Education and Outreach
The staff of WLI believes it is important to reach citizens of all ages in Whitefish and its surrounding communities about water ecology. Efforts in this area include providing educational programs for grades K-12, college internships, educator in-service training, presentations to civic groups, and Road Scholar programs for seniors, reaching citizens of all ages.
The staff makes annual presentations to Whitefish 2nd graders for their pond life curriculum. Students have an opportunity to identify aquatic insects, view live zooplankton, and see some of the amphibians that make ponds their home. The 4th grade classes participate in annual fish dissections, led by a WLI scientist. 6th grade classes in Somers participate in hands-on aquatic invertebrate identification using "keys" that aid in the identification of biological communities. Whitefish and Kalispell high schools are introduced to general watershed dynamics, lake ecology, and the effects of introduced species on aquatic environments. WLI partners with Whitefish FREEFLOW and the advanced chemistry class for field trips and presentations. WLI also participates in the high school job shadowing program.
TEACHER IN-SERVICE TRAINING
Whitefish School District teachers have an option for in-service training, where they learn about Whitefish Lake ecology and are familiarized with water quality data collection techniques aboard WLI's research vessel.
Internships are available to college students upon recommendation. Student interns have a chance to become field assistants in the the scientific process; including data collection, database development, and data interpretation. They learn about stream and lake ecosystems, current watershed issues, and the operations of a nonprofit corporation.
Meet our previous interns
ROAD SCHOLAR (SENIOR EDUCATION)
WLI conducts weekly lake ecology programs throughout the summer reaching hundreds of seniors through Road Scholar lifelong learning. The programs bring about 700 people to Whitefish and Glacier National Park, increasing revenue for lodging facilities, restaurants, and downtown businesses and employs 20 seasonal staff over the 20 weeks it runs. Road Scholar conducts 8,000 programs in all 50 states and over 90 countries.
CIVIC GROUP PRESENTATIONS
Upon request, WLI speaks to various civic groups ranging from the Rotary Club to private homeowners associations on regional issues related to lake ecology and the research underway at WLI.
THE LIVING WATERSHED LEARNING CENTER
WLI's ultimate educational goal is to develop and build the Living Watershed Learning Center— a world class environmental learning center located on our Whitefish property abutting the wetlands. Built for present and future generations, The Living Watershed Learning Center will feature large aquariums, imaginative exhibits, and engaging interactive displays designed to entertain while educating visitors. The facility will also provide meeting and classroom space, it will host presentations, seminars and other outreach programs to promulgate environmental awareness and encourage watershed stewardship. The combination of the Averill's Viking Creek Wetland Preserve Interpretive Trail and the Living Watershed Learning Center will offer a premier indoor/outdoor educational facility unlike any in the state of Montana and differentiated from the many other learning centers across the US. WLI is currently in the due diligence phase of addressing the feasibility of this project.
CHRIS RUFFATO EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION AWARD
WLI is proud to sponsor the Chris Ruffatto Excellence in Education Award—an avenue for recognizing and honoring educators (traditional and non-traditional) who dedicate their lives to engaging the next generation of environmental stewards.
|Nomination Form||Past Winners|