Free opportunity for students
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: May 5, 2017

The Glacier Institute is proud to announce its fourth annual Invasive Species Student Symposium, offering high school juniors, seniors, and incoming freshmen a weeklong field experience working with the US Forest Service, National Park Service, and other park partners. The Invasive Species Student Symposium is made possible through use engagement funding from the Northern Region of the US Forest Service. With this generous grant we are able to invite students to Montana’s beautiful North Fork Valley of the Flathead River, at no-cost to the student, to study invasive species – a pressing economic and ecological topic in Western states.  Students can expect to acquire skills in field assessment and research methodologies, collaborate with area cohorts and agency experts, and obtain the latest information in the science of invasion ecology.

The Glacier Institute, embarking on its fourth decade of outdoor education in and around Glacier National Park, is delighted to offer this residential camp experience at the Big Creek Outdoor Education Center.  Students will have excellent access to Glacier National Park and the Flathead National Forest exploring the relationships of invasive and non-native plant and fish species with our native ecosystems. The symposium will challenge youth to creatively address real-world invasive species issues through practical workshops with scientists, practitioners, landowners, and agencies. The week will culminate with an exposition and barbecue day  at Big Creek where we invite teachers, parents, partner organizations and the public to connect with the program and evaluate student work conducted throughout the week.

This program intends to promote the understanding of invasive species research by providing students access to scientific resources and job skills while connecting them with potential employers in the community. The expo will let students, scientists, and the general public collaborate on a topic that impacts our lands and our livelihoods.

Symposium Outline:

  • Day 1:  Sunday-Meet, teambuilding activities, orientation, goals for the week
  • Day 2:  Monday-Invasive species training hike/lessons, Glacier National Park aquatic invasives
  • Day 3:  Tuesday-Invasive plant hike/lessons, plant ID certification, invasive plant field work
  • Day 4:  Wednesday-Aquatic field research day, aquatic field work site visits
  • Day 5:  Thursday-Guest speakers, project and presentation work
  • Day 6:  Friday-Community exposition day; barbecue and project presentations!

High school students entering their junior or senior year as well as college freshman may apply for this opportunity. Students will be required to submit their application by the deadline.

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Students that will enter into their junior year or senior year in Fall 2017, or students recently just graduated from high school may apply to the program
  • Students should have a strong interest in biology, ecology, chemistry, wildlife, or land management, or be able to show why another interest qualifies them for the program


  • Applications DUE BY May 5 at 5:00 pm
  • The week’s activities, meals, and lodging will all be paid for by donations awarded to the Glacier institute
  • Transportation costs are not included
  • Students must complete all waivers and health forms (located on the website under the course information tab) prior to arrival at the camp
  • Students must be able to attend the entire program-we cannot grant partial stays
  • Students are encouraged to invite their teachers, advisors, and family to the expo day at the end of the week



Participants have three options to get to Big Creek Outdoor Education Center

  • Option 1: Students provide their own transportation to Big Creek
  • Option 2: The Glacier Institute will offer a pickup at the Glacier Park International Airport on June 24 at 5:00 pm and drop-off at the airport on July 1, 2017 (Time to be determined). There is an additional cost to this service, call 406-755-1211 for more information.
  • Option 3: Participants whose schedules do not align with our airport pickup/dropoff schedule are encouraged to use Glacier Charters to travel from the airport to Big Creek, or call at 406-892-3390