Each fall and spring, buses deliver over 8,000 school children to Glacier National Park who are eager to develop new skills and experience the wonder of the natural world. Families arrive for multi-generational guided park adventures. Teachers arrive to attend workshops designed to provide hands-on standards-based curriculum training for classroom and park learning. In the summer, Glacier Youth Corps sets out to repair trails, paint buildings, give public programs, and learn about careers in public lands. The Conservancy facilitates strategic education initiatives designed to engage current and future park stewards of all ages by funding programming, transportation, and endowments that ensure our children and grandchildren all have the opportunity to become a part of Glacier’s scientific, historic and conservation story.
Projects that need your support
Students looking through binoculars
Citizen Science at Bowman Lake / Jacob W. Frank
Expand Citizen Science Opportunities
Glacier National Park’s sheer size makes it impossible for the park’s few full-time biologists and scientists to assess the park in its entirety and collect the full scope of data they need. That’s where Glacier’s Citizen Science Program comes in. This vibrant program allows volunteers to explore, research and learn about Glacier’s resources and wildlife, while simultaneously collecting valuable data for park managers. Already a successful program in the park, citizen science is a true public-private partnership with numerous stakeholders and participants in the government, nonprofit, tribal and educational communities. This grant will help provide core funding for staff, expand equipment capabilities and provide overall support for a program that engages park visitors and students in work that delivers actionable results for park researchers and leaders. The program addresses a growing list of research and monitoring needs concerning mountain goats, bighorn sheep, pikas, Canada lynx, loons, golden eagles, black swifts, terrestrial and aquatic insects, fungi and invasive species.
Taking the Junior Ranger Oath / Jacob W. Frank
Glacier Summer Youth Engagement Initiative
The National Park Service has identified the need to connect children with parks as one of the top five critical issues facing our national parks. This innovative program takes a multifaceted approach to engaging youth, providing experiential opportunities and forging connections to Glacier during the summer. From supplying junior ranger booklets to over 20,000 children to supporting improved experiences at the Apgar Nature Center, this grant provides multiple touchpoints for families and kids on their summer break. This program also funds youth engagement positions that conduct formal children’s programs and activities, maintain a campground children’s lending library and provide professional development opportunities for local teachers.
Winter field trip to Glacier / Sheperd Waldenberger
Funding Transportation for School Field Trips
Fourty-four percent of the student field trips to Glacier during the 2018-2019 school year would not have happened without travel support from the Glacier Conservancy. Selected as the target project for this year’s Great Fish Community Challenge, this critical project in many ways defines what it means to ensure the future of Glacier by exposing tomorrow’s stewards to the park today.
Ranger showing bugs to children / NPS
Youth Internship and Professional Development Program
Every year, the Conservancy partners with the park to provide interpretive internships to young leaders committed to helping shape visitor experiences in this majestic landscape. A vigorous internship training and mentoring program, combined with developmental opportunities and diverse visitor service offerings, makes this a win-win program for all involved.
Native plant restoration in Glacier / Jacob W. Frank
Columbia Falls High School Greenhouse Propagation Specialist
Under the stars in the mountains / © Travis Burke Photography
Half the Park Happens After Dark
This year will mark the grand opening of the Conservancy funded observation dome at the St. Mary Visitor Center. The ongoing partnership between the Conservancy, Glacier National Park, the Big Sky Astronomy Club and other partners celebrates the wonders of astronomy in Waterton-Glacier, the world’s first designated International Dark Sky Park. Your support helps the park maintain a long-term commitment to preserving dark skies by funding the installation of dark sky compliant lighting throughout the park and the expansion of various astronomy education programs.
Outdoor artificial lights in cities around the world illuminate our night skies, making it impossible to see most stars in surrounding metropolitan areas. Light pollution also disrupts the natural cycles of plants and causes habitat disruption for many nocturnal species. Through this program, thousands of park visitors, many of whom come from places where light pollution prevents viewing of the night sky, will experience both the science of the cosmos and the majesty of nature’s dark skies.
