Outdoor education for an outdoor world

In typical Montana May fashion, this year’s Bear Creek Days got a little wet.

The event, which takes place at the Bear Creek Trailhead south of Ennis, saw two full days before Mother Nature called it a day. Similar to last year, one day of the three-day event was cancelled and the seventh and eighth grade students had to miss out on the fun due to wet and muddy conditions.

However, third through sixth grade students from Alder, Cardwell, Ennis, Harrison, Sheridan, Twin Bridges, Whitehall and West Yellowstone braved the snowy, cold spring weather for the 10th annual Bear Creek Days, hosted by the Forest Service.

“This is an established program with the 10th consecutive year of operation at Bear Creek, a historic ranger station and primary portal into the Lee Metcalf Wilderness,” said Gordon Ash, with the Forest Service. “The focus is on outdoor education, ethics and natural science.”

Though the event is hosted by the Forest Service, many other organizations and groups throughout the area help to make Bear Creek Days a success, including the Madison River Foundation, Montana Outdoor Science School, Southwest Montana Bear Education Working Group and numerous volunteers.

This year, students learned about grizzly bears, native plants, watershed dynamics, traditional and primitive tools, archery, wolverines, earthquakes and more.

“Our intent is to pass on a legacy of respect, interest and appreciation for the outdoors and natural world for a generation occupied with indoor pursuits and technological gadgets,” Ash said.

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