Montana Audubon Center - November 2020
We're wrapping up our main fundraiser for the year, Evening Under the Big Sky, and I wanted to thank everyone who contributed to its success. From volunteers who helped gather silent auction items, to our silent auction donors, to those who purchased items and who made monetary donations, we couldn't do it without each of you! The donations that come in through this fundraiser provide the Center with funds that are needed throughout the year to keep us going. Thank you!
Although we wish we could have seen all of your smiling faces in person, we know making the call to be all virtual was the right, and safe, choice. We're hoping that we can be in-person for this event in 2021.
In the meantime, please remember that our grounds are open from dawn to dusk for your safe, socially distanced visitation. Come enjoy the paths, ponds, and wildlife that make this patch of land so special.
P.S. If you didn't get a chance to donate to the Center through Evening Under the Big Sky, remember you can donate or become a member anytime through our website. Thank you!
Fledglings Preschool - Helping Out
Our youngest students are an unexpected and surprisingly helpful work force. In the month of October, our preschool and kindergarten students helped plant over 30 trees. Under the guidance of Big Sky Watershed Land Steward, Anthony, the students helped with all aspects of planting from digging holes to moving trees to putting them in the ground. The children learned to check the drip lines that go to each tree to insure that they get the water they need to grow. Each class adopted one tree to closely monitor through the year. This new grove of trees near the yurt classroom will soon provide shade, habitat and play space for all to enjoy.
We have a couple of openings in our Fledglings preschool classes - if you know of a little person who would love to spend some time outdoors with us, contact our Fledglings Coordinator, Sarah Chatwood
for more information.
School Programs - New Virtual Lessons
In addition to our year-long ANTS (Audubon Naturalists in the Schools) program that works with 4th grade classes in and around Billings, we also offer field trips to school groups and other private organizations. This year, we are excited to share that we are also offering 1-hr virtual lessons for K-5 classes and youth organizations. Each program is custom-built to the age and grade of the group, and is taught by our experienced team of teacher-naturalists. Lessons include live instruction, hands-on journaling activities, student-discussion, and outside activities (dependent on lesson). Current offerings include:
For more program options and information on pricing and schedule availability, please email our school program coordinator, Alina Garner, or call
Youth Programs - Mentorships in Nature
LINKS, the Leadership Institute for Nature, Kids, and Stewardship program, has brought together 10 high school volunteers and youth from Friendship House for its fall session. During weekly visits, LINKS participants form positive relationships with mentors and nature through games, canoeing, and even pumpkin painting!
This program is 100% funded by donations and grants. If you're interested in donating, visit our website, choose Montana Audubon Center under Gift Designation, and mention 'scholarships' in the notes section. Thank you!
Restoration Update - Wrapping Up
It's the end of the growing season here at the Montana Audubon Center. The cold and ice has made their presence felt here, and the plants and animals are showing it. Thank you to all of our volunteers who helped to plant the last of our nursery stock in September. These plants were able to enjoy the late warm fall and grow to be better prepared for the winter ahead.
A portion of the trees and shrubs will help to shade a new dedication bench on Deep Mill pond that will give visitors another viewing area to watch our Osprey platform. Thank you to YRPA and the estate of Frank Ferguson for building and sponsoring this bench. The rest of the plants were planted by the preschoolers, and contained edible trees and shrubs for their friends in the future.
Thanks to YRPA and Montana Audubon Board Member Bob Mackin for his time and tools in helping to blow-out our irrigation system. Our flowering plants and saplings enjoyed the water that was provided throughout the growing season, and produced an abundance of seed. Multiple varieties of coneflowers, asters, blanket flowers, and primrose were collected from our landscape and some city parks. Thank you Billings City Forestry and Parks and Rec for your collaboration with this project! These seeds will be used to make our lands pollinator havens, and for giveaway seeds for the gardeners throughout Billings.
A warm thought for the winter, plants have been ordered for next year's restoration efforts! Keep your eyes open for the planting party volunteer opportunity in April!
This year has been a tremendous success for our landscape, and thank you to all unnamed who helped make this area a beautiful place to learn and play in.
We are pleased to be able to offer community programs that get you and your family outdoors, enjoying the Montana Audubon Center! To ensure everyone's safety during this unprecedented time, programs are held outside and are limited in size.
