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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Oxbow & MPG Ranch, Hamilton, Montana, USA

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Oxbow & MPG Ranch, Hamilton, Montana, USA
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merwappett



Registered: December 2018
City/Town/Province: Logan
Posts: 1
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Every summer since I was a baby I have spent the majority of my time outside, enjoying the beautiful earth. From multi-week raft trips, climbing mountains, swimming, and hammocking, I fostered a passion and love for the outdoors from a young age. During these times outside, my parents would take the opportunity to educate us on the history of the land and our effect on it. From stories from native tribes, to what a carbon footprint was, I learned more from these excursions than most of my daily classes about our planet and what I could do to protect it. I began to pick up every bit of trash on the playground at school, helped in my schools garden over the summer, and participated in numerous public land cleanups. I never saw these acts as a chore, rather my personal duty to say "thank you" to the planet that sustains every aspect of my life. I choose to do an Apprentice Ecologist Project on behalf of the Nicodemus Wilderness Project because of because of my passion for the planet and its treatment.
This summer I had the opportunity to intern in the Bitterroot Mountains in Montana with scientists from across the country. There I was able to study invasive plants in the most beautiful mountain range with some of the brightest and kindest people I have ever met. In addition to our research, we spent half of our days doing service around the area. For about a week, I was able to head up a project to collect old barbed wire from around the land. Cleaning up old barbed wire is an essential project for many creatures in an ecosystem. Barbed wire fragments habitats and often traps animals, leaving them there to die. By cleaning up the wire, we would help connect ecosystems and prevent unnecessary deaths.
The project took place at the MPG and Oxbow ranch in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana. We would consult the ranch managers about where old barbed wire was, then take a group of interns out to the area. The interns were dressed in heavy duty pants, long-sleeved shirts, gloves, and eye protection to ensure there were no injuries on the job. We would find the wire, cut it, and roll it. We would stash the rolls on the trail and would collect them on the way back to our vehicle. Then, we would safely load up the wire and take it to a recycling facility that would adequately take care of it.
It was essential to conduct this project at these specific locations due to their animal traffic. Oxbow ranch is a sustainable cattle ranch, where cattle are run and used as a management tool against invasive species. By cleaning up the barbed wire there, we were able to help the ranchers avoid cattle injuries, as well as open up new pastures and areas to graze. At MPG ranch, the barbed wire cleanup aided in connecting ecosystems and preventing future animal injuries and unnecessary deaths. Our cleanup helped animals have greater access to the area.
My Apprentice Ecologist Project has helped enrich my life by providing an outlet for me to do good and express my thanks to our wonderful planet. I was able to help creatures, from livestock to deer, avoid early death from old barbed wire. Working at the ranches exposed me to many wonderful people who are passionate about what they do. I was lucky enough to see the greater effect of the work I did through the numerous personnel on the ranch. This project has inspired me to pursue a degree in biology, learning more about our planet and our effect on it. It has opened up so many doors in my future and truly changed my life, pushing me in a direction I would have never imagined without this experience.
Date: December 31, 2018 Views: 299 File size: 15.4kb, 4074.0kb : 4000 x 3000
Hours Volunteered: 8 volunteers each work 8 hours=64 total hours
Volunteers: 8
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 & 14-30
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): about 7
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