Youth Education

Fisheries Station at Youth Field Day on Rolling Stone Ranch in 2016.



Every fall, Youth Field Day brings over 150 middle school students into the field for a full-day event on varying topics. Previous years’ themes include: The Blackfoot River – Fisheries, Riparian Areas & Livelihoods; Ranching in the Blackfoot at Rolling Stone Ranch; Place-based art at Lincoln’s Blackfoot Pathways Sculpture Park; Fire Ecology at Monture Guard Station; and Forestry and Wildlife Study Methods at Lubrecht Experimental Forest. Youth Field Day is one of the Challenge’s longest-running events.



Students collect data at local sites in the Youth Forest and Stream Monitoring Program. Through the Southwestern Crown Collaborative, and in partnership with Clearwater Resource Council, the US Forest Service, the University of Montana, and private landowners, students from four schools have measured stream flows, water temperatures and turbidity and recorded forest stand characteristics. This information is used to help make decisions about forest management and water use.

Students measure stream flow on Union Creek in Potomac.


Eric Graham, Blackfoot Challenge Wildlife Coordinator, leading a Naturalist Speaker Series presentation on bear biology and identification at Ovando School.



One of our newer youth education programs, the Naturalist Speakers Series brings experts into classrooms on a monthly basis to share their real-life knowledge about the natural world with students. Some recent topics and presenters include: beavers with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, bears with the Blackfoot Challenge, native pollinators with the National Wildlife Federation, and mountain lions with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.



Junior High teachers and students attend the Trumpeter Swan Release each year to help release swans and participate in learning stations afterwards. Topics include trumpeter swan biology, aquatic invasive species, wetland ecology, and nature journaling.

Lincoln students attend the annual Trumpeter Swan Release. Photo by Anthony Pavkovich.
Seeley Lake students at the UM Bird Ecology Lab’s banding station in Seleey Lake.


Collaborating with the Bird Ecology Lab at the University of Montana, we provide close encounters with songbirds at a banding station in Seeley Lake. Through this partnership, participants learn about songbird and riparian habitat conservation while observing birds up-close. Learn more about this program here.

Public Education


Pure Montana Tales brings presentations on topics as diverse as birdwatching, bear safety, and avalanche awareness to watershed communities. We partner with Clearwater Resource Council to deliver these presentations approximately every two months.

A community member scouts for birds as part of a Pure Montana Tales event in 2020.
Releasing trumpeter swans into the wild. Photo by Larry Beckner.


Adults and students alike attend the annual public Trumpeter Swan Release to see swans banded and released each fall. Since the annual event began, it attracts roughly 200 individuals from across the region. Learn more about trumpeter swan restoration in the Blackfoot watershed here.


The Blackfoot Landowner Stewardship Guide is full of great stewardship ideas and resources for private landowners. This handbook is your go-to resource for questions related to natural resource issues and land stewardship in the Blackfoot watershed. It addresses the most common questions that come up related to managing wildlife, water, forests, grasslands, native and invasive plants, and more on your property, and includes an in-depth list of contacts, resources, and references to learn more or find assistance from Challenge staff and our partners.

Red Shafted Flicker.

Stay tuned to our Events Calendar for upcoming community education events.