In order to achieve our vision of clean water for all generations, we believe it is vital to empower our youth to think critically. Our youth education efforts—including classroom visits, field trips, and community event—encourage a sense of wonder and a sense of place in our own backyard. Learn about how the Bitter Root Water Forum developed our youth education programs from our report on youth natural resource education in the Bitterroot Valley.
Looking downstream to our future, we rely on collaboration to inspire stewards of nature protection. What does that look like at the Water Forum?
Earth Stewardship Program
This series of lessons and field trips are the result of local organizations working together to share local knowledge with students. Over 300 students in Ravalli County 7th grade classes gain valuable science skills through hands-on lessons and experiential field trips. Whether it’s making 3-dimensional Bitterroot Watershed models, playing the “Water Quality Jeopardy” Game, or taking water samples from local streams, students learn about chemical, biological, and physical aspects of water quality. Students also take part in hands-on activities from partner groups like Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Bitter Root Land Trust, Bitterroot Audubon Society, Bitterroot Ecological Awareness Resource and Montana Conservation Corps. The Earth Stewardship Program is the definition of collaboration in watershed education.
"I will tell my friends and family that the Bitter Root Water Forum is a great organization and an awesome learning opportunity!" Krista S. 7th Grader
"I might want to look into working or volunteering for a watershed group." Mikayla D., 7th Grader
Future Irrigators of the Bitterroot Program
Students enrolled in Future Farmers of America are known for their dedication to ranching and farming. During the annual “Future Irrigators of the Bitterroot” Program, we skip the text books and head out on the field to engage in place-based education from community members and professionals. Students learn best management practices conservation techniques they can take home to their families while making connections that inspire future careers. Topics have included dam management, fisheries protection, soil type and water holding capacity, conservation easements, noxious weeds, and more!
Irrigation in the Bitterroot Tour
Our newest education program, the Irrigation in the Bitterroot Tour, came about in response to the success of our Future Irrigators of the Bitterroot Program. This tour is geared toward Real Estate Agents and members of the general public and explores the details of water rights and irrigation infrastructure through an introductory classroom lesson and a field tour through the Bitterroot Valley.
This tour began in 2015, and enlists the help of Montana DNRC, Bitter Root Irrigation District, the Bitterroot River Water Commissioner, Daly Ditches Irrigation Company, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, Bitterroot College, and the Bitterroot Valley Board of Realtors.