Lone Pine State Park Expands Season for Educational Programs

By Beacon Staff

Lone Pine State Park Ranger Mary Beth Chappelow has been busy hosting students in spring and fall outdoor programs at Lone Pine State Park south of Kalispell. And now, because of the popularity of these outdoor field trips, the programs will be available year-around.

This past spring and fall, 1,124 local students took part in the field trips at Lone Pine. The programs are offered free of charge to students across northwest Montana. Students hailed from schools in Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Bigfork, Polson, Creston, and others. These students learned about insects, natural history, mammals, and forest management. Ages range from pre-K through 12th grade, but the majority of students are 2nd and 3rd-graders.

Chappelow says that the three most popular programs are forest ecology, water conservation, and wildlife habitat. The programs feature hands on activities that get the kids involved in the outdoors. One activity that is popular with teachers shows how water usage has changed over time. This involves a container of water that represents the water in Flathead Valley; students use sponges to illustrate water use and how it’s changed over the years. The activity develops math, natural resources, and history knowledge in the students. In another program featuring forest health and management, students are involved in an interactive game that teaches them about tree ecology and growth.

In another expansion of the education program, Lone Pine will offer spring-break and summer outdoor day camps beginning in 2010. These day camps will feature outdoor games and conservation activities, and will involve a fee.

Teachers and parents who are interested in lining up programs for their students can contact Mary Beth at: 755-2706, extension 2.

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