Tag Archives: University of Montana

Study shows mule deer do some serious traveling

Mule deer with tracking collar, Whitefish Range, Montana
Mule deer with tracking collar, Whitefish Range, Montana

The ongoing mule deer study is turning up some interesting data . . .

Preliminary data from a 2-1/2-year long mule deer study is showing some interesting facets in the animals’ behavior and movement across the landscape in Northwest Montana.

Researchers from the University of Montana in cooperation with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, radio collared 44 mule deer on the Rocky Mountain Front near Augusta, 26 in the Fisher River drainage and 31 in the Whitefish range.

Currently, of those deer, 26 are still “on air” along the front, 21 near the Fisher and 19 in the Whitefish Range.

Read more . . .

UM to Host 5th Annual International Columbia River Treaty Conference

This conference on April 11 at the University of Montana looks pretty interesting. Note that its remit includes the Flathead River. Kudos to Suzanne Daniell for spotting this item.

From the official press release . . .

MISSOULA – As Canada and the United States start negotiations over the Columbia River Treaty, the University of Montana will host a conference to discuss the future of rivers flowing through western Montana.

“One River, Ethics Matter” will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, in the University Center Ballroom. The event is hosted by UM’s Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy and the Department of Geography and is free and open to the public. Lunch is provided, and an evening reception will follow. Participants are required to RSVP at http://bit.ly/2EWa6yi.

Tribal, First Nations and religious leaders, along with scholars and authors, from the Upper Columbia River will lead the one-day conference on ethics and the Columbia River. The conference series is a multiyear undertaking based on the Columbia River Pastoral Letter issued in 2001 by the 12 Northwest Roman Catholic Bishops of the international watershed, combined with tools used by hospital ethics consultation services.

The conference brings together religious leaders, indigenous people, educators and writers, including:

  • Ron Abraham, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, tribal councilman and elder
  • Gary Aitken, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, tribal chairman
  • Barbara Cosens, University Consortium on Columbia River Governance, University of Idaho College of Law, professor
  • Jessica Crist, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Montana Synod, bishop
  • David James Duncan, writer
  • Tony Incashola, Salish-Pend d’Oreille Culture Committee, director
  • Brian Lipscomb, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, CEO of Energy Keepers Inc.
  • D.R. Michel, Upper Columbia United Tribes, executive director
  • Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, author of “A River Captured: The Columbia River Treaty and Catastrophic Change”
  • David Shively, UM Department of Geography, chair
  • William Skylstad, Roman Catholic, bishop emeritus
  • Pat Smith, Northwest Power and Conservation Council, former Montana delegate
  • Dan Spencer, UM Environmental Studies program, professor
  • Pauline Terbasket, Okanagan Nation Alliance, executive director

“One River, Ethics Matter” will examine the moral dimensions of the dam-building era, focusing on U.S. Indian tribes and Canadian First Nations people, rivers and the life that depends on them, and the compelling need to add ecosystem-based function to the Columbia River Treaty.

Topics will include the Libby dam and its international impacts to the Kootenai River and Kootenay Lake; the Hungry Horse dam and efforts to protect resident fisheries; and the Séliš Ksanka Qlispé Project on the Flathead River, a federal license now held by the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the first tribal nation to own and operate a major hydropower facility.

The conference series is modeled on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission public dialogue in the wake of apartheid. The Missoula ethics conference follows four prior conferences in Spokane, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; and Revelstoke, British Columbia. The previous conferences focused on restoring salmon above the Grand Coulee dam, floodplain development in the Portland area, the impacts of Idaho Power Company’s Hells Canyon complex of dams and the effects of treaty dams in British Columbia.

Conference sponsors for 2018 include the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Upper Columbia United Tribes, Universities Consortium on Columbia River Governance, the Canadian Water Research Society, the Sierra Club’s Montana, Idaho and Washington chapters, the Montana Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, WaterWatch of Oregon, the Columbia Institute for Water Policy, the Center for Environmental Law & Policy, Rachael and John Osborn, UM’s Environmental Studies program, UM’s Native American Studies Department, the Flathead Lake Biological Station and UM’s Department of Geography.

To read more about the Ethics & Treaty Project from the Center for Environmental Law & Policy, visit http://www.celp.org/ethics-treaty-project/. For more information about “One River, Ethics Matter,” visit http://www.celp.org/ethics-montana/ or email Sophia Cinnamon, UM environmental studies graduate student and chair of the conference planning committee, at sophia.cinnamon@umontana.edu.

Other contacts are David Shively, UM Department of Geography chair, at david.shively@mso.umt.edu; Rich Janssen, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Department of Natural Resources director, at richard.janssen@cskt.org; Rev. W. Thomas Soeldner, Ethics & Treaty Project coordinator, at waltsoe@gmail.com;  and John Osborn, Ethics & Treaty Project coordinator, at john@waterplanet.ws.


Continue reading UM to Host 5th Annual International Columbia River Treaty Conference

U of M students head to Polebridge to learn about landscape, community

Polebridge Field Course presentation atendees, Jan 16, 2017
Polebridge Field Course presentation attendees, Jan 16, 2017 – W. K.Walker

The Missoulian posted a story, with photo spread, on this year’s Polebridge Field Course. There are a few familiar names and faces . . .

A snowshoe hare? A fox? A wolf, maybe?

In snowshoes, the students tromped to the edge of a bench, and the sun shone as they looked across the North Fork to Rainbow Peak shouldering the season’s snowfall, then below to the meadow.

Sarah Halvorson, a geography professor at the University of Montana, and Mitch Burgard, an expert on fire for the U.S. Forest Service, led the excursion.

Read more . . .

Polebridge Field Course presentation a big success

Polebridge Field Course presentation atendees, Jan 16, 2017
Polebridge Field Course presentation attendees, Jan 16, 2017

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.

Rick Graetz at the Polebridge Field Course presentation, Jan 16, 2017
Rick Graetz at the Polebridge Field Course presentation, Jan 16, 2017

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.

More photos of the presenters . . .

Suzie Graetz at the Polebridge Field Course presentation, Jan 16, 2017
Suzie Graetz at the Polebridge Field Course presentation, Jan 16, 2017
Polebridge Field Course presentation attendees, Jan 16, 2017 - Dr. Hal Stearns at left
Polebridge Field Course presentation attendees, Jan 16, 2017 – Dr. Hal Stearns at left

Polebridge Field Course gathering and lecture January 16

Graetz Presentation at Sondreson Hall - Jan 18, 2016
Graetz Presentation at Sondreson Hall – Jan 18, 2016

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.

Continue reading Polebridge Field Course gathering and lecture January 16

Gravel-bed rivers a primary ecological feature in western North American mountains region

Scientific illustration shows the complexity of organisms that benefit from gravel-bed river floodplain ecosystems - credit: Ric Hauer
Scientific illustration shows the complexity of organisms that benefit from gravel-bed river floodplain ecosystems – credit: Ric Hauer

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.

Read more . . .

Portraits of Great Landscapes presentation by Rick Graetz, Jan. 18

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!

Larry Wilson: Yellowstone Park slide show lined up for Jan 20

[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.”

Read More . . .

“Polebridge Class” draws press coverage

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).

Here are the links . . .

Polebridge stirs to life to host college course

‘Mail lady’ and her wolf are popular in North Fork

Larry Wilson: North Forkers to be studied

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.

Continue reading . . .