HELENA — For the past eight weeks, high school students have been taking part in the Youth Forest Monitoring Program (YFMP) through the United States Forest Service (USFS).
This week the students presented their gave their final presentations and explained their findings recommendations for the work they’ve been doing.
This year’s projects in the Scapegoat Wilderness included monitoring the vegetation and soil health near Webb Lake and performing an amphibian study at Heart Lake.
Field instructors supervise students, and each monitoring project is guided by a designated USFS scientist.
The student data is integrated with other monitoring data and used to evaluate the Forest Plan.
Helena High Sophomore Cassidy Carpenter says the internship has provided valuable skills and inspired her to go into a forestry career.
“It’s an amazing opportunity and it’s so fun,” said Carpenter. “If you really like nature and just love being outside then it’s an amazing program.”
The students monitored more than 40 sites over the last 2 months and received a $1,000 stipend for their work.
In order to participate in the program, each student needed to be in good academic standing, demonstrate an ability and interest in natural sciences and receive a Letter of Recommendation from a teacher.
More information about YFMP can be found here.