Montana Rail Link (MRL) has partnered with the Montana Natural History Center (MNHC) to bring children and families who are disadvantaged to the Center for nature-based educational opportunities through museum field trips. Thanks to a generous gift from MRL, children and families who have been identified as under-served will be able to come to MNHC to learn about the natural world around them through science-based nature education. The center tours will be led by MNHC teaching naturalists and will take these groups through the interactive museum as well as taking them outside into nature areas where they can explore and learn.
“We are impressed with MNHC’s mission and youth outreach across the state of Montana,” said Jim Lewis, MRL Chief Sales and Marketing Operator. MNHC and MRL believe that all children should have the same opportunities as their peers in terms of what they are learning in math and science. Data shows that if children can touch, feel, and see what they are learning in school and again in a museum setting the concepts will stick. And, because the children and families who will participate in this program have been identified as under-served, they are the ones who are missing this critical non-formal science learning.
“Having a strong and healthy relationship with nature isn’t something that only people with means deserve,” said Thurston Elfstrom, MNHC Executive Director. “We think it’s critical to serve this population of kids and families and are grateful of our partnership with MRL.”
Over the coming year, groups like the Boys and Girls Club, Watson Children’s Shelter, Partnership for Children, and Flagship will come to MNHC to participate in this program. Additionally, MNHC has given the Missoula Public Library four family passes that are available for check out so that families can visit the museum with no admission cost. All family resource specialists in Missoula County Public Schools will be receive 10 family passes so that they can give them out to families that they have identified as needing experiences like this the most. All of this is made possible by MRL’s generosity!
Stephanie Potts, Youth Program Coordinator, receives the check from MRL.
Kids check out Camo, our resident Gopher Snake.