Community briefs for Dec. 26

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Lakes conference

Early registration for the inaugural Montana Lakes Conference closes on Jan. 9, 2019.

The conference is set for March 13-15 in Whitefish and is a forum for natural resource professionals to exchange information, scientific advancements and management strategies that promote clean and healthy lake and reservoir systems. Featured speakers/presenters include representatives of the Flathead Lake Biological Station, the USGS Rocky Mountain Science Center, the Lake Tahoe Environmental Research Center and Glacier National Park.

For the complete conference agenda visit and click on Montana Lakes Conference or contact Lori Curtis at (406) 862-4327 for more information.


Winter is a great time to improve the outdoor skills of identifying wild animals and their behavior by understanding the oldest writing known of the earth, animal tracking! Join experienced tracker and wildlife researcher Brian Baxter as we search for clues and evidence in the nooks and crannies of one of the Flathead Valley’s most beautiful and rich riparian areas. Baxter has over 40 years working professionally in wildlife, forestry, and outdoor education, and has recently had an article published in the Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2019 edition entitled, “Wily Weasels of the Northwest.”

This outdoor education class is sponsored by Silver Cloud Associates, Flathead Audubon, and Montana Audubon, and is being offered on Saturday, Jan. 12th, 2019 from 9 a.m. to approximately 2:30 p.m. Please come prepared for the day with proper layers of winter clothing, good winter boots, snowshoes if you have them, water, lunch, binoculars and camera’s. The hiking is moderate, with relatively decent terrain, a few steep cut banks, and about two and a half miles round trip. Ski poles or hiking poles are handy to negotiate the riverbanks.

To sign up for this free class contact Brian at email: or call him at: 406-291-2154. Space is limited so please register to find out more info on location to meet, and please plan to attend if you sign up.

Bird count

The 20th annual Flathead Audubon Kalispell bird count is Sunday, Dec. 30. Centered at Reserve and Highway 93, the 15-mile diameter count circle includes Evergreen, much of the Flathead River corridor including the Owen Sowerwine Natural Area, Happy Valley, Herron Park, and the Kuhn’s Wildlife Area. This count is “young” enough that we still have much to discover and “urban” enough to include the homes, bird feeders, and favorite birding spots. The traditional start is a group breakfast at 7 a.m. at 4B’s Restaurant at 660 East Idaho St in Kalispell where the group will finish assigning circle segments and field teams for the day’s efforts. To participate, contact Pete Fisher at or 406- 250-9624. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, go to

Nordic ski

Glacier Nordic Club begins its learn-to-ski programs for both youth and adults in January. Chet Hope Youth Ski League is now taking registrations for its 43nd season. Started in 1976, the league is for youth, ages 4 to 12, who want to learn to cross country ski or improve their technique. Skiers meet for seven Wednesdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. starting Jan. 9 and/or seven Saturdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. starting Jan. 6 at the Nordic Center at the Whitefish Lake Golf Course. The cost for either Wednesday or Saturday is $50. Rentals are available through both Glacier Nordic Shop and Glacier Cyclery and Nordic for the season. Need-based scholarships are available for both tuition and rentals. The program relies on volunteer coaches and GNC will train volunteers.

The Club has continued to expand its adult programs this year. There are programs for very first-timers who want to learn to classic or skate ski as well as the experienced skier looking to learn new or improve existing skills. For more information on both adult programs and CHYSL visit or call Glacier Nordic Shop at 406-862-9498.


The Columbia Falls Community Choir will begin gearing up of its 43rd year of singing. Under the direction of Steven Holte, this choir will meet every Sunday at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Columbia Falls beginning on Jan. 6. Rehearsals begin at 2 p.m. and last until 4 p.m. Anyone with a desire to sing is invited to attend. The choir sings a variety of choral literature from pop to classic style music. The concert season main concerts will be on March 23 and 24 at the Columbia Falls High School Auditorium and a combined concert with the Flathead Valley Community Band in May. For more information, visit the Columbia Falls Community Choir page on Facebook, email or call 730-2396.


Every year, students from across the country enter Letters About Literature, engaging more as readers, and creating a conversation about ideas, feelings, and perspectives. With just over 30 days left to enter, Montana students are encouraged to submit letters about life-changing books for cash prizes. Lesson guides for teachers who wish to have their students participate are available through the Montana Center for the Book.

Online submissions will be accepted until Jan. 11, 2019 at State winners receive $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place in three grade levels. First place winners advance to the national competition for a chance to win $2,000 and national recognition.

Letters About Literature is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Montana Center for the Book, a program of Humanities Montana.

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Whitefish, MT 59937

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