Restoring an Educational Area


The Watershed Education Network (WEN), Lone Rock School, and Bitterroot National Forest teamed up to complete some much needed conservation work at the Willoughby Environmental Education Area southeast of Stevensville, MT. WEN received a grant from the Ravalli County Resource Advisory Committee to facilitate conservation work in Ravalli County. WEN then partnered with Lone Rock School’s seventh grade class and asked them to design a management plan for the Willoughby site. After touring Willoughby, the students came up with recommendations to improve the education area. 

The next year, as eighth graders, the students created an interpretive welcome sign made from individual tiles that each of the students painted for the Willoughby site. They moved 15 tons of gravel onto the interpretive trail and filled in some holes in the road leading to the site. They removed large rocks from the trail and recontoured parts that were eroded or out sloped. A group of the students also pruned the sagebrush and trees that had encroached upon the trail. 

The students, in partnership with the Trapper Creek Job Corps Center, Bitterroot Ecological Awareness Resources, WEN, and USFS, planted more than 1000 sagebrush, rose, cottonwood, and rabbit brush native plant species on the site, purchased with funding from the Rocky Mountain Research Station through BEMRP. The Lone Rock School students plan to adopt the site and will continue to monitor the needs of the Willoughby Environmental Education Area for years to come.