Swan Valley Bear News: Griz Mortality
December 9, 2018
By ROB RICH

If record highs for human-caused bear mortalities are set, they typically happen late in the fall, when the onset of winter coincides with voracious appetites. This is the time, which scientists call hyperphagia, when bears consume over 15,000 calories per day so that they can go into hibernation with the nourishment needed to survive until spring.

But this year, by the first week of August, 27 grizzlies were killed in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE). CONTINUE READING


Swan Valley Bear News
November 12, 2018
By MARK RUBY, Wildlife Biologist for U.S. Forest Service, Swan Lake Ranger District

Hunting in grizzly bear country has made headlines in past years as each fall, bear conflicts with hunters are reported in Montana and the Northern Rocky Mountains. Outside of Choteau in 2015, a hunter attacked by a male grizzly bear pushed his arm down the bear’s throat to ward off the attacking animal.   An Idaho bow hunter recently survived a bear attack near Livingston. CONTINUE READING


Return from the Rocky Mountain Front
October 31, 2018
By MEREDITH FRASER

The Landscape and Livelihood students had a busy week on the Rocky Mountain Front and Blackfoot Valley, focused on collaborative watershed groups and agricultural landscapes. The trip started out with an adventure into Glacier National Park with a hike up to Apgar Lookout. After a series of switchbacks up to the top… CONTINUE READING


The (Over)Story on Forests and Communities
October 11, 2018
By MEREDITH FRASER and L&L STUDENTS
Photos by SARAH FISHER, MEREDITH FRASER & ANDREA DININO

Landscape & Livelihood students spent the past two weeks delving into Forests and Communities, one of the five courses covered in the L&L program. This year we had the pleasure of learning from two new instructors, SVC Conservation and Stewardship Associate Mike Mayernick, and Jim Burchfield, SVC Advisory Board member and former Dean of the School of Forestry at the University of Montana. Students learned about stand characteristics, fire ecology, timber harvest…
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Distant Neighbors: Swan Valley Bear Resources Hosts Workshop for Romanian Bear Managers
October 8, 2018
By ROB RICH

A couple weeks ago, a group of ten nonprofit and government stakeholders from Romania learned about bear-resistant trash bins in the Swan Valley. They tested latches, pummeled the thick plastic with their fists, and ran their hands over jagged and warped edges left by grizzlies who chewed – but failed to open – the bins. CONTINUE READING


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L&L Backpacking Trip
September 17, 2018
By MEREDITH FRASER and L&L STUDENTS

Last week the Landscape & Livelihood students embarked on a five-day backpacking trip into the Swan Mountains. The trip started off with an exciting hike up to Upper Holland Lake where the students had their second black bear sighting so far this semester! Upon arrival… CONTINUE READING →


Meet Landscape & Livelihood 2018!
September 4, 2018
Photos: ANDREA DININO

We're always impressed with the group of students our programs attract from across the country; get to know our latest class of L&L and what brought them to the Swan! CONTINUE READING →

 


Consider the Water Lilies, How They Grow: A Concerning New Plant on our Lakes
August 31, 2018
By ROB RICH

“This is where the water lily was last year,” sighed Fish Biologist Beth Gardner, pointing to a small cove in Holland Lake's south shore. The water lily. Singular. Today, water lilies abound there, in a growing patch the size of a Chevrolet Suburban. And there are other patches around the lake's edge, wherever the water is shallow and still.  CONTINUE READING →


eDNA for AIS: Demystifying a Tool That Can Watch the Health of our Waters
August 22, 2018
By ROB RICH

Dragging a meter-long net a meter underwater while putting along at five miles an hour, I understand  what it’s like to be a bull trout holding still against the flow. The drag was only a hundred meters and three minutes long, but even with a forearm resting on the gunwales of the aluminum skiff – a well-worn, forest-green vessel dubbed Shrek – there was an isometric intensity to the static pull. CONTINUE READING →


With a Stomp and a Leap: SVC Partners with Montana Land Reliance to Advance Long-Term Amphibian Monitoring
August 19, 2018
By ROB RICH