Native America Speaks and Tribal Community Engagement
The Native America Speaks program, now in its 35th year, is the cornerstone of the park’s tribal community engagement project. With continued Conservancy support, the park will employ a full-time ranger to enhance relationships with local tribal communities. It will also support a VISTA volunteer to help create training programs enabling young Blackfeet to find employment in Glacier, and will fund over 100 Native America Speaks presentations throughout the park and on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
Corps member working in Glacier / MCC
Glacier Conservation Corps
This life-changing program continues to be a signature project in helping meet the Conservancy’s mission of preserving Glacier for future generations. This on-going partnership with the Montana Conservation Corps will put Glacier Youth Corps, Piikani Lands Crew, and Veterans Green Corps teams to work on critical preservation and restoration projects across Glacier.
Park Ranger giving a Ranger Talk at Logan Pass. / David Restivo
Ranger Pocket Reference
This publication wins the prize for being “pound for pound” the most informational publication in the park. Sized to fit in a pocket, this handy guide is jammed with important facts for rangers, staff, and volunteers to have handy to answer the wide range of questions asked by visitors to the park.
Surveying Vegetation on Pitamakan Peak / NPS
Helping inspire and train the next generation of Glacier stewards is critical to the work of protecting and preserving the park for future generations. This grant seeks to continue the successful Conservation Intern program which provides a local high school or college student with a full-time opportunity to work under the guidance of rangers in the Division of Science and Resource Management.
A park ranger using distance learning technology / NPS
Ranger-Led Field Trips, Distance Learning Classroom Visits
To see the wonder on a student’s face the first time they see the majesty and experience the magic of Glacier is to fully understand the power of this critical program. Under the direction of Education Specialist, Laura Law, and in partnership with the Glacier Institute, this impactful program provides access to curriculum-based tools and hands-on learning to over 10,000 students and teachers. In so doing, Glacier has distinguished itself as a national leader in educational programming in national parks.
Teacher Workshop / Jacob W. Frank
Professional Development for Teachers
This powerful program will provide year-long training to 12 local educators through a series of “Flathead Watershed Through the Seasons” workshops. Participating educators will have the opportunity to work with the very best resource professionals in the region to develop their own individualized curriculum, increasing student literacy skills, and enhancing student understanding and appreciation for natural and cultural resources throughout the Glacier community.
Professional development in Glacier / NPS
Scholarships for NPS Staff
Our park partners at the Glacier Institute provide robust and meaningful selection of outdoor education classes to the public every year. This grant provides tuition support for Glacier staff to participate in programming related to their positions as park stewards.
Fisheries Intern / NPS
Fisheries Program Internship
This new initiative presents a win-win scenario for both meeting the need of the Fisheries Management team for seasonal staff and training the next generation of park stewards by initiating an internship program with the Natural Resource Management Program at Flathead Valley Community College.
High school student measures tree / NPS
Investigating Vegetation in Fire-Disturbed Areas with High School Citizen Scientists
This project will leverage the capacity developed by area high school science programs in the areas of fire ecology, field vegetation sampling, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to inventory current vegetation in areas that have been burned by wildfire. Sampling will be coordinated with the US Forest Service Region 1 Vector Map (VMAP) project. As a result of this collaboration, VMAP will include all of Glacier, and in so doing apply field data collected by students to strengthen the interpretation and classification of satellite image data. Updating the park vegetation map to reflect plant succession resulting from fire disturbance of varying severity is an important need for Glacier, as current data informs our ability to model wildlife habitat and predict fire behavior.
Researchers in river / NPS
Engage Advocates for the Wild and Scenic Flathead River
2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. This pilot project invests in the future of Glacier’s vital waterways. A citizen science approach will be used to augment river use monitoring for the Wild and Scenic North Fork of the Flathead River. This data will inform and guide future management decisions. The project will leverage existing expertise within Glacier National Park, the Flathead National Forest and the field science program at Whitefish High School. The goal is to deliver a mobile data collection app to streamline data management, enable near real-time data displays and to encourage participation by new audiences.
