I am a sophomore at Whitefish High School and have been involved with Project FREEFLOW (Flathead River Educational Effort for Focused Learning in Our Watershed) since the fall of my freshman year. This club has provided me with knowledge and adventures I will treasure for a lifetime.
As many opportunities as I have while living in the Flathead, some of the best experiences in my life have occurred through FREEFLOW, including learning about ecology and surfing on the Oregon Coast, snorkeling the North Fork of the Flathead River to gather data for the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service, and being part of an inclusive group of students and advisors who all share a passion for wanting to help protect our local watersheds and ensure a better planet for future generations.
None of these opportunities would be possible without our advisors Eric Sawtelle, Nikki Reed, and Kyle Fedderly or without our extremely generous donors who helped make both FREEFLOW and the Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship at Whitefish High School possible. Two of our generous donors who have helped FREEFLOW for over a decade are Richard and Carol Atkinson. Several years ago, Mr. Atkinson started “Old Man Walking” to raise money for the Performing Arts Center connected to Whitefish Middle School and for the CSE.
Mr. Atkinson is currently walking four days a week in his “Oldest Man Walking” campaign to raise funds for our CSE again, this time with a focus on developing our wetlands and food forest projects and helping FREEFLOW purchase a newer bus. Without the Atkinsons, and your support, we won’t have these life-changing opportunities. We appreciate any contributions you can provide.
Donations to the Oldest Man Walking fundraiser can be made through the Whitefish Community Foundation. For more information, contact the foundation at 406-863-1781 or visit www.whitefishcommunityfoundation.org.
Emma Barron is a student at Whitefish High School and a member of FREEFLOW.