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Montana Range Days teaches young people about the land


Lindsay Brown

Kailee Bickford of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service leads a group of the super starters — 9- to 11-year-olds — in plant identification Tuesday afternoon at Montana Range Days at the Shooting Sports Recreation Area.

Young people from all over Montana and parts of Wyoming gathered for the 37th annual Montana Range Days which is being held through today at the Shooting Sports Recreation Area rifle range on Badlands Road north of Havre.

The three-day program, hosted by Hill County Conservation District and Natural Resources Conservation Service, included events and workshops on conservation topics for all ages, starting with the “Buckaroos” from ages 4 to 6, and ending with the rancher or open adult category at 20 and up, which had no upper age restriction.

Monday, participants explored the site and became familiar with the area in preparation for Tuesday’s events, which included guided tours throughout the site, range plant identification, soil utilization and grazing capability of the land.

Today was a test of people’s knowledge on the lessons of previous days.

Testing was done in a competition-like format, which included identifying and answering questions about range plants and presenting information on range-related topics.

Warren Krone, FFA member, said the program is important because “to better understand the land is to better use it.”

Several groups volunteered to help lead and teach the various workshops and programs, including members of U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the federal National Resource Conservation Service, Montana State University Extension and FFA, formerly known as Future Farmers of America.

“They’re not just kids from Montana,” said Shanna Olson, FFA member, “there are kids from Wyoming too.”

Havre will host Montana Range Days again next year because the program, which is held in locations rotating around the state, is set up in a location for two consecutive years.


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