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GLOBE in Montana

In an exciting new project, GLOBE schools in Montana are partnering with the regional offices of the U.S. Forest Service in an effort to increase understanding of the role and risks of fire in ecosystems. This fall, students will field test a special measurement protocol that will help scientists and land managers predict fire behavior.

Through the partnership with the Forest Service, GLOBE students will assist the Fire Lab in Missoula in estimating fuel loadings in different ecosystems. "These days, the highest costs of making fuel maps for fighting wildfires is in collecting the field data essential for creating accurate maps," explains Bob Keane of the Forest Service. "Most natural resource agencies do not have the time, money, or resources to sample fuels. The GLOBE project provides the perfect solution with students, committed to learning about fuel and fire management and ecology, collecting the valuable data."

In preparation for a busy year of GLOBE activities in Montana, twenty teachers participated in a training workshop this summer organized by GLOBE Teacher and Forest Service employee Jim Lane. Mr. Lane has been working with GLOBE students at the Charles B. Murray Elementary School in Sheridan for over five years! In planning the summer workshop, Mr. Lane received support from the Madison Ranger District offices in Ennis and Sheridan, including a staff archaeologist, range conservationists, fire suppression specialists, and other Madison District personnel.

Students in the local Job Corps Center Culinary Arts Program also pitched-in by providing first class meals to the GLOBE workshop participants. "The salmon and steak dinners, along with strawberry shortcake desserts are just a taste of what the talented culinary art students provided," Mr. Lane reported.

While teachers and students in Montana are learning more about the responsibilities of those working in the Forest Service, a project is also being developed in which land managers and other Forest Service personnel will be trained in how to work in school classrooms!

21 September 1999