September 30, 2009
What a spectacular fall we've had! Students have enjoyed some sunny, warm days here this September.
It seems the 2009-2010 school year is off to a great start. I have been taking reservations for ranger-led field trips for the entire school year as many teachers tell me that they have to submit their bus requests now for any trips this year.
Unfortunately, that means that winter and spring are already booking up, so don't delay if you plan on bringing your students to Glacier. Remember, travel grants are now available to help defray busing costs. The form to apply for the grants is on our ranger-led field trips page under the link for travel grants.
We've been working with the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center to try some new "hands-on" field trips with secondary school students. Three different middle and high school groups have participated in our "Plant Invaders" field trip to identify and map non-native, invasive plants in the park. The students use GPS units and Citizen Science data sheets to hike trails and systematically record incidences of these "invaders." The information then gets turned in to the park's integrated pest management division to help them plan for next year's staffing and work loads to get out and eradicate these weeds.
One of our first groups discovered an entire field of spotted knapweed near Lower McDonald Creek that our integrated pest management coordinator did not have on her target list for eradication. So although it was depressing to see how that knapweed had taken over that field, it was rewarding for the students to see that citizens can really help the park by becoming "Citizen Scientists" and with a little training, getting good information to us to help manage and protect the resources here.