Educational Outreach

The Big Picture

APR furthers its mission of providing quality public access opportunities through its Educational Outreach Program, which seeks to the Reserve as a “living laboratory” for students of all ages. By building lasting connections between land, wildlife and people, APR’s Educational Outreach Program seeks to instill in visitors of all ages a deeper appreciation for this globally important ecosystem.

Progress to Date

A group gathers for an interpretive talk about rattlesnakes at BioBlitz in 2011. Click photo to read more about BioBlitz. (Photo: Dave M. Shumway)

The Educational Outreach Program aims to provide a rich learning experience to many people, including educational groups that visit the Reserve, local school children and our neighbors in surrounding communities, as well as students at advanced levels of education who are looking for research opportunities. We design our educational programs to expose students to the full diversity of ecological, cultural and historical elements unique to the northern Great Plains.

Our Educational Outreach Programs are often conducted in partnership with other organizations. Examples of past initiatives include the following:

  • In collaboration with Montana Outdoor Science School (MOSS), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), area schools from Malta and the Hayes-Lodgepole and Dodson schools on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, APR has hosted outdoor field days and in-classroom sessions designed to provide hands-on science learning for local students. Students have learned about such things as aquatic invertebrates, medicinal plants, the water cycle and prairie animal classification and adaptation.
  • We have held community art workshops for local residents with renowned artist Clyde Aspevig, who serves on our Board of Directors. Aspevig demonstrated his painting techniques to about 50 Malta residents and served as a guest teacher to the Advanced Art Class at Malta High School.
  • We regularly provide college and graduate level internships for students assisting APR, World Wildlife Fund, the Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks with research projects on the Reserve.
  • We conduct various educational outings on the Reserve for groups from all over the world.  Past groups have included high school students from Grasslands National Park area in Canada, land managers from China, Montana Conservation Corps students and groups from several universities.
  • We hosted our first BioBlitz event, which drew more than 60 scientists, educators, students and volunteers to the Reserve and resulted in the discovery of more than 480 species in a 24-hour period. Detailed information about BioBlitz is available in our news blog.
  • We partnered with National Geographic to host a National Geographic Student Expeditions trip to the Reserve and Yellowstone National Park. More information about their trip is available here.

Next Steps

APR will continue to build its Educational Outreach Program in and around the Reserve and to encourage internship opportunities for college students doing fieldwork in scientific disciplines. Some of our key education initiatives include the following:

  • Expanding our volunteer and internship programs to provide a wider sense of public ownership in the Reserve.

To schedule or inquire about an educational field trip, please contact us at 406-585-4600 or mail@americanprairie.org.