The Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto and Bigfork HS Cave Club received the 2019 Wildlife Conservation Award from the Montana Chapter of the Wildlife Society. Members of the NRMG and the BHS Cave Club traveled to Helena last Wednesday to accept the award on behalf of their organizations at the annual TWS banquet. This award is given to an individual or non-governmental organization for past, present, or ongoing efforts that enhance wildlife conservation in Montana. The two groups have worked cooperatively with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and the Montana Natural Heritage Program to conduct biological surveys and collect habitat data since 2011.
“Members of the Grotto and Cave Club are excellent role models and ambassadors for new cavers with commendable caving ethos. Caver meetings and workshops always offer youth activities such as geology exploration trips, vertical rope exercises and guided cave trips.
By the numbers:
-Grotto members have assisted with the placement of 10 educational signs inside and/or outside of well-known caves.
-Over 250 cave and bat surveys conducted in Montana have included Grotto or Cave Club members.
-Over $250,000 of in-kind donations by Grotto and Cave Club members have been contributed to cave and bat conservation in the form of time, travel costs, GIS expertise, cave access skills, and trainings
-Over 200 kids have participated in the Bigfork High School Cave Club since its formation in 2005.
The Montana caving community members are citizen scientists and advocates for bat conservation. Their contributions are invaluable, their commitment to conservation admirable, and their willingness to work with wildlife and land management agencies critical to the future of bat conservation.”
-Amie Shovlain, US Forest Service