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Family Forestry Expo showcases natural resources

| May 10, 2024 12:00 AM

The 35th annual Family Forestry Expo offers hands-on exposure to the role forests play in daily life. 

The weeklong event includes visits by area fifth-grade students and wraps up on Saturday, May 11 when families are invited to the expo from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This year’s theme is “Forests-Landscapes of Many Uses.”

The expo takes place at the Trumbull Creek Educational Forest, located about 2 miles north of the junction of U.S. 2 and Montana 40, just west of Columbia Falls.

The Saturday family-oriented event features a short forest walk, offering educational stations and demonstrations along the way. Each station provides information and hands-on activities that allow participants to learn about the many uses of our forests, private and public. Various exhibits will also be on display featuring local organizations, businesses and agencies that care for natural resources.

From 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., a grandstand demonstration of logging equipment, Forest Service Spotted Bear Ranger District mule pack string, and logging sports will take place.

Between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., a free logging camp lunch will be served compliments of Family Forestry Expo. 

The Family Forestry Expo event takes place through the dedicated involvement of over 30 diverse organizations such as local service clubs, forest industry, government natural resource agencies, conservation groups, professional societies, local businesses, many interested individuals and numerous local donations.

Over 1,200 fifth-grade students from 28 schools, stretching from Eureka to the Flathead Valley, visit the expo between May 6 and May 10 to learn about natural resource topics. The students visit stations that provide educational presentations about fisheries, aquatic/riparian systems, archaeology, wildlife, fire, backcountry ethics, plant identification, and forest management. The program is curriculum-based, and the field stations complement the students’ classroom study.

Eighteen classes tour either the F. H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co. mill or a Weyerhaeuser mill. The remaining classes have the opportunity to take part in a portable sawmill demonstration and visit stations representing lumber manufacturing and forest products.

For more information call 758-5218 or visit www.familyforestryexpo.org and www.facebook.com/familyforestryexpo. 

    Fifth-graders in teacher Kirsten Pevey's class at Rankin Elementary School inspect the bed of Trumbull Creek with a viewing tube at the fisheries station at the Family Forestry Expo on Tuesday, May 7. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
 Casey Kreider 
 
 
    Fifth-grade students in teacher Kirsten Pevey's class at Rankin Elementary School get an opportunity to hold a crayfish at the fisheries station at the Family Forestry Expo on Tuesday, May 7. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
 Casey Kreider 
 
 
    Dillon Tabish, Regional Communication and Education Program Manager with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, shows a crayfish to students from Kirsten Pevey's fifth-grade class at Rankin Elementary School at the fisheries station of the Family Forestry Expo on Tuesday, May 7. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
 Casey Kreider 
 
 
    Carolyn Clark, with the Glacier Institute, gives a presentation on owls at the wildlife station at the Family Forestry Expo on Tuesday, May 7. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
 Casey Kreider 
 
 
    Fifth-grade students in teacher Kirsten Pevey's class at Rankin Elementary School get an opportunity to view different species of owls from Montana Wild Wings Recovery Center at a wildlife station at the Family Forestry Expo on Tuesday, May 7. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
 Casey Kreider 
 
 
A great horned owl from Montana Wild Wings Recovery Center, looks out from its enclosure at a wildlife station at the Family Forestry Expo on Tuesday, May 7. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
Casey Kreider
    Fifth-grade students in teacher Kirsten Pevey's class at Rankin Elementary School get an opportunity to handle different species of fish found in local waterways with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Fisheries Biologist Leo Rosenthal at the fisheries station at the Family Forestry Expo on Tuesday, May 7. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
 Casey Kreider