With a sound that registered somewhere between plunging a toilet and a breeze through aspens, Matt Bell stepped his sandaled foot into the pond’s shallow edge. Squish, squish-squish. “This is the Frog Stomp,” he deadpanned, as if the practice had been widely endorsed by amphibian authorities beyond the Montana Land Reliance (MLR) where he works. “These guys are camouflaged and hard to see in the shadows, and the idea is to trigger some movement out of them.” Nothing jumped... CONTINUE READING →


When Electricity and Water Do Mix: Electrofishing to Preserve the Westslope Cutthroat Trout of Red Butte Creek
August 8, 2018
By ROB RICH

Hunched under a battery and generator heavy on her back, Beth Gardner squeezed a switch, instantly transmitting 800 volts from the probe in her hand to the waters of Red Butte Creek. The boxed apparatus beeped with the insistence of a paramedic’s AED, but as she scanned and shocked each riffle and pool, Beth didn’t flinch. At least not until a white shape surfaced in the swift creek’s froth, and she started yelling hysterically, “there’s one, right there, yes…you got it!” Graham plunged his net and scooped the quarry to find... CONTINUE READING →


“Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”: Swan Valley Bear Resources is Charged for Coexistence
July 2 , 2018
By ROB RICH

Jan Moore will never forget waking to the sound of a grizzly cub wailing with its mother thundering inside a culvert-shaped trap. It was the furious attraction of family denied freedom by inches of metal. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Grizzly Bear Specialist Tim Manley was trying to relocate the whole family together, and as the panicked calls reported the pre-dawn rage, he could only sigh and get dressed for another day on the job... CONTINUE READING →


Montana’s Most Unwanted: A New Monitoring Season Begins for Aquatic Invasive Species
June 22, 2018
By ROB RICH

Our Wildlife in the West students recently went fishing at Upsata Lake, but they didn’t want to catch anything, except maybe some plankton, aquatic insects, or algae. Motored gently about in small skiff by volunteer Barry Gordon, and led by Blackfoot Challenge’s Caitlin Mitchell, we hand-reeled in a white, three-foot net on a hundred-foot rope. Shaped like a wizard’s hat, our net yielded just a little draft of fluid the color of weak green tea, which we promptly conveyed into a 250 mL plastic bottle. There were some crumbles and scum in the fluid, some of which squirmed... CONTINUE READING →


Learning To Live In Harmony With Bears
June 16, 2018
Story: STUDENTS OF WILDLIFE IN THE WEST
Photos: ANDREA DININO

On Saturday, June 9th Swan Valley Bear Resources hosted the Bear Fair at the Swan River Community Hall in Ferndale/Echo Lake, an annual event that works to share information with the public on how to coexist with bears. Almost three weeks into our time as Wildlife in the West students, the Bear Fair was an awesome opportunity for us to interact with community members and share what we have learned in our time here...  CONTINUE READING →


Making It Count: Volunteer Citizen-Scientists Connect Huckleberries, Climate Change, and Grizzlies through the Seasons
June 12, 2018
By ROB RICH

If you happened to be driving to check on the Jim Lakes trailhead last Thursday, you might have seen some peculiar folks crouched over huckleberries not far from the road. It’s June, of course, so nobody was feasting on northwest Montana’s most beloved wild fruit. Instead, we – volunteers and staff for a project with the Earthwatch Institute... CONTINUE READING →


Restoring Watersheds with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
June 8, 2018
Story: ROB RICH
Photos: ANDREA DININO

More than a few eyebrows perked up when Biologist Rusty Sydnor called something on the landscape a “wasteway.” Our Wildlife in the West students were on tour in the Mission Valley, to learn from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) about managing watersheds and native fish... CONTINUE READING →


Wildlife in the West Dives into the Aquatic Realm
June 4, 2018
By ROB RICH

Have you seen the Swan River lately, or a neighborhood creek? Unless you're looking right now, or even if you are, the scene has probably been changing since you saw it last. That's partly why, in between an exciting round of backcountry navigation, bear, wolf, and lynx studies, our Wildlife in the West program began to explore our local waters...

