Leanne Marten, Regional Forester for the US Forest Service’s Northern Region, has honored the “Bear Creek Days Field Camp” as a recipient of the 2019 Regional Forester Honor Awards in the Fostering Volunteerism and Service category.
The annual awards program recognizes significant contributions to the agency’s mission to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
Left to Right: Deputy Regional Forester Jane Darnell, Deputy Regional Forester Keith Lannom, Madison Ranger District Employees Darcy Wheeler and Tony Streams, Regional Forester Leanne Marten and Deputy Regional Forester Melany Glossa.
“I am extremely proud of the work accomplished by our employees, partners and volunteers who work tirelessly to host this annual educational event, said Madison District Ranger Dale Olson. “Over the 12 consecutive years of the Bear Creek Field Camp, thousands of students have been given the opportunity to learn and try new things associated with the natural world around them.”
Bear Creek Days is a Field Camp and is an outdoor education program for 3rd – 8th grade students held south of Ennis at the Bear Creek historic ranger station and primary portal into the Lee Metcalf Wilderness.
Students from seven area schools including West Yellowstone, Ennis, Harrison, Cardwell, Alder, Twin Bridges, and Sheridan attend this camp each May before school lets out for summer.
During Bear Creek Days approximately 600 students attend three days of outdoor education. Each session is held outdoors, rain or shine, in the beautiful foothills of the Madison Mountain Range. Sessions are hands on, so that children who may not otherwise have the opportunity can touch and feel the world around them. Sessions such as gold panning allow children to pan for gold and other stones; traditional tools allow them to use a crosscut saw and log rollers; Icky-ology allows kids to dissect fish. Focus areas include outdoor education, ethics, and natural science. The intent is to pass on a legacy of respect, interest, and appreciation for the outdoors and natural world to a generation often occupied with indoor pursuits and technological gadgets.
This program is sustained through the greatness of volunteers, donors, and the U.S. Forest Service. Event partners include: U.S. Forest Service, Yellowstone National Park, Bozeman Raptor Center, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Madison River Foundation, People and Carnivores, Montana Outdoor Science School, Wilderness Conservation Society, Jack Creek Preserve, Southwest Montana Bear Education Working Group, Madison Valley Ranchlands Group Weed Committee and the Madison Conservation District.