By Robert Lucke
Anyone thinking that most teenagers are not up to much good has not heard about Jason Bowker and his SCOPE group.
SCOPE, which stands for Students Care of Parks Etc. was started by Bowker, a Havre High junior, early this year.
I had this idea since the beginning of the year, Bowker said. I just wanted to start a project that would help clean up recreation sites. I wanted Havre to see that high school youth are not all bad and I wanted to help high school youth with community involvement so that when they are adults they can sort of do the same.
The first project that SCOPE took on was cleaning around Bear Paw Lake this spring. Since that time, the group has cleaned below the spillway at Fresno and around the fishing access sites at HC Kuhr, Lions, Faber, and Grasshopper reservoirs.
All those cleanups are done in conjunction with the Havre office of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Kent Gilge, Havre FWP fish biologist, heads the group in areas where cleanups are needed. Normally, anywhere from three to 10 high school students do the cleaning.
Montana liability precludes the students driving to cleanup sites themselves, so parents take the group where it wants to go.
Kremlin is the next project for SCOPE.
I dont know when, but we are planning on cleaning up around Baily Reservoir south of Kremlin, said Bowker.
SCOPE has no formal meetings. When there is a project, Gilge calls Bowker and Bowker calls his members and off they go.
Gilge thinks the group is just what he needs.
It is kids showing responsibility, Gilge said. And we just dont have the man power to do the cleaning ourselves. We pay for their gas and maybe well have a pizza party at the end of the summer.
Meanwhile Bowker thinks the project is going great guns.
It is going good. People seem to like it, Bowker added. It is a lot of fun to go out and spend time with your friends and to help the community out at the same time.
At the same time, Bowker would like SCOPE to expand.
Our goals are to expand the number of people in the group and the number of places we clean up, Bowker said. Eventually I would like to expand to other communities if I can get it going in other towns.
Meanwhile, Bowker has college plans that are not too far afield from outdoors, water and campgrounds.
I am thinking of being a fisheries biologist or wildlife biologist, one of the two, somewhere in biology, Bowker said with a smile. Somewhere outdoors is where I would like to be.