Chain saws will rev as the 96th Foresters’ Ball holds its first materials collection day and University of Montana students gather about 400 support poles during the Pole Run at Lubrecht Experimental Forest on Saturday, Oct. 13.
The Foresters’ Ball, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 22-23, is entirely student-run and has been a significant part of the University, Missoula and Montana culture since 1915. Students collaborate with UM, Missoula entities and the natural resources community to put on the event.
The poles collected Saturday will be used to build the 1800s logging town that is the hallmark of the music- and dance-filled scholarship fundraiser.
“By working with Lubrecht we were able to find a spot that has the ideal-sized lodgepole pine needed for construction,” Construction Officer Evan Neal said. “And we’re giving valuable on-the-job experience to College of Forestry and Conservation students.”
Older students teach new participants about safe chain saw-operating procedures while gaining leadership experience.
“If it weren’t for the Foresters’ Ball, I’d know next to nothing about working in the woods. It’s where I learned to saw, learned some tree ID, and about keeping my head up and looking at what’s going on around me,” said Dylan Brooks, a third-year participant and member of the seven-member Foresters’ Ball Committee. “Now, I’m one of the guys teaching new people, which is pretty cool because moving up in my career as a wildland firefighter, leadership is everything.”
Work on the 96th Foresters’ Ball started last spring when the Ball began operating under a new strategic plan. The plan reaffirms the Foresters’ Ball core values of leadership, scholarship generation, hard work, networking and the celebration of the history and traditions of natural resource management. A few changes have been made to the traditional two-night dance schedule, as well.
This year the Foresters’ Ball will expand to host a Careers in National Resources Day and Community Forestry Day in partnership with the Forestry Scholarship Association. The new events broaden the scope of the Ball to more directly include Missoula and the surrounding community. The Careers in Natural Resources Day will be geared toward high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing an education or career in natural resources, while the Community Forestry Day will be a family-oriented event with informative presentations, demonstrations, and fun, hands-on activities.
The dance hours are 7-11 p.m. with entry between 7 and 9 p.m. Increased screening of attendees by security will enforce sobriety as a condition of entry. The “Passion Pit” will be replaced with an exhibit focused on the 96th Foresters’ Ball theme “Lightning Striking, Crews A’ Hiking,” exploring initial-attack wildland firefighting and giving attendees a more well-rounded and accurate understanding of the deep roots of the Foresters’ Ball.
Students or community members interested in the learning experiences, receiving a scholarship or participating in the Pole Run or other events can call Brooks at 785-550-2642 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is online at http://www.forestersball.com.