Natural Areas Program and Interagency Environmental Education in Billings, Montana

        Natural Areas Program and Interagency Environmental Education in Billings, Montana

          Article summary

          Billings, MT was established in 1882 concurrent with the newly arrived railroad, which displaced the Yellowstone River as the area’s economic engine. For a century, Billings was dominated by ranching, agriculture, mining and refining. As the only major city in 125,000 square-miles, it is now a hub of commerce, education, and medical services. It has recently become a center for natural resource agencies and NGOs. Demand for quality of life amenities and local expertise to provide them has contributed to the rediscovery of the river as an ecological and recreational gem. This interest has led to the development of a Natural Areas management program in city wildland areas.

          With the unusually high concentration of ecologists, educators, NGOs, and agencies in Billings, Riverfront Park is poised to become a showcase for this forest ecosystem and its disturbance regime. This case study describes the creation of the Natural Areas Program in Billings.

          In a nutshell, this resource offers:

          • A description of how multiple stakeholders came together to manage and restore a riparian forest for educational purposes.
          • An example of designing a park for multiple uses.

          How to use this resource:

          • As an example of how to structure an educational program that meets the needs of students at different levels.

          Author: Heather Bilden, Steven McConnell, Megan Poulette

          Date published: 2020

          Point of contact: Heather Bilden, Adult Programs Coordinator, Montana Audubon Center, 

          Citation: Bilden, H.; McConnell, S.; and Poulette, M. 2020. A River Runs By It: How Embracing a River Created Synergy for a Natural Areas Program and Interagency Environmental Education in Billings, Montana. Cities and the Environment (CATE): Vol. 13: Iss. 1, Article 25.

          Resource is available online here.


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