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Photo: T. Wenum, USFS

Now in its second year, the Flathead Watershed Through The Seasons workshop continues to provide professional development opportunities for local teachers in the Flathead community. The workshop is made possible by your generous donations to the Glacier Conservancy and through a special collaboration with organizations and agencies around the Flathead Valley.

This year’s workshop was a bit delayed due to the pandemic but kicked off in September 2020, with all participants adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols.

Planned and organized by a steering committee made of Flathead Community of Resource Educators (CORE), the workshop represents individuals from Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest, the Glacier Institute, University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Lone Pine State Park, Northwest Montana Educational Cooperative, A Forest for Every Classroom, and the Whitefish Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship.

Teachers Learn About Snow Science In Glacier

Each year, the Flathead CORE steering committee selects a small group of local K-12 educators to participate in the yearlong workshop that provides hands-on sessions every season in a different location throughout the region. The workshop locations include Glacier Institute’s Big Creek Outdoor Education Center, Flathead Biological Station, Glacier National Park, and Lone Pine State Park. Each session focuses on a different topic that highlights Northwest Montana’s natural resources, encouraging teachers to learn about and connect to the Flathead watershed in new ways. Teachers also acquire new tools that they can incorporate into their own classrooms and share with their students.

To kick off the winter session, Jason Griswold met with the group to give an introduction to snow surveys in Glacier National Park. Jason is the park’s District Ranger for Walton-Two Medicine. Teachers then joined Jason in the field to learn how to properly use a federal snow sampler to measure water content in snow. The park uses these samples to make predictions about the snowpack and how it will affect the watershed throughout the year.

The teachers also learned how to dig snow pits and measure snow water equivalent using a simple and low-cost method they can easily implement in their classrooms. Your donations to the Glacier Conservancy provides funding for snow kits that each teacher can take home after the workshop. The materials allow the teachers to share with their students some of the activities they experienced at the workshop.

A group of teachers perform an activity outside during the winter session of the workshop Flathead Watershed Through The Seasons

Teachers attend the winter session of the yearlong workshop for local educators, Flathead Watershed Through The Seasons. Teachers participate in a variety of hands-on activities that they can then share with their own classrooms.

Photo: T. Wenum, USFS

A teacher takes a snow sample outside during the winter session of the workshop Flathead Watershed Through The Seasons

A teacher takes a snow sample outside during the winter session of the workshop Flathead Watershed Through The Seasons.

Photo: T. Wenum, USFS

A group of teachers take a snow sample outside during the winter session of the workshop Flathead Watershed Through The Seasons

Teachers join Glacier National Park staff to take snow samples outside during the winter session of the workshop Flathead Watershed Through The Seasons.

Photo: T. Wenum, USFS

Providing an Enriching Experience for Flathead Teachers

We reviewed the feedback from some of the teachers who participated in the winter workshop, and here is what they had to share.

What did you like the most?

”Meeting experts – learning how they work together.”
“Loved the hands-on…snow surveys, snowpits, beacon park (activities)”
“Experiential, hands-on, love it!
“Overall learning about the Flathead Watershed and meeting other teachers and speakers.”
“The experience and knowing the area we live – the resources, ideas and connections to be a better teacher.”

Overall Experience

“Thanks to everyone involved, we are fortunate as teachers to connect with you all and inspire our students to learn about our local environment/watershed.”

“Thank you for the snow kits and for making this happen in our strange times.”

How To Get Involved

Do you know a local K-12 educator in the community, or are you a teacher yourself and would like to get involved? Visit the Glacier Institute’s website for upcoming announcements regarding the 2021-2022 Flathead Through The Seasons Workshop.

Your Support Makes A Difference

This project and many other critical projects would not be possible without your donations to the Glacier Conservancy. Learn more about how your support is making other education projects possible in Glacier National Park.