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Meet Wildlife in the West 2018
May 25, 2018
By ANDREA DININO

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A Spring into Birding: The 25th Annual Bird Count for World Migratory Bird Day
May 15, 2018
By ROB RICH

"Five and seven (that's twelve), plus seven (nineteen)…thirty," said Sharon Lamar, whose quick mental math earned her a role in summation. “Thirty red-winged blackbirds, last chance," I called, feeling like an auctioneer, then scribbled yet another species to our list. But we weren't selling anything away: we were accounting for the priceless gift of the birds who have returned with the spring. By the end, in admirable tribute to World Migratory Bird Day, Swan Valley Connections' volunteers counted...  CONTINUE READING →


Spring Bear Wake-up Social
April 17, 2018
By LUKE LAMAR
Photos by SEAN COSTELLO

Every year Swan Valley Bear Resources (SVBR) partners with various agencies and organizations to provide educational events aimed at promoting human-bear coexistence. On April 12, SVBR hosted a Spring Bear Wake-Up Social at the Swan Valley Community Hall that featured presentations by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks grizzly bear management specialist Tim Manley and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes wildlife biologist Stacy Courville.... CONTINUE READING →

 
 

Carnivore Monitoring 2018
January 29, 2018
By LUKE LAMAR, MIKE MAYERNIK, and SARA HALM

SVC staff have been out again this winter surveying The Nature Conservancy's Clearwater Blackfoot Project area and surrounding U.S. Forest Service lands for rare carnivores... CONTINUE READING →


Community Potluck Heats Up Condon
January 5, 2018

Swan Valley Connections kicked off its first monthly potluck on Wed. Jan. 3rd. Nearly 40 folks were in attendance and feasted on... CONTINUE READING →


Touring the Working Landscapes of the Southwest Crown
November 15, 2017
By SARA HALM

Landscape and Livelihood is an interdisciplinary, experiential field program. Subject matter is intricately woven together to tell the story of a place and the people connected to it. Nevertheless, L&L students evolve in distinct stages throughout the program... CONTINUE READING →


Landscape & Livelihood has had a busy couple of weeks!
October 10, 2017
By JESSIE THORESON

Right after we returned from the backpacking trip, we got all hands on deck to help with Community Firewood Day. This event, put on by Swan Valley Connections, is an effort to get winter firewood to community members... CONTINUE READING →


Return From The Mountains
September 25, 2017
By JESSIE THORESON

The weather was promising a high in the mid 30s the morning we packed our bags for a three day trek into the mountains. We made our way towards Upper Holland Lake (approximately 6 miles from the trailhead) to learn about the geology, land management, watershed dynamics and the wilderness of the Swan Mountain Range... CONTINUE READING →


Getting To Know The Landscape
September 7, 2017
By JESSIE THORESON

A week after arriving in the valley, the 2017 Landscape & Livelihood crew is finally getting settled into the rhythm of rural life on the homestead... CONTINUE READING →


LA Teachers go to Montana to study huckleberries, climate change and grizzlies!
September 6, 2017
Guest Blog by MONTANA CLIMATE CHANGE

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Welcome Landscape & Livelihood 2017!
September 5, 2017
By JESSIE THORESON

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Snorkeling the Stream 
July 11, 2017
By EMILY BOGAN

Deciphering good fish habitat can be difficult, especially from the bank. Therefore, Wildlife in the West students got all the way in the water to see for themselves the different habitat types within the banks. Bull trout are one of the focal species of the program, offering a different view... CONTINUE READING →


Dear Wildlife in the West 2017
July 5, 2017
By EMILY BOGAN

Thank you. The last six weeks have been some of the best of my life and it wouldn’t have been possible without the students, instructors, or beautiful classroom the Swan Valley provides. I am going to miss this place so much when I leave, but I can relax knowing I will be able to remember all... CONTINUE READING →


Wildlife in the West 2017
June 30, 2017

Final presentation by Boise State University student SARAH KELLER
Photo by University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh student RYAN DELOGE

