Bringing school work “alive” in the Flathead’s annual Forestry Expo

A student helps firefighters demonstrate the equipment they carry as part of the Forestry Expo. -Katrin Frye photo.

A student helps firefighters demonstrate the equipment they carry as part of the Forestry Expo. -Katrin Frye photo.

All this week fifth graders from the Flathead Valley and beyond have been heading to a section of woods in Columbia Falls. It’s the Forestry Expo, and this Saturday it opens to the public. This is the Expo’s 24th year. It takes place in the Trumbull Creek Experimental Forest on F-H Stoltze land near Columbia Falls. District Ranger Deb Mucklow says it includes land managers like the forest service, department of natural resources and conservation, fish wildlife and parks, as well as organizations like the Audubon Society, to Back Country horsemen and the native plant society.

“It’s not one agenda against another agenda, it’s a common goal of education, and having good information for people to be informed and educated about the special places and the forest that surrounds the places that we live and work in,” Mucklow said they see nearly 1,400-students through the week, and more than 500 people generally show up for the family day on Saturday.

Swan River School 5th Grader True Gannon checks out the different animal pelts at the wildlife educational station at the 24th annual Family Forestry Expo near Columbia Falls. - Katrin Frye photo.

Swan River School 5th Grader True Gannon checks out the different animal pelts at the wildlife educational station at the 24th annual Family Forestry Expo near Columbia Falls. – Katrin Frye photo.

“Just sharing this common message about noxious weeds, what fire management is, and while reaching 5th graders is really good, reaching some of the parents and others in the valley, giving them an opportunity and an environment that was a comfortable environment, so that there was no dumb questions, so that they could watch and learn, and have it be one-on-one,” Mucklow said.

The Forestry Expo runs from 9 to 3 on Saturday with grandstand presentations from the Flathead Valley Community College Logger sports team as well as many different informational stations covering fisheries, forest management, and wildlife, and more.

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