The Adopt-a-Species Program exists to increase student understanding of the need for stewardship and to give each student a sense of ownership of Montana wildlife and habitat. The Foundation for Animals, the Helena National Forest, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks jointly developed the program. The Montana Discovery Foundation is the newest partner to the program. The objective is to increase students’ understanding of ecosystems and appreciation of the natural world through comprehensive study of Montana wildlife species.
This program is currently part of the curriculum in 19 Helena area schools. The program provides a trunk for each species with resources (programs, materials, activities) to help students learn about the species their school "adopts" and its habitat needs. Within this scope, students study and learn about their species, then educate and entertain others with poems, essays, and artwork. They develop exhibits, write songs, produce videos, and design web pages dedicated to their animal and its habitat, sharing their knowledge and vision with others.
Other program extensions include study activities, presentations and field trips, on-site visits, assemblies, and habitat enhancement. Education trunks have been assembled to serve as a traveling curriculum for the 19 species. Each classroom adds material , including study activities, resource materials, artwork, games, puzzles, writings, musical cassette tapes, and other items related to that species. Additional community outreach activities have included posters/artwork for billboards, business window displays, and magazine articles.
Earth Day has become a focus of the Adopt-a-Species Program with community events that have included speakers, educational films, and special presentations. Singer/songwriter Walkin' Jim Stoltz; Carrie Hunt and the Karelian Bear Dogs from the Wind River Institute; Blackfeet Poet-Singer Jack Gladstone; and wildlife advocate Vince Yannon have all played a part in helping students gain understanding and appreciation for the importance of habitat and conservation.
Local students’ participation and interest in the Adopt-a-Species Program is evidence that young people care about the natural environment and want to learn more. They realize that the natural environment, from parks and mountains, to water and air, is affected by the actions of people both young and old. On behalf of the partners, students and teachers of the Adopt-a-Species Program, it is our hope that many will learn and enjoy the work this program exhibits throughout the community and in local schools.
If you would like more information about the Adopt-a-Species Program, please contact the Montana Discovery Foundation at 406-495-3711. Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.