I’m not normally the type of person who does this kind of stuff – I’m quiet (really) and an introvert, not someone who you would expect to sign up for a college field course that involves living in a converted barn with 14 other students for over a month and traveling all around western Montana. I’ve spent half of my childhood and all of my adult life in Boise—a pocket of southwest Idaho surrounded by both public lands and rural communities that few people outside of the state have ever heard of... CONTINUE READING →


Promoting Human/Bear Coexistence in the Swan Valley
June 16, 2017
By LUKE LAMAR

Swan Valley Connections has several staff who are members of Swan Valley Bear Resources (SVBR), which is a collaborative group that also involves the U.S. Forest Service. Combined, SVBR is able to offer resources that help minimize bear conflicts on both private and public properties, and ultimately work towards its mission of promoting human/bear coexistence in the Swan Valley... CONTINUE READING →


From Rivers to Ridges 
June 1, 2017
By EMILY BOGAN

This past week the Wildlife in the West students spent time learning about stream ecology and bull trout, as well as higher elevation ecology with habitat suitable for Canada lynx. It was many of the students’ first time tromping through a river in waders... CONTINUE READING →


Say hello to Wildlife in the West 2017!
May 30, 2017
By EMILY BOGAN

Say hello to the amazing students that make up the 2017 class of Wildlife in the West! We have an awesome group from all around the country who are super excited to be in Montana and to use the Swan Valley as a classroom to learn more about wildlife and the issues surrounding it! Check out who is here and why they are thrilled about this program… CONTINUE READING →


Snow IS Fun
March 23, 2017
By SARA HALM and ADAM LIEBERG

Snow IS fun. Winter brings an abundance of outdoor recreation options and opportunities to learn about the natural world. This winter Swan Valley Connections seized the chance to teach snow science, animal tracking, and winter survival skills... CONTINUE READING →


Fresh Tracks And Carnivore Scats
February 28, 2017
By ADAM LIEBERG and CODY DEMS

2017 marks the sixth year of the Southwestern Crown of the Continent Collaborative Carnivore Monitoring Project. The project consists of teams from the US Forest Service, Blackfoot Challenge, and Swan Valley Connections, monitoring rare carnivores across 1.5 million acres... CONTINUE READING →


Mountain Caribou Initiative: Camera Trapping for Carnivores
February 21, 2017
By MOUNTAIN CARIBOU INITIATIVE
Text and photos by DAVID MOSKOWITZ

Caribou are not the only animal tough to track down in the Caribou Rainforest ecosystem. As part of our efforts to tell the story of all of the creatures that call these mountains home, I have been setting camera traps this winter in collaboration with Swan Valley Connections in northwestern Montana... CONTINUE READING →


L&L’s Final Days of Biogeography
October 28, 2016
By JULIA GOODHART

With a brief and celebrated respite from the steady barrage of October rain, L&L students headed into the woods for the final days of Biogeography! With classes culminating and final papers and projects approaching, it seemed like two days using our hands constructively, and tromping through the wet vegetation to identify our trees and animal sign were sincerely appreciated.

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A Week of Wetlands and Forestry
October 25, 2016
By JULIA GOODHART

After returning from our week in the Mission Valley, the aspen trees beginning to flutter in yellows and golds, the L&L students continued their exploration of the Swan Valley’s wetlands.  In the photo below, Andrea is gesturing to the boundary of the wetland - where the cottonwoods, aspens, and other ‘upland’ vegetation begin...

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Putting Beck Creek Garden to Bed
October 17, 2016
By CORY FRONING

Yesterday, October 16th, was Putting the Garden To Bed day. As the rain poured down on my muddy overalls and big winter coat, I flexed my cold-slowed fingers and wondered how an entire growing season had passed since the skies were last dark like this and the soil bare, way back in May...

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Exploring Water and Agriculture in the Mission Valley
October 13, 2016
By CORY FRONING and JULIA GOODHART

It has been a wild few weeks! The L&L students have been on some wonderful adventures recently, and we’ll try to catch you up with everything!  After an awesome day chopping and hauling firewood with community members to ensure everyone has plenty of wood for the winter, we left our beautiful homestead to live and learn on the other side of the Mission mountains for five days.