Nature Nuts Preschool Program
Every Tuesday 10 - 11am
Nature exploration comes naturally, especially for little kids! Children ages 1 to 4 (and an accompanying adult) join our teacher naturalists for guided outdoor play and learning about the local area. Suggested donation $5/child or free for members. Advanced registration required
November Themes: Preparing for Winter
Nov. 3rd Winter Migration
Nov. 10th How Animals Keep Warm
Nov. 17th Turkeys
Bird Stroll and Project FeederWatch Training
Saturday, November 14th from 8:30 - 10am and Project FeederWatch Training from 10 - 11am
Enjoy a morning stroll by the river and learn a few birds along the way. Great for beginning birders. Binoculars and guidebooks available to check out. This month we'll be focusing on how to identify birds you'll see at feeders this winter. After the Bird Stroll, stay to learn about Project FeederWatch, a citizen science project coordinated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We'll also talk about the types of bird seed to use to attract different species of birds to your feeder.
Bird Stroll suggested donation $10/adults, $5/students, or free for members.
Project FeederWatch Training is free.
Weekend Wonders Family Program
Saturday, November 21st from 9:30 - 11am
These naturalist-led programs are designed for all ages of explorers. Every month features a different topic that will get you and your family outdoors, learning about the plants and animals in our big backyard.
Suggested donation $5/person or free for members
November Theme: Turkeys!
Turkeys are the perfect topic for November! Turkeys aren't native to Montana, but have thrived here and become part of the regular ecosystem. Come and learn fun facts and the anatomy of turkeys, participate in hands-on activities, and even make a turkey craft just in time for Thanksgiving. Strut on over and join us for Terrific Turkeys!
Saturday, November 21st from 11am - 3pm
Come down to explore and enjoy the great outdoors. Ask a naturalist your essential questions about animals and plants. Borrow field guides, insect nets, and binoculars. NEW THIS MONTH! We are starting our themed Open Houses for the winter season. The November theme will be tracking! Check out a self-guided bag with a map, binoculars, and tracking materials. Learn about tracks from our naturalist on site and go and find your own. Participation in the monthly theme is optional. No registration necessary.
Holiday Wreath Workshop
Saturday November 21st from 3-5pm
Bring the beauty of nature home with your own fresh evergreen wreath! We'll go for a hike and learn about local conifer trees as we collect fresh boughs. Then we'll warm up with a hot drink while we assemble our wreaths. All materials will be provided.
$30/person or $25/members
Learn more about our COVID protocols for programs here
Wow! Thank you!
Thanks so much to all those who share in our vision and our work - we truly couldn't do it without you and your support. Thank you to the following individuals, organizations, and corporations that made contributions to our programs, including through membership and our Evening Under the Big Sky fundraiser during the month of October.
|Rachel Van Wingen|
|Kasie Haack||Carol and Charles Ward|
|Dave Hanson||Don and Nancy Sasse|
|Pam Pipal||Mackin Construction Co.|
|Crystal Matthews||Judy Robertson|
|Anna and Caleb Rogers||Cindy Lou Meccage|
|Marian Lyman Kirst||Karen Stears|
|Norm Schoenthal||Amanda Obery|
|Dennis Lordemann||Anna Rogers|
|Karen Thompson||Jennifer Walker|
|Ellen Finch||Virginia Waples|
|Judy Robertson||Colleen Unruh|
|Lisa and Bryan Pepper||Sarah Chatwood|
|Cary B. Lund and Susan Witt||Tina Sammartano|
|Wild Birds Unlimited||Krista Cunningham|
|Beverly Ross||Theresa Butcher|
|Sondra Daly||Jeanie Voorhis|
|John and Debbie Miller||Mike Boileau|
|William S. Stearns and Precious McKenzie||Cynthia Staszak|
|Emily Gocke-Smith||Carolyn Jones|
|Ronald and Cheryl Farmer||Monica Hill|
|Gary and Norma Buchanan||Kathleen Thatcher|
|Buchanan Capital, Inc.||Amanda Wilcox|
|Stephen and Cynthia Merriam||Mark Dunford|
|Mowat Family Trust - George & Bernice Mowat||Wild Birds Unlimited|
|Lillian and James Hartung||The Base Camp|
|Daryl and Carol Beam||Heather Bilden|
|John Schaack||Heather Gaitonde|
|Curt and Mary Larsen||Mary Mullen|
|Michelle Long||Marian Lyman-Kirst|
|Curt Starr||Don Roberts|
|SteepWorld||Divide Bar and Grill|