MISSOULA – University of Montana students invite volunteers to help restore natural beauty at the confluence of Rock Creek and the Clark Fork River.
UM Restoration Ecology program students will host a volunteer day at the site from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23, in collaboration with the local nonprofit Five Valleys Land Trust.
Students and volunteers will pull weeds on a recently disturbed section of land as well as learn about native plant species and how the ecology students plan to improve the site. Community members of all ages are welcome.
“This is a great opportunity for members of the Missoula community to ‘pay it forward’ and contribute to the restoration of a place that is going to be available for public enjoyment in the future,” said UM student Dave Riley, one of the project organizers.
Over time, ranching and development work has degraded the confluence. The past few years UM students and FVLT have collaborated to improve the property. FVLT has worked with the Missoula College heavy equipment operation program to fill an artificial pond that was diverting water from Rock Creek, one of Montana’s Blue Ribbon fisheries.
Saturday’s volunteers should bring a water bottle and appropriate outdoor clothing, including work gloves and boots. Organizers encourage participants to meet at 9 a.m. at the FVLT office, located at 120 Hickory St., to caravan to the site. Volunteers also may go out to the confluence on their own, taking Interstate 90 east from Missoula and exiting at Rock Creek, Exit 126. The site is located on Rock Creek Road, which is a right turn after the exit, followed by a left turn into a parking area.
Coffee and snacks will be available for morning participants, and organizers will provide a free barbecue in the afternoon. A geocaching recreational GPS activity will follow.
Volunteers should RSVP to Riley by calling 406-261-7294 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.