Montana Education Programs

 

 

Rain barrel painting workshop

Even in the spectacular natural setting of the Northern Rockies, many kids spend more time indoors looking at electronic screens than outside. The National Wildlife Federation in Montana works with schools, teachers, and communities across the state to engage students with the natural world.

 

Garden for Wildlife

Volunteers filling garden boxes Our Certified Wildlife Habitat® program engages people to make it a priority to provide habitat for wildlife by providing the basic elements that all wildlife need. If you love gardening and connecting with people in your community, the National Wildlife Federation can help you certify your community as a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat™ through our Garden for Wildlife™ movement. A Community Wildlife Habitat™ is a community that provides habitat for wildlife throughout the community—in backyards, on school grounds, and in public areas such as parks, places of worship and businesses.


The Northwest, including Montana, boasts over 12,000 Backyard Habitats, nearly 250 Certified Schoolyard Habitats, and the most certified Community Wildlife Habitats™ in the nation. Montana has two actively engaged communities in Missoula and Billings.
Follow us on Facebook at Missoula's Community Wildlife Habitat and get involved or you can follow us on Instagram @gardenforwildlifemissoula.

Events

March 23-March 24, 2024
Missoula Home & Garden Show
Location: Adams Event Center
Saturday, 3/23 10am-5pm and Sunday, 3/24 10am-4pm
The Missoula Home & Garden Show features 160+ exhibits that will enhance any living environment. Join us to learn more about Garden for Wildlife™ and how you can create habitat in your own backyard!

March 27, 2024
Beginner's Guide to Habitat Garden Design
6pm-7:30pm
Location: Home ReSource Community Room (1515 Wyoming St, Missoula MT 59801)
Visions of spring blooms and butterflies dancing through your head? Bring those dreams to life by joining us at this step-by-step garden design workshop! We’ll walk you through taking stock of your space, visualizing what you want to create & attract, and identifying what to place where. You’ll leave with a plant list, a plan, and inspiration for a great year in the garden!

May 12, 2024
Mother's Day for Mother Earth
Location: TBD
Join us for a family-friendly day of service as we give back to the mother we all share!

Teachers and Educators

Workshops

June 1, 2024
Project WET 2.0 and Project WILD Aquatic Invasive Species Workshop
Fish, Wildlife, and Parks- Missoula Office
9:00am-4:00pm, with possible field trip to Missoula Butterfly House
Registration limited: https://airtable.com/appgcdEyUEotKMbzu/shri8C51zUPJQMb2A
For more information email Naomi at alhadeffN@nwf.org

September 7, 2024
Project Learning Tree/Growing Up Wild/Project WET Early Childhood Educator Workshop
Kalispell, MT
During this workshop, participants will receive the new PLT, Growing Up Wild, and Project WET guides. The workshop is geared for educators working with youth PreK-12th grade and is open to formal and non-formal educators, scout leaders, home school parents, and staff/volunteers of nature centers, zoos, or aquariums.
Questions: Christina Oppegard- (406) 243-2773 or email christina.oppegard@mso.umt.edu

Eco Schools USA logoEco-Schools USA

 After over a decade of growth, EcoSchools U.S.has engages schools in environmental education through hands-on nature-based experiences. With a certification program for elementary through secondary schools, EcoSchools U.S. nurtures environmental learning and climate action. Our award-winning, curriculum-linked framework supports school communities as they assess, track, benchmark, and celebrate environmental excellence.

EcoSchools U.S. is home to:

  • A free K-12 program for project- and place-based environmental learning.
  • A framework based on three overarching themes: Climate Change, Wildlife and Biodiversity, Healthy and Resilient Communities. These represent our priorities to address real and present threats to wildlife and people and center equitable nature-based solutions connected with global Sustainable Development Goals.
  • An Action Card Library with over 35 cross-cutting action cards that consist of a variety of fun and educational projects, campaigns, research, and challenges that help schools assess and improve their environmental practices. Topics vary, from Active and Sustainable Transport and Single-Use Plastics to Water Quality Testing and Restoring Biodiversity Balance in the Schoolyard! There’s even an opportunity to ‘Create Your Own’ unique and innovative action cards.
  • Certification levels of Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Green Flag with schools earning a digital certification seal to display.
  • A certification platform that displays metrics reflecting a school’s impact over time.
  • Student-based action teams composed of dedicated environmental champions.
  • Certification Benefits and School Resources.

WildlifeXing logo

WildlifeXing Program

The National Wildlife Federation has partnered with Miistakis Institute in Calgary, AB, Canada to expand the WildlifeXing Program along the Hi-Line region of Montana. This community-science based approach engages rural communities by training volunteers to use the WildlifeXing app to support agency wildlife-transportation mitigation efforts. An additional 8-lesson high school education unit engages students in wildlife biology and connects data collected in the classroom with management decisions. To learn more visit the WildlifeXing website or email Naomi Alhadeff at alhadeffn@nwf.org.

