Photo: Maddy Elrick and Brayden Hall
Your generous donations to the Glacier Conservancy continue to assist the park’s native plant restoration efforts in many ways. From engaging future stewards in our local schools, to monitoring rare plants throughout the park, Glacier National Park is implementing projects that maintain a commitment to preserving the pristine ecosystem of this majestic place.
Keep reading to learn more about these important projects your support makes possible.
Cooperative Greenhouse in Columbia Falls High School
The Columbia Falls High School Cooperative Greenhouse offers students the chance to grow plants native to Glacier National Park and participate in restoration projects in the park. An important outreach effort for the park, the greenhouse introduces students to the importance of conservation and allows them to play a role in maintaining delicate park ecosystems.
Your donations fund the greenhouse’s professional botanist and propagation specialist, who mentors the greenhouse student interns provided by the Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates. Under the supervision of the propagation specialist, students are responsible for stratification, rinsing seeds, sowing seeds, filling containers, watering, thinning, monitoring plants for pests and disease, and managing greenhouse sanitation.
During its operation, the greenhouse has raised over 30,000 plants. Students are responsible for up to 6,000 plants at any one time.
Students assist with seeding plants at Columbia Falls High School, where thousands of plants are nurtured in the school’s greenhouse each year.
Conservation Program in Whitefish Public Schools
Your generous donations through last year’s Great Fish Challenge are supporting a new collaboration between the Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship at Whitefish Schools and Glacier’s Native Plant Nursery, creating internship opportunities focused on conservation and education for local youth in our community.
During the summer, a student will work alongside the park’s nursery staff as well as experience other resource management projects in the park. This will provide an opportunity to immerse a student into real-world programs at Glacier National Park. This project will provide the park an opportunity to create connections with Glacier’s neighboring communities.
In total, Glacier’s Native Plant Nursery cultivates approximately 250 species of native plants, including conifers, deciduous trees, shrubs, grasses, sedges and ferns from a variety of habitats found within Glacier National Park.
Rare Plant Monitoring
One of Glacier National Park’s chief responsibilities is preserving the rare plants and ecosystems within the park. Your donations are helping park staff monitor 16 rare plant species all found within Glacier National Park.
Monitoring plots are established and surveyed, giving park management an estimate of the population of different plant species. This survey was last conducted 15 years ago, and this study will inform future conservation efforts by revealing any trends in the populations of rare plants within the park.
Round-leaved orchid is one of the rare plant species being monitored in Glacier.
Photo: ceasol on Flickr
Native Plant Recovery In Two Dog Flats
The meadows at Two Dog Flats are one of Glacier’s natural treasures. Immortalized in the photo albums of many Glacier visitors, the meadows also serve as a valuable source of food for wildlife. Unfortunately, the meadows’ proximity to the heavily trafficked Going-to-the-Sun Road threatens their delicate ecology as cars bring in non-native plants and invasive weeds.
Glacier National Park has been using pesticides to prevent the spread of invasive plant species for almost thirty years, but the effects of herbicides in the park are poorly understood.
Your donations are supporting a research effort to determine the effects of herbicides on the meadows of Two Dog Flats. Researchers will study the effects of herbicides on soil samples, and work to determine how native plants can best withstand the invasive species.
Two Dog Flats in Glacier National Park.
Photo: Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development
Grassland Health Monitoring
Glacier National Park’s grasslands are one of the park’s most important environments. This multi-year study on the vegetation and bird populations in Glacier’s grasslands complement an initial study completed 20 years prior on the same plots of land, allowing for a much deeper understanding as to how Glacier has changed over time.
The study is especially important as the Blackfoot Confederacy begins to reintroduce bison to tribal lands as part of the Iinnii Initiative. Some of these bison may graze in grasslands in Glacier, and this study will give the park a baseline understanding of those areas before bison reintroduction. The study will also be helpful in managing grasslands in relation to climate change, weed invasion, and fire ecology.
Grassland in the Rising Sun area of Glacier National Park.
Virtual Tour of Glacier’s Native Plant Nursery
Join us virtually on June 15 at 6:00pm MDT as we visit Glacier’s Native Plant Nursery, where hundreds of native plants are cultivated from a variety of habitats found within the park and used in various restoration efforts.
Glacier Conservancy Executive Director, Doug Mitchell, will curate a discussion with Glacier National Park’s Vegetation Program Manager, Dawn LaFleur. Register for free here!
Your Support Makes A Difference
These projects 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 preservation projects possible in Glacier National Park!