UM Students to Host Volunteer Day at Rock Creek Confluence

March 28, 2017

MISSOULA — University of Montana students invite volunteers to help restore vegetation at the confluence of Rock Creek and the Clark Fork River. Students, in conjunction with the local nonprofit Five Valleys Land Trust, will host a volunteer day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 2. Community members of all ages are welcome to participate.

Volunteers will help pull weeds and plant shrubs on Five Valleys Land Trust’s Rock Creek Confluence Property, a 270-acre space being restored after previously being slated for subdivision and development. Volunteers will learn about native Rocky Mountain plant species, as well as the ecology of the site, how Five Valleys plans to restore it and how students in UM’s Ecosystem Science and Restoration Program will assist with the re-vegetation effort.

Restoration volunteers work at the Rock Creek Confluence Property in 2016. (W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation photo)“Working with the community allows us to spread knowledge and appreciation for nature and restoration, as well as gain exposure to new personalities, viewpoints and opinions,” said UM student Michael Fazekas, one of the project organizers.

Five Valleys Land Trust has collaborated with students for the past four years to restore the Rock Creek Confluence Property, which had been degraded by past development. Students in the Heavy Equipment Operation Program at Missoula College have restored an artificial pond site, allowing previously diverted water to remain in Rock Creek, a treasured blue ribbon trout fishery.

Volunteers should wear long pants and closed-toed, preferably waterproof shoes and should bring work gloves, a water bottle, warm clothes and a rain coat. Water and snacks will be provided throughout the day, and organizers will prepare a free lunch in the afternoon.

To get to the site, drive east on Interstate Highway 90 from Missoula for 22 miles to Exit 126. Turn right onto Rock Creek Road. and follow signs to the site.

Volunteers should RSVP to Amber Auld by Wednesday, March 29, by calling 605-639-9389 or emailing amber.auld@umontana.edu.

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Contact: Amber Auld, UM Ecological Restoration Capstone student, 605-639-9389, amber.auld@umontana.edu; Ben Colman, UM ESR Capstone professor, 406-243-6315, ben.colman@umontana.edu.