Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Havre and Billings area Professional Development Opportunities, Free School Program from Humanities Montana, and the Montana Heritage Orchard Program

After my vacation I returned to find an in-box full of interesting ideas/opportunities, which I share with you below.

Museums Association of Montana is meeting March 21-23, 2013 in Havre. The conference is geared for museum professionals, but there are two workshops on Thursday, March 21st, that may interest teachers:
  • 8:00-12:00- Weaving the Story of Place, and Archaeology Toolkit for Museum, Presenters: Crystal Alegria and Nikki Dixon-Foley. Participants will be introduced to the field of archaeology, provided tools for working with archaeological sites and artifacts and information on state and federal laws that govern cultural resources in Montana. You will receive tools in the form of ideas, educational activities, and a curriculum guide called “Intrigue of the Past.” Limit- 20 participants. Cost- $30.00
  • 1:00-4:00- Indian Education for All and Montana’s Museums, Presenters: Justine Jam and Mike Jetty. This interactive session will focus on reading and discussing primary and secondary source documents to gain a better understanding regarding how Federal Indian Policy has ongoing impacts for Montana Tribal Nations and Peoples. Limit-30 participants. Cost- $20.00
  •  Renewal credits are available. Find information and register here or call Deb Mitchell @ 406-444-4789 or email dmitchell@mt.gov.

Humanities Montana has a great program called Reflect: Community Readings & Conversations. The program aims to facilitate useful, lively discussion about personal and organizational values, and about how civic and service-oriented groups make choices and respond to the needs of their communities by using short, though-provoking readings to coax discussion among participants. They are looking to expand this program into middle and high schools that already integrate some type of service learning component into their curriculum. If you are interested in learning more about how this free program might be used within schools or any other community organization, contact Samantha Dwyer (samantha.dwyer@humanitiesmontana.org).
Montana State University Extension is working across the state to identify and preserve heritage orchards: fruit orchards of at least five trees that are at least sixty years old. After MSU identifies these orchards, they plan to add them to an interactive map located on the MSU Extension web site, where the map user will be able to click on each location and read about the history of each location. A list of all the identifiable cultivars at each location will be provided as well. Each location will receive a sign that can be placed at the entrance of the orchard or property that will identify it as a “Montana Heritage Orchard”. In addition to recognition, MSU Extension will work closely with each landowner to preserve the existing trees, and propagate offspring for future generations to enjoy. Finally, in addition to recognition, preservation and propagation, the project will work to foster agro-tourism around these orchards for land owners who are interested. And, those landowners interested in participating in propagating some of the trees will receive a portion of the grafted offspring for sale or planting purposes if desired, and a portion of any revenue that may be associated with it. MSU Extension will work closely with each orchard location on all aspects of the project. Identifying and researching the history of heritage orchards seems to me to be an interesting potential heritage education project. More information on the program, including contact information, is here
Montana Indian Education Association is hosting its annual conference April 11-13, 2013. This year’s Conference theme, “Leading the Change in Indian Education: Our Culture and Traditions are our Strength,” is dedicated to investigating issues and best practices as we share frustrations and innovative approaches to ensure that Indian students at all levels of the educational system receive a high quality education that prepares them for the future they envision. More information here.

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