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Getting To Know Our Watershed
September 23, 2016
By JULIA GOODHART

After our venture into the Bob Marshall, we plunged headlong into the first few days of our Watershed Dynamics and...

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Beck Creek Garden CSA Dinner
September 12, 2016
By CORY FRONING

When I remember yesterday’s CSA dinner, the memory isn’t my own, but rather it’s drawn from the brain of a third person; sitting in the clouds, peering out over the Missions, into the belly of the Swan, zooming in on a tiny patch of sunflowers and zucchini...

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Backpacking in the Swan
September 12, 2016
By JULIA GOODHART

This past week, the Landscape & Livelihood students ventured into the Swan Mountains for a five-day backpacking trip.  We camped on the quiet shores of Sapphire Lake, and climbed...

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Meet Landscape & Livelihood 2016!
September 9, 2016
By JULIA GOODHART and CORY FRONING

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Hello, hello from the Beck Homestead!
September 2, 2016
By CORY FRONING and JULIA GOODHART

Sunflower blossoms, the first fall frost, and Landscape & Livelihood students have finally  arrived! It’s hard to believe that we have already waved goodbye to 8 CSA shares and a bountiful huckleberry season, but sunny temperate days and chilly nights are making for a seamless transition into an autumn full of learning...

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Flammulated Owl Surveys
July 18, 2016
By JULIA GOODHART and LUKE LAMAR


In June, Swan Valley Connections was contracted by the U.S. Forest Service to conduct flammulated owl surveys at several sites on the Flathead National Forest in the Swan Valley, Tally Lake area, and near the South Fork of the Flathead River...

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WiW Goes Camping Part II: People Predators, and Perspectives
June 29, 2016
By SARAH ROY

The second part of our big camping trip focused mainly on Grizzly bears and wolves and how they fit into the landscape here in Montana. We not only studied the ecology of these animals and their movements, but more importantly we focused in on how these creatures interact with people...

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WiW Goes Camping Part I: Exploring Aquatics
June 27, 2016
By SARAH ROY

We started off our big camping trip with some hands-on aquatic activities. Instructor Andrea Stephens took all of us to see how culverts can affect the connectivity of fish populations...

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Wilderness Volunteer Trail Clearing
June 20, 2016
By LUKE LAMAR

On Saturday, June 18, volunteers joined forces with SVC's backcountry trail stewards, Christian Mascho and Nathan Noble, to help clear some of the Lower Hemlock Lake trail...

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Why should I care about fish?
June 13, 2016
By SARAH ROY

Here in the Swan Valley, this is the resounding question. It is one of the top conservation concerns for biologists, but seems to be one of the least addressed questions in the general public...

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Bear Fair Highlights
June 10, 2016
By SARA HALM and LUKE LAMAR

For eight years Swan Valley Bear Resources (SVBR) has served the upper Swan Valley community, offering various resources for residents to reduce the chance of bear conflict and promote coexistence. One of these resources are education and outreach events...

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Beck Creek Garden Update
June 6, 2016
By CORY FRONING

It’s hard to believe I’ve already been back in the Swan Valley for an entire month. I am so grateful to have been welcomed back into this community with open arms...

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Grizzly Bears and Whitebark Pine Ecology
May 31, 2016
By SARAH ROY

For the past few days, the students have been focusing on grizzly bear ecology. Everything from where they live, to what they eat, to how their bodies react physiologically while in hibernation…

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Meet Wildlife in the West '16
May 25, 2016
By SARAH ROY

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Carnivore Monitoring Continues
February 8, 2016
By EMILY McCALL

The carnivore monitoring season continues! Interns and staff are mourning our fellow intern Sophie’s return to school at the end of her winter break, but Josh and Emily continue to learn the arts of tracking...

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Interns @ Swan Valley Connections
January 18, 2016
By JOSH BLOUIN

Happy New Year from the interns here at Swan Valley Connections...

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