history. At the end of the first full day, there is a presentation at Sondreson Community Hall that includes a lot of spectacular photos and considerable interaction between students and locals.
Here’s Lois Walker’s report on the event, lightly edited…
The Graetz’s gave another splendid presentation last Monday, January 16. It was the best yet, I believe. Suzie presented a 10-year retrospective slideshow, with photos from all their classes — lots of familiar faces and locations. Rick’s show featured breathtaking photos from around the Crown of the Continent. They had a reporter and a photographer from the Missoulian in tow, as well as Dr. Hal Stearns, a Montana historian, retired brigadier general from the Montana National Guard and husband of the current University of Montana president, who gave a rousing introduction. I believe there were 18 class members, plus a few associate students, plus the staff. The locals in attendance brought the total up to around 50. And of course Oliver Meister was present as the gracious host. There was a huge decorated chocolate cake in honor of the 10th anniversary. Another very nice evening on the North Fork.
Note: There were actually four speakers. Lois forgot to mention that she gave a brief overview of North Fork history on very short notice near the beginning of the program.
For the past ten years, Rick and Suzie Graetz of the University of Montana have brought a group of geography students to the Polebridge area for their Field Course.
While they are here, they dedicate one evening to giving a public lecture at Sondreson Hall. If for no other reason, it is worth attending just for the photos of spectacular landscapes, often from far-flung regions of the globe.
This year’s presentation will be at Sondreson Hall on January 16 at 6:30pm.
Here’s the text of Suzie’s announcement . . .
Happy New Year to all of our friends in the North Fork!
There is something about the holidays that makes me sit back and count my blessings.
Yesterday, while I was putting away the trappings of Christmas at the same time I was hauling out and checking off the gear we need to pack for our Polebridge Field Course, it dawned on me that this will be our 10th year of bringing students for a week to the amazing landscape you all are lucky to call home.
The course of study is wide-ranging and a great amount of information is crammed into our short stay… we expose the students to twice daily lectures by experts on fire, wildlife, national and state land management, geography, history, and geology (to name a few subjects), they have pre-trip reading assignments, research projects to complete, lecture notes to turn in, daily snowshoe treks into the landscape they are studying, and as always a final test. But, I feel it is meeting you, the members of this valley that has made the biggest impression on them.
Here’s a very interesting study led by Ric Hauer of the University of Montana. Recommended reading . . .
Gravel-bed river floodplains are some of the most ecologically important habitats in North America, according to a new study by scientists from the U.S. and Canada. Their research shows how broad valleys coming out of glaciated mountains provide highly productive and important habitat for a large diversity of aquatic, avian and terrestrial species.
This is the first interdisciplinary research at the regional scale to demonstrate the importance of gravel-bed rivers to the entire ecosystem.
University of Montana Professor Ric Hauer, director of the Center for Integrated Research on the Environment, leads a group of authors who looked at the full continuum of species and processes supported by gravel-bed rivers, from microbes to bull trout and from elk to grizzly bears.
Here’s a heads-up from NFLA President Randy Kenyon . . .
Grab your calendars! Author, professor, traveler, photographer and raconteur Rick Graetz will be returning again this winter to the North Fork with his University of Montana class. The highlight of this year’s visit will be his presentation at Sondreson Hall Monday January 18th at 6:30pm. Rick’s topic will be portraits of Great Landscapes, including the Himalaya, deserts of the American West, Yellowstone, prairie lands of Montana east of the mountains and a few other selected areas. If you haven’t ever had the privilege to partake of this experience, be sure you make this one. His appearances are always highly informative and entertaining. Rick will be bringing a celebration cake and, if you are so inclined, bring along a treat of your own!
[Updated to correct time for presentation at Sondreson Hall.]
This is the seventh year Rick Graetz brings a group of his students to the North Fork and, as usual, he will be giving a presentation at Sondreson Hall. Larry Wilson’s column has the details . . .
This will be the seventh year that Rick Graetz, a University of Montana geography professor, will bring one of his classes to the North Fork.
The class will stay at the Polebridge Hostel and, as usual, Rick will present an educational program for local residents at Sondreson Community Hall. This year, the program will take place on Monday, Jan. 20, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Rick and his wife Suzie are accomplished photographers, and the program always revolves around a slide show of photos they have taken themselves.
This year, the program will feature about 100 photos of Yellowstone National Park as well as the narrative. It will illustrate the splendor of the mountains, rivers, forests, geysers and wildlife of what was once best known as “Colter’s Hell.”
The Daily Inter Lake covered the anual University of Montana “Polebridge Class” with two articles, one of them splashed all over last Sunday’s front page. The lead article talked about the class and how Polebridge “stirred to life” to support it. The second talked about “the mail lady” (and her wolf, of course).
This week, Larry wraps up the year-end news and discusses the impending arrival of a group from the University of Montana Geography Department . . .
Another holiday season is over. On the North Fork, we had a great Christmas party, a collection of New Year’s Eve gatherings and 30 people gathered on the bank of the river for the annual beach party.
There was just enough snow to ride through the woods on snowmobiles and gather around two brightly burning campfires to enjoy hot dogs, baked beans, chili and an assortment of liquid stimulants, as well as each other’s company.
The University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station is holding an open house on Tuesday, August 2, from 1 to 5 p.m. The open house includes several hands-on activities, demonstration boat trips on the Jessie B and a number of new research displays, including one on “North Fork Conservation.” See their flyer or check out their web site for more details.