Conservation Education

Facilitating meaningful experiences for kids in their environment.

The Conservation Education Program is in operation at Troy Public Schools. The program teaches in-class, as well as extracurricular activities, that focus on nature and place-based concepts. The program takes a multi-disciplinary approach to introducing students to the themes of environment and community. The goal of the program is to increase the critical thinking skills, ecological literacy, and positive experiences in the outdoors of students, leading to environmental and civic minded graduates.


Summer Programs

Girls Hikes – During the summer months, the Conservation Education Program sponsors and leads a series of hikes for junior high and high school girls. The day hikes all take place within a five minute drive from Troy, skirting the Cabinet Wilderness and the Yaak Valley. YVFC has also partnered with Troy High School and the US Forest Service to offer multi-day trail restoration projects for the high school students.

Water Camp -Taking an active role in the development of local students and their understanding of water ecology, the YVFC was able to offer a two-day ‘Watershed Ecology Daycamp’ during summer of 2015. The camp included presentations by the US Forest Service, the MT Fish wildlife and Parks game warden, the Lincoln County Conservation District, the City of Troy, and a local fiber artist. The middle-school age students learned about many aspects of water from waste-water treatment to water ethics all while exploring local water sources including the Kootenai River, Callahan Creek, and the Roosevelt Park Fish Pond. We look forward to continuing to offer Troy students meaningful experiences in their environment.

Learning Garden

Since the spring of 2009, the YVFC has sponsored a school garden located on the playground of Morrison Elementary School in Troy, Montana. The garden is planted and managed by Morrison Elementary students, the Altacare therapy program, and students in the garden club in the afterschool program.

The students take great pride in their garden work, learning about plant life cycles, worms, soil, and teamwork. The garden harvest is used in the school’s cafeteria, donated to the local food pantry, sold to raise money for the garden at the farmers market, and, of course, eaten by the little gardeners!

For more information about the Conservation Education Program, please contact Shawna Kelsey, the program coordinator, at


Citizen Science

We are currently participating in the ground floor development of large-scale huckleberry research project headed up by Dr. Tabitha Graves of the US Geological Survey. The study is encouraging everyday people like you to get out in the woods and take simple observations of huckleberry bushes that will identify what influences the timing and success of huckleberry development across the inland Northwest.

From 2015 – 2018, we will coordinate and train citizen scientists of all ages to visit specific huckleberry bushes several times over the growing season and record information on basic weather, presence of pollinators, and the number of berries on the bushes that are in each stage of ripening. This information will be used to project the future range and condition of huckleberries, which is an integral part of not only the rural culture and economy of Northwest Montana, but the recovery and existence of grizzly bears across the western United States.
We continue seeking funding for a variety of Citizen Science opportunities for our community. If you are interested in the program, please contact Kristina Boyd at