Fantastic Fossils

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Fantastic Fossils

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2003
Saturday Kids Activity


View and touch a variety of real fossils  collected in our state. Mammoth teeth, dinosaur bones, ammonites, and corals will be on display. Find out how fossils form and what  ancient life here was like. A member of the Hellgate Gem and Mineral Society will tell fossil hunting stories and describe some fossil locations to explore.

Date: Saturday, April 18th

Time: 2:00- 3:00 pm

Location: Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St.

Admission: $3/$1 MNHC members, adults free. Best for ages 5 and up.

Snails and Slugs in Remnant Forests

Monday, December 1st, 2003
Naturalist Field Day

smokey taildropper

Paul Hendricks, zoological museum curator and researcher at the University of Montana leads this unique field day on land snails and slugs. Poke through remnant forests to discover and identify specimens you can’t find in your backyard.

“Almost all of the species that most people encounter in town during their day-to-day living, and in their gardens, are non-native.  But we have a rich native fauna that is almost unknown by the public.”

  • Learn how to identify native land snails and slugs.
  • Delve into the small-scale world as you learn about the habitat and microhabitat requirements of these species.
  • Become familiar with topics in land mollusk conservation.
  • Understand the processes creating our local remnant forests.

What to Bring:

  • Lunch & water
  • hiking shoes, boots or rain boots, clothes appropriate for potentially cool/wet spring weather such as rain pants and rain jacket
  • journal
  • hand lens (we have some to borrow)
  • gardening tool with teeth- not a trowel (optional)
  • small containers for shells you may want to keep (we will have plastic baggies)
  • pad to kneel on (optional)
  • headlamp for looking in dark spaces

Date: Saturday, April 25th

Time: 9:00-5:00 (depending on location, this class may go until 6:00)

Location: meet at the Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St.

Cost: $80/$70 MNHC members

Registration is required. Please call 327-0405.

5 OPI credits

Recommended Reading:

1) “Land snails of British Columbia” 2004 (paper) by Robert G. Forsyth (listed at $25.95): covers many of the species found in Montana west of the Continental Divide, with some nice introductory sections on land snail biology.  My suggestion for a snail guide that is also quite portable for the field pack.

2) “Land snails and slugs of the Pacific Northwest” 2013 (paper) by Thomas E. Burke (listed at $35.00): covers most to all of the species in western Montana. Not as user-friendly as the BC book (larger, heavier, perhaps a bit more technical), but is more comprehensive and has excellent color photographs (which are mostly absent in the BC guide)! A must for the library for the snail naturalists in this region.

3) “A guide to the land snails and slugs of Montana” 2012 (paper) by Paul Hendricks (free: can be downloaded from Montana Natural Heritage Program website).  Not a field guide (yet), but covers the Montana species more completely (albeit briefly) than any other reference.  [We will have a few hard-copies available for use during class.]

4) “Identifying land snails and slugs in Canada” 2009 (paper) by F. Wayne Grimm, Robert G. Forsyth, Frederick Schueler, and Aleta Karstad (was and may still be free from Canadian Food Inspection Agency): not as useful as #1 and #2, but still a nice addition to the library with very good descriptions of the non-native species, and includes wonderful watercolor paintings of the slugs.

5) “The secret world of slugs and snails” 2010 (paper) by David G. Gordon (listed at $14.95); full of interesting facts about snails and slugs written in an easy-to-digest style.  Also some focus on Pacific Northwest species (book is published by Sasquatch Books in Seattle).

6) “The sound of a wild snail eating” 2010 (hard back) by Elisabeth Tova Bailey (listed at $18.95): a wonderful account of living with a snail while dealing with an illness leaving the author largely bed-ridden; presents much about life in the slower lane, both human and molluscan.  Great prose by a professional writer, and presenting quite a few facts in the process.

Naturalist Trivia Night! With the DNRC Forest Pest Management Program

Tuesday, January 28th, 2003
Hosted by the DNRC Forest Pest Management Program

How can you tell a tree is infested with bark beetles?  It is time for Naturalist Trivia hosted this month by the DNRC Forest Pest Management Program! You can expect several categories on forest pests. Bring a team or join friendly naturalists when you arrive.  Leave your cute woolly adelgids and spruce budworms at home and bring some snacks instead.


Date: Wednesday, April 29th

Time: 7:00- 8:30 pm

Location: Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St.

Admission: $4 suggested donation, MNHC members free. BYOB and snacks. We provide tea and cocoa.

Gallery Opening for Gail Trenfield

Tuesday, December 31st, 2002
Reflections of the Natural World – the Beauty and Light of our Lakes and Rivers

gailtrenfield1The Montana Natural History Center is pleased to announce a First Friday Gallery Opening for Gail Trenfield. Her show ‘Reflections of the Natural World- the Beauty and Light of our Lakes and Rivers’ contains numerous paintings of varying sizes. Gail’s work refelcts nature’s beautiful color palette and celebrates the light and form of water.