Professional Development Opportunities

There are numerous professional development opportunities available for educators to become familiar with Eco-Schools USA, WildlifeXing Program, Project WET, Project Learning Tree, and Project WILD. These workshops train educators on diverse wildlife and water related topics for the classroom to connect global challenges to local solutions. They provide educators with the knowledge to teach wildlife-based conservation principles in the classroom or outside of the classroom. NWF staff works with schools, teachers, and educators to bring these workshops to you. Participants receive project guides, additional resources or supplies, and Montana certified Renewable Units.
If you’re interested in hosting or attending a professional development workshop, please email Naomi Alhadeff at alhadeffn@nwf.org.

Montana License Plate

Get Outside license plate

Calling all Montana residents! Did you know that, on average, kids spend more than 50 hours a week indoors in front of electronic devices? That's more hours than an average full-time job. Help us build our programs to promote better health and teach our future conservationists. By purchasing a National Wildlife Federation "No Child Left Inside" license plate, you contribute to our youth education and habitat programs. And here's our challenge: pick a day, turn off the TV, unplug those video games, leave your phones at home ... and get outside! Twenty dollars from every plate purchased goes directly to programs that give Montana's children opportunities and encouragement to get outside and play.
Montana residents can visit the Montana Motor Vehicle Division website and scroll directly to the National Wildlife Federation's "No Child Left Inside" plate.

Missoula’s Certified Wildlife Habitats™ Self-Guided Tour

Looking to explore Missoula’s Certified Wildlife Habitats™ and the best management practices they display to help improve our watershed? A Certified Wildlife Habitat™ is a step toward replenishing resources for wildlife—both locally and along migration corridors – and we want to show you some great Missoula examples.
Download this self-guided tour to learn the importance of gardening for wildlife, reducing the number of pollutants entering our river, and improving your wildlife habitat.

Click highlighted text for audio recordings describing each stop!

Missoula Certified Wildlife Habitat Guided Tour Map page 1Intro

Stop A: Western Cider was certified in March of 2020 and is the first stop on the tour that shows a healthy wildlife habitat neighboring the Clark Fork River.

Stop B: Created by a group of people who were passionate about urban sustainability, the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project (MUD) is the next stop on the tour and was officially certified in May of 2018.

Missoula Certified Wildlife Habitat Guided Tour brochure page 2Stop C: Soil Cycle aims to promote the natural food cycle by providing environmentally sustainable compost services and education and is the next stop on the tour, certifying their wildlife habitat in September of 2019.

Stop D: The Montana Natural History Museum is next on the tour certifying their habitat in July of 2015 and displaying a beautiful example of a pollinator garden filled with native plants.

Stop E: The last stop on the tour is the home of the Missoula Certified Wildlife Community celebration dating their habitat back to the Summer of 2017.

Meet Our 2024 Montana AmeriCorps Member

Eliza Lindley

Hello! My name is Eliza Lindley, and I am a Midwestern gal from Mount Horeb, Wisconsin — also known as the "Troll Capital of the World"! I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2023 with bachelor's degrees in Environmental Science and Life Sciences Communication, as well as a certificate in Sustainability. Throughout college, I worked as a podcast editor, served as an intern with our office of sustainability, conducted ecology research, and played bass drum in the marching band. After graduation, I spent a summer in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks doing aquatic habitat restoration for the National Park Service. And now I'm here! Connecting people with our vibrant environment is a huge passion of mine, so I am truly thrilled to be working in this role out here among the mountains. In my free time, I love hiking, canoeing, writing, singing, playing music, and traveling as much as I can. My fun fact for you is that I currently own a viola, guitar, ukulele, kalimba, dulcimer, and keyboard. I am much better at playing some of them than others. To contact our current AmeriCorps member please email mteducation@nwf.org.

Photo courtesy of Eliza Lindley.

More Montana Resources

Montana Mason Bee Box Instructions and Information
Information about mason bees and how to care for a mason bee condo.

Montana Bat Facts and Bat Box Building Instructions
Learn about the many bats in Montana and instructions on how you can build your very own bat house!

Monarch Curriculum (English and Spanish available)
This curriculum was developed to complement the National Wildlife Federation's Eco-Schools USA and Schoolyard Habitat® programs, and to guide the construction of a school's monarch recovery garden and monarch observations.

Monarchs & Milkweed
Information about planting milkweed in Montana, the Rocky Mountains, and the Northern Plains. 

Montana Native Plant Guidebook
This guidebook, developed for the National Wildlife Federation, is to be used to lead native plant walks in the Missoula area for the general public and school programs.

Deer Resistant Ornamental Plant Guide - Montana
Find out what to plant so your garden doesn't become a tasty treat for deer!

Missoula County Flowering Plant Guide
Learn more about when common flowering plants in Missoula County are in bloom. PDF from the Missoula County Weed District and Extension Office.


For more information about the National Wildlife Federation’s Montana Education Programs, please contact Naomi Alhadeff at alhadeffn@nwf.org.



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Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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