In late January, eight teachers from around the Flathead Valley participated in an ongoing workshop in Glacier National Park. The new workshop, called Flathead Watershed Through The Seasons, is made possible by your generous donations and through a special collaboration with organizations and agencies around the Flathead Valley.

Through a series of experiences in the field, the workshop continues to help these teachers learn about and connect to the Flathead watershed, giving them knowledge and tools they can then incorprate into their own classrooms to share with their students.

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.

Flathead Teachers Learn Snow Science In Glacier

“What is your favorite thing about winter?” Jason Griswold asked the group of teachers on a crisp January morning at Izaak Walton Inn.

Jason is Glacier National Park’s District Ranger for Walton-Two Medicine. He kicked off the weekend with a brief introduction to snow sampling in Glacier National Park.

It was the first question of the day, and served to provide some context as to why this watershed is so important to so many people. Glacier and its surrounding watershed not only provide important resources to the Flathead Valley, but this critical water source also offers a variety of recreational opportunities in the winter. Most of the teachers in the group, it turned out, love to do things outside.

For their winter session and third so far in the school year, the teachers stayed at Izaak Walton Inn and participated in a variety of educational sessions and in-field training to learn about snow science in Glacier.

After a brief introduction to snow sampling in Glacier, the group of teachers joined Jason and the rest of the park’s educational staff for an in-field session at Marias Pass.

Jason first taught the teachers how he and park staff take snow samples throughout the winter. After the teachers learned how to use the equipment and calculate snow water equivalent, the park’s education team taught the teachers how to dig snow pits and use similar techniques that can be easily translated to classrooms of all ages. Not only are the sampling techniques educational and great for classrooms, but the activities can be fun for students of all ages and provide a connection to their incredible backyard of Glacier National Park.

The teachers learned how to properly use a federal snow sampler to measure water content in snow. The park uses these samples to make all kinds of 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.

Glacier As A Classroom

Providing opportunities for teachers, both locally and nationally, has not only raised the Glacier Conservancy’s visibility in the community, but also strengthened the idea of public lands as America’s best classrooms.

“We’ve had teacher workshops before, but they’ve reached a new level through partner collaboration. In the past, the workshops have always been one-time events, but the fact that we have all of these partners and funding from the Glacier Conservancy has allowed us to offer more workshops throughout the year. I couldn’t even think about doing this program without their support.”

– Laura Law, Education Program Manager, Glacier National Park

This group of eight teachers will continue their training during the final session of the workshop in Lone Pine State Park this spring.

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!