The show will be up through May

Date: Friday, May 1st

Time: 4:30-6:30 pm

Location: Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St.


Rare Carnivores in the Crown

Monday, December 30th, 2002
Secret Science Night:

fisher2Rare Carnivores in the Crown: A noninvasive, landscape-scale approach for monitoring fisher, Canada lynx, and wolverine populations in the Southwestern portion of the Crown of the Continent.

Adam Lieberg from the Northwest Connections and Luke Lamar from the Swan Ecosystem Center will describe the results of their research on some of the elusive and wonderful carnivores of the Crown.

Date: Wednesday, May 6th

Time: 7:00- 8:00 pm

Location: the Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St.

Admission: $4 suggested donation, MNHC members free.


Teacher Workshop: Schoolyard Native Plants and Pollinators

Saturday, December 28th, 2002

Teacher Workshop:

 Schoolyard Native Plants & Pollinators

Thursday, May 7th

3:00 p.m.—6:30 p.m.

At the Native Plant Garden at Fort Missoula

Enjoy an afternoon at the Montana Natural History Center Native Plant Garden at Fort beeMissoula and learn about organizations across Missoula that can help create or enhance a native plant garden at your school.   Whether you are adding native plant features to a vegetable garden or taking advantage of a small plot on your schoolyard, you can be attracting and providing valuable habitat to pollinators.

Teachers will explore hands-on activities that meet educational standards.  In addition, participants will:

  •  Take home lots of resource materials
  • Experience a top notch native plant teaching garden
  • Learn about pollinators, native plants, and native plant gardening
  • And receive some free native plants!
  • Most importantly we hope you will make connections that will help grow and sustain your native plant garden and its outdoor classroom use.


Snacks and light dinner provided

3 OPI credits available

This workshop will fill so register early!
$5.00 registration and materials fee

advanced registration is required.

To Register, contact the Montana Natural History Center at 327-0405




Naturalist Scavenger Hunt

Thursday, December 26th, 2002
Discovery Day

Explore the wild outdoors with a Naturalist Scavenger Hunt created by the naturalists at balsaom rootMNHC. We have an adult/intrepid adventurer hunt and one designed for families to investigate the Clark Fork Natural Area right near MNHC.


Can you find a beaver chewed log? An oriole nest? The hunt contains 20 questions. To compete for small prizes, arrive at noon and be the first back with the most complete list. Instead of returning with items, you will take a photo- so bring a camera or camera/phone! Or, just come by between noon and 4:00 to pick up the hunt to complete at a leisurely pace.

The UM’s Wildlife Society will also be hosting their Wildlife Extravaganza in the building- one more reason to stop by! See some great booths and presentations!

Date: Saturday, May 9th

Time: noon-4:00 pm

Location: The Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St.

Admission: Free

The Last Rhino: Education and Vietnam’s Wildlife Conservation Crisis

Wednesday, December 25th, 2002
Secret Science Night

Marilyn Marler recently spent 3 weeks at Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam conducting needs assessments and staff training. There is a biodiversity conservation crisis in Vietnam, and Marilyn is more convinced than ever that aggressive education for all ages is necessary to gain support for conservation projects. Come learn more about this beautiful natural park and the people working to protect it.


Date: Wednesday, May 13thIMG_5376

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St.

Admission: $4 suggested donation, MNHC members free

Rad Reptiles and Amphibians

Tuesday, December 24th, 2002
Saturday Kids Activity

What kinds of reptiles and amphibians live in Montana? Where can you find them?

Learn all about special salamanders, toads and frogs (have you tiger salamanderheard the pacific chorus frog?), lizards, skinks, turtles, and snakes. You will see some strange faces, look at specimens, touch snake skin, and make some fun reptile crafts. Find out how your family can be involved in the Missoula Parks/Conservation Lands Reptile and Amphibian survey this summer too!

Date: Saturday, May 16th

Time: 2:00-3:00 pm

Location: Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St.

Admission: $3/$1 MNHC members, adults free


Birding by Ear

Sunday, December 22nd, 2002
Naturalist Field Day

swallowsNaturalist and expert birder, Brian Williams will help you recognize birds by their songs and calls. This field day will focus on how to train your ear to recognize differences in bird songs and develop your auditory memory. We will spend the day in the field in two different habitats practicing with a variety of bird songs. You will learn some tips and tricks while receiving quality guided time listening.



What to Bring:

  • lunch & water
  • good walking shoes/boots
  • clothes appropriate for the weather, rain jacket, hat, etc.
  • journal
  • binoculars (MNHC has pairs to borrow)

Date: Saturday, May 30th

Time: 7:30-3:30 pm

Location: Meet at the Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St.

Cost: $80/$70 MNHC members, some scholarships available.

Registration is required. Please call 327-0405 to sign up.

5 OPI credits