Native Science Fellow Tiffany Hill: My experience attending the Watershed Symposium

Blackfeet Community College Native Science Fellow Tiffany Hill attended the Montana Watershed Coordination Council Watershed Symposium in Whitefish, Montana on October 10-12. She co-presented with Big Sky Watershed Corps member Jacob LeVitus, where she shared her experience working on the Ksik Stakii Project. Tiffany is currently studying health science at Blackfeet Community College. After this semester, she is transferring to nursing school at MSU-Northern where she plans to graduate in 2021. After the symposium, Jacob sat down with her to hear more about her experience attending the event.

Tiffany (right) builds a mini-mimic dam as part of the Ksik Stakii Project Field Program (photo by Libby Khumalo)
What is one thing you learned at the Symposium?

I learned a lot about waterat the Montana Watershed Coordination Council Watershed Symposium. Before the Symposium, I knew very little about water conservation, where we get our water from, what’s in our water, and why water is so important to our everyday lives.  Read More

Beaver Mimicry Field Program Recap

Water storage is becoming increasingly vital as western summers continue to become hotter, longer and drier in the midst of climate change. During the Ksik Stakii Project field program, students worked together to address the need for natural water storage while simultaneously learning new skills and strengthening relationships.

“I feel way more knowledgeable about Ksik Stakii and will share that knowledge whenever I can.”

-Blackfeet Community College Native Science Fellow
Native Science Fellows weave willows between lodgepole posts as part of the BDA construction process.

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Workshop Recap: Coexisting with Beavers

Beavers are regularly referred to as ecosystem engineers. Their contributions to the natural world include the creation of wetland habitat for fish and wildlife and the storage of ground and surface water. The beaver population in Blackfeet country is no different. They work hard to engineer dams using trees, willows, or whatever local supplies they can get their teeth on.

While beavers work hard to maintain the reservation’s rich biodiversity and help mitigate drought, their activity can create challenges. Unwanted beaver behavior can include the damming of culverts, the flooding of houses, and the removal of prized trees in public areas such as parks. Luckily, for people and for beavers, there are nonlethal management strategies that can mitigate these challenges. Read More

Working Together on Willow Creek

On May 8th and 9th, the Ksik Stakii Project hosted its first official site visit. For two days, project team members, students, and community members came together to plan, discuss, and begin the implementation of the project that is designed to build resilience to climate change while connecting traditional ecological knowledge and western science.

Our site visit began in the field, where we looked at potential beaver mimicry sites along Willow Creek. Amy Chadwick, wetland ecologist with Great West Engineering, and Jordan Kennedy, graduate student at Harvard, contributed their specialized input at each of the sites. Kennedy pointed out the scars of old beaver dams, beaver-made canals, and lodges. Chadwick analyzed the effectiveness of beaver mimicry be at each site. Blackfeet Community College Native Science Fellows participated by asking engaging questions throughout the tour.

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Amy Chadwick teaches a group of students, project managers, and Montana Conservation Corps crew leaders about a beaver mimicry site on Willow Creek (Photo by Jacob LeVitus)

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Earth Day 2018

The Blackfeet Environmental Office hosted an Earth Day Festival at Blackfeet Community College on April 20th. Throughout the day, volunteers gave away free trees, shrubs, and gardening plants to community members. Volunteers also helped by grilling and serving a delicious outdoor lunch on the beautiful 54-degree sunny day. Kids got their faces painted, and door prizes were given away throughout the festival.

Meanwhile, organizations like FAST (Food Access and Sustainability) Blackfeet, Blackfeet Fish & Wildlife, and the Blackfeet Agricultural Resource Management Plan (ARMP) focused on improving the health of our planet and the Blackfeet Nation set up booths inside the BCC commons and shared information with more than 400 students and 300 adults who participated.

Big Sky Watershed Corps Member Jacob LeVitus and the Ksik Stakii Project Booth

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Unbelievable Beaver Series Part 3: Unbelievable Beaver Facts

Skydiving beavers, dams seen from space, and beavers the size of bears!

In addition to playing an integral part in Blackfeet Culture and the fur trade and being ecosystem engineers, beavers are truly a remarkable species. In honor of International Beaver Day (April 7), we’ll explore four fascinating facts about beavers I’ll bet you didn’t know! Read More

Unbelievable Beaver Series Part 2: Ecosystem Engineers

Over the years, beavers have gained a reputation as “ecosystem engineers.” For millions of years, they have stayed busy building dams and lodges. After being severely threatened by the fur trade and seen as a nuisance species, conservation efforts changed the way people think about beavers and revitalized beaver populations. In part two of the Unbelievable Beaver Series, I will talk about the hard work beavers do to protect water and the hard work humans do to protect beavers.

A beaver dam in Grand Teton National Park- courtesy of PixaBay

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Unbelievable Beaver Series Part 1: The Fur Trade and Beavers in Blackfeet Culture

Beavers have been a critically important species throughout history. Their presence has unquestionably transformed global economics, culture, and ecosystems alike. A world without beavers would look totally unrecognizable. In part one of the three-part Unbelievable Beaver Series, I will talk about the fur trade and the significance of beavers in Blackfeet culture.

A beaver swims in a pond- photo courtesy of Jacob LeVitus

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Meet our Big Sky Watershed Corps Member, Jacob LeVitus

I can’t think of a better way to be introduced to the frozen Montana winter than moving up from my home state of Texas during the crisp month of January. At the start of 2018 I swapped out my shorts and sandals for snow pants and insulated boots and I couldn’t be more excited. Read More

Welcome to the Beaver Blog!

Thank you for visiting the Blackfeet Country and Climate Change blog. The blog’s purpose is to provide updates on The Beaver Project, which will be taking place during 2018 and 2019. Throughout the project, we will be featuring posts by partners who are collaborating on The Beaver Project. Read More