Speakers listed for the Missouri Breaks Monument celebration


Last updated 8/23/2021 at 9:41am

BLM photo by Gina Baltrusch

The Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center stands in Fort Benton. The Bureau of Land Management is hosting a 20-year anniversary event for the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument with games, activities and free admission to the Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a schedule of speakers at the event has been released.

The 20th Anniversary celebration for the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument will take place on Saturday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center, with a list of special speakers.

As part of the celebration, no admission fee will be charged to tour the Interpretive Center on this day. People can bring the whole family out to tour the new interpretive exhibits, attend special programs featuring guest speakers, visit booths highlighting the natural and cultural history of the Monument, and join in on the fun through interactive games and activities. Presentations and interactive booths will be located both indoors and outdoors.

The schedule includes the following guest speaker presentations:

10 a.m. - The Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Ranger Don McKenzie will enlighten and inspire as he takes us on a journey through the challenges and adventures of the Lewis and Clark expedition within the Monument.

11 a.m. - Native Plant Uses

Join local Fort Benton resident Rin McKenzie to learn about the medical practices of the Lewis and Clark expedition - what befell the members of the Corps and how they survived the trip. Only one man died, and the rest lived to tell the tale.

Noon - Paleontology along the Upper Missouri River.

A member of the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum team, presenter Cary Woodruff grew up in rural central Virginia, and received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in earth sciences with an emphasis in paleontology at Montana State University under famed dinosaur paleontologist Jack Horner. Woodruff is pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto.

Woodruff named a new sauropod dinosaur from Montana - Rugocaudia cooneyi - and his work on deciphering sauropod growth is pioneering the way we understand the life histories of these animals. People can join Woodruff for an overview of his work and a history of paleontolgy in the Upper Missouri basin.

1 p.m. - Essential Understandings of Montana Indians.

Mike Jetty is an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Dakota National and a Turtle Mountain Chippewa descendant, and is an Indian education specialist with the Montana Office of Public Instruction. Mike has been working with Indian education issues for the past 28 years. His program will provide an overview of the essential understandings regarding Montana Indians, with key concepts regarding contemporary and historic American Indian issues.

2 p.m. - The Life of Emil DonTigny.

Emil DonTigny, 1901-69, was a central, though relatively unknown, figure in the establishment of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. This river-enthusiast and pioneering conservationist was instrumental in building support for the area now contained in the Monument boundaries. This presentation offers a wonderful opportunity to make public the important conservation legacy of Emil DonTigny.

Presenter Ciara Ryan is the special projects coordinator at the Montana History Foundation. She is a Fulbright scholar and recently completed her PhD on Irish cultural traditions in Butte.

3 p.m. - Oil Painting Workshop with Carol Hartman.

2021 UMRBNM Artist in Residence Carol Hartman will be giving a workshop on oil painting to share what she learned while completing her residency with the Monument in early August. This will be an interactive, hands-on program, where participants will learn oil painting skills from Carol to create their own work of art. All ages welcome.

For more information, people can call the Interpretive Center at (406) 622-4000.


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