Arrowleaf balsamroot at the National Bison Range.
From wildflower hikes to events on birds and bull trout, there’s a lot going on in May around western Montana! Here’s a sampling of wildflower and other nature-related events:
- At 6:30 p.m. today – Thursday, May 2 – botanist Michael Krebs will lead a hike on Mount Sentinel with the Clark Fork Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society. The group will meet at the picnic table at the southeast corner of the University of Montana Campus, near the intersection of Beckwith and Madeline avenues, and hike the Evans Street Trail to the fire road across the face of the mountain. Along the way, they’ll document spring wildflowers for Project Budburst. Call 728-0189 for more information.
- Also today, May 2, the Montana Natural History Center will hold a seminar titled “Design an All-Season Garden with Native Shrubs” with Marilyn Marler from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the center, 120 Hickory St. Learn how to design a garden for color, screening and wildlife habitat. The event is free for MNHC members and there’s a $5 suggested donation for others.
- Starting in May and running through June, the Flathead Chapter of MNPS will hold Tuesday morning wildflower walks on Bigfork’s Wild Mile Corridor. Anne Morley and Neal Brown will lead the easy walks along the Old Swan River Road starting at 10 a.m. Meet in front of Showthyme on Electric Avenue in Bigfork. Call Morley at 886-2242 or Brown at 837-5018 for more information.
- An International Migratory Bird Day celebration will be held at the National Bison Range on Saturday, May 11. There will be videos, trivia, walks and a Migration Challenge. Call (406) 644-2211, Ext. 207, to register and get meeting place and time. The day also marks the opening of Red Sleep Mountain Drive for the summer season, weather and road conditions permitting. The 19-mile, one-way gravel road climbs to the high point of the range, traveling through grassland and forest. The refuge and scenic drives open at 6:30 a.m., and the visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Start Red Sleep Mountain Drive by 6 p.m. to complete the trip before the refuge closes as dark. Bird Day events are free but fees, starting at $5 for private vehicles, are charged for the scenic drives.
- MNHC and the Endangered Species Coalition will hold a native plant sale and bull trout lecture to celebrate Endangered Species Day on Thursday, May 16. The plant sale is 5:30 to 7 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Fort Missoula Native Plant Gardens. The bull trout lecture, by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Wade Fredenberg is at 7 p.m. Both events, at the center at 120 Hickory St., are free.
- On Saturday, May 18, from 8 a.m. to noon, MNPS’ Clark Fork Chapter will hold its annual plant sale at the Missoula Farmers Market at the north end of Higgins Avenue. Arrive early for the best selection.
- Also on Saturday, May 18, the Glacier Institute will hold a course titled “Glacier’s Harlequins” with John Ashley starting at 8:30 a.m. Learn about and observe harlequin ducks in Glacier National Park as they feed and court during breeding season. There will be a slideshow, discussion and walk along upper McDonald Creek near Going-to-the-Sun Road. The course will end about 4 p.m. Meet at the Glacier Park Field Camp Meeting Hall just inside the West Glacier entrance to the park. Transportation will be provided during the course. Cost is $65.
- MNPS’ Clark Fork Chapter will have a Dyer’s Woad pull on Tuesday, May 21, starting at 6:30 p.m. Dyer’s Woad is a noxious weed in the mustard family. Meet at the main Mount Sentinel trailhead on the east side of the UM campus. Call 544-7189 for more information.
- MNHC will hold a Naturalist Field Day titled “ID and Ecology of Local Grasses” with botanist Peter Lesica from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 25. The group will learn about grasses in the classroom, then visit several sites in the field. Call 327-0405 to register. Cost is $70 for MNHC members and $80 for others. Some scholarships are available. Meet at the center, 120 Hickory St. Transportation to field sites is provided.
- Also Saturday, May 25, and Sunday, May 26, is the Loon and Fish Festival based in Seeley Lake. Organized by Alpine Artisans, the festival features art, films, wildlife exhibits, loon viewing and a wildflower hike to Holland Falls. Events are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.