Enjoying the sunset / NPS
If orange is, in fact, the new black, then podcasts are the new evening news. A recent study by CBS News itself found that “two-thirds of Americans listen to podcasts at least once in a while, including 23% who do so a few times a week.” Advertisers are expected to double the amount they spend on podcasts by 2020.
This innovative (perhaps even revolutionary according to the project’s coordinator) project will launch a series of podcasts recorded by rangers in the field providing first-hand exposure to what’s going on in every major region of the park. The result will be a “binge-worthy” series of 20-40-minute-long episodes that dive deep into the park’s most fascinating stories, making Glacier the first national park in the nation to successfully integrate podcasts into its outreach plan.
A riveting audio show, unlike anything else in the genre, will engage visitors as they prepare to visit, as they drive through the park, and on their way home. There is something so personal and intimate about podcasts (imagine the story of Glacier directly in your ears!) that will resonate the park’s messages of international peace, climate change, conservation, and outdoor recreation like never before.
iPhone sunset / NPS
Social Media Summit
Glacier National Park’s first social media summit seeks to expand the conversation with social media users about the real-world impacts of online behavior. Around 3.5 billion people in the world today access social media daily. Leading platforms like Instagram and Facebook are where people get information and create expectations about Glacier National Park. Glacier’s first social media summit will bring together many of social media’s top influencers who post about the park, with the goal of improving content quality and informing them about the best practices of following and sharing when using social media to promote Glacier.
Students snowshoeing in Glacier / NPS
Wildlife Blinds at Oxbow
Improving access to wildlife viewing while decreasing impact on wildlife, might seem contradictory goals. Not so for the innovative team of leaders at Glacier, led by program managers Lisa Bate and Laura Law. This pilot program will work with park designers and trail crews to create natural wildlife blinds along the popular Oxbow trail in Apgar. These blinds will help school groups and visitors see the abundant collection of turtles, swans, ducks, otters, muskrats, and beavers that frequent this wildlife haven along Lower McDonald Creek.
Kids taking photo of flower
Glacier in Focus
This exciting project incubates and exciting new broad-based partnership between Glacier, and the Glacier Institute, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Missoula County, Lake County and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation. This groundbreaking partnership will connect historically underserved Montana youth with a robust, curriculum based, environmental education program using photography as a way to connect disadvantaged youth with their public lands.
Scientist measuring glacier / NPS
The Glacier Conservancy – Jerry O’Neal Research Fellowship supports research by students from schools affiliated with National Park Service’s Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESUs). Projects will address either natural or cultural resource issues or social science that informs resource management about park resources. Fellowships are awarded in the range of $1,000-$5,000 per project, with two or more projects supported each year.
Volunteer leads students on hike / NPS
Volunteer Ambassador Program
This grant will fund an AmeriCorps Community Volunteer Ambassador who will provide much needed operational support, including conducting curriculum-based education programming to local schools, working with volunteers and providing visitor services.
Students observing aquatic life / NPS
Middle School Girls STEAM Mini-Camp
This funding will provide life-long skills in leadership, critical thinking, and problem solving for middle school girls interested in science and related fields. In 2020, The Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center (CCRLC), USGS’s Climate Change in Mountain Ecosystems Program, and the park’s GIS resource staff will work cooperatively with the Glacier Institute to provide a four-day, overnight mini-camp focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) for future women leaders. Participants will gain new perspectives and understanding of landscape changes occurring in Glacier and the surrounding area, increase their science literacy of climate change, enhance their appreciation of the park’s natural and cultural resources, and gain confidence and leadership skills in the growing fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
Sally Jewell with young rangers / NPS
Next Generation of Park Leaders
The goal of this project is to assist in the creation of a Leadership Development Program within Glacier and the GNP Conservancy. As the Park Service continues to adapt to an ever-changing world, we need leaders who are able to foster teamwork, creativity, adaptability, and resourcefulness to keep the Park Service relevant and thriving. The goals of the Leadership Development Program are to: 1) achieve cultural change within Glacier by creating cross-divisional relationships and teamwork 2) harness the incredible resource that Glacier has in its employees 3) build future leaders of the Park Service 4) provide opportunities to create relationships with the greater National Park Service at the Regional and Washington levels.