Join us for our 5th annual celebration on Saturday April 20, 2013 from 9:30 AM – 12 PM.
Projects on the agenda this year include:
- planting willows around the ponds to create shelter and provide food
- potting young plants in the nursery
- naturalist-led trash pick-up hikes
- educational activities for all ages
- Free hats and bags for the first 30 people
- Door prize – a Helping Hand for Birds – for all volunteers
As usual, we’ll conclude with a free BBQ lunch for all our volunteers at noon. We’ll be serving locally-raised turkey brats and beef burgers from Good Earth Market.
Please bring water, work gloves, and a smile!
Event takes place rain or shine.
No need to register in advance.
This event is part of the Montana Children and Nature Initiative’s Montana Offline and Outside month-long program
History of our Annual Celebration
The Audubon Center began celebrating Earth Day in April of 2009 with a land restoration work party. Forty volunteers spent the morning weeding the nursery, planting shrubs and trees, and picking up trash on the grounds. The hard work was followed by a free BBQ lunch, birding hikes, and canoe rides on the ponds. Since our land restoration season kicks off in April, Earth Day became a great way to celebrate spring, get people outside, and start the season with a bang. From its modest beginnings with 40 dedicated volunteers, the annual celebration has blossomed and now draws over 150 people to the Center each spring.
In 2010 with special funding from the Environmental Protection Agency and TogetherGreen, we were able to install five floating islands in Deep Millennium pond, which suffers from nutrient-rich waters and algal overgrowth. The plants on the islands are designed to draw up extra nutrients and other pollutants into their roots to help clean the water. Staff from Headwaters Floating Islands, LLC, and the Montana Conservation Corps Youth Crew Leaders helped our volunteers to plant rush and sedge plugs into special holes on the recycled plastic islands. Volunteers then watched as the islands were “launched” into the middle of the pond. In addition, we hiked all the trails on our 54 acres, as well as the entirety of Norm’s Island, and much of Riverfront Park in search of trash. Hikers picked up two truckloads of waste, including everything from truck tires to candy wrappers. Again, volunteers were rewarded with a BBQ lunch, cooked up by Doug Lovely on his giant charcoal grill. Locally-raised brats and burgers from Good Earth Market were enjoyed by all. Click here to read the article about this event in the Billings’ Gazette.
The success of 2010 was followed by an equally large event in 2011, which drew reporters from two local TV stations. In addition to the usual round of planting, weeding, and trash collection, we focused on wrapping young aspen and cottonwood trees near our three ponds. A beaver had taken up residence and was rather quickly decimating the trees that had been carefully planted and tended for the past 11 years. In an effort to encourage the beaver to move elsewhere, we spent much of the morning wrapping trees in two layers of wire, and fastened them to the ground with stakes. We also prepared the grounds to the east of the building for installation of a grassy amphitheater later in the summer. Educational activities and face-painting for children were provided by our staff and Cloud Peak Energy throughout the morning. Doug Lovely and crew came with their grill for a second year, and everyone enjoyed hot brats and burgers in the sunshine.
Earth Day Sponsors and Partners, 2009 – 2011
Bridger Plant Materials Center
Buchanan Capital, LLC
Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Education grant program
Global Youth Service Day
Good Earth Market
Great Bear Restoration
Headwaters Floating Islands, LLC
Kohl’s of Billings
Montana Conservation Corps
Stella’s Kitchen and Bakery
TogetherGreen, an alliance between Toyota and National Audubon Society
Wild Birds Unlimited
Yellowstone River Parks Association
Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society
Please contact us if you are interested in sponsoring this event.