Check back each month to see our favorite nature photos from Montana!
This summer, join us for Climate Hike Glacier, a charitable hiking challenge that will take you through the wildest national park in the U.S. as you raise money for your favorite non-profit organization, including The Nature Conservancy.
On this hike, you'll spend four days hiking the iconic trails on the Crown of the Continent, covering more than 40 miles across the park as you learn about its unique ecosystem and discuss the threat of climate change with climate ecologist and Nobel Prize winner, Steve Running.
The Nature Conservancy's Pine Butte Preserve is situated on Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, where the mountains meet the prairies in a dramatic convergence of rocky cliffs abutting grassy hills. As a result, you can find remarkably diverse flora throughout this region. Rare wetland species such as yellow lady's slipper, Macoun's gentian, green-keeled cotton grass and Craw's sedge flourish in proximity to common upland prairie plants such as shrubby cinquefoil, rough fescue and Montana's state grass, bluebunch wheatgrass.
A pronghorn and its fawns stand on the lookout in this month’s photo. When this species confronts fences, they crawl under rather than jump over. And when the bottom strand of gnarly barbed wire is too low, it can scrape the hide right off the animals exposing them to frostbite and infection. But there is good news: a new study has identified a better, safer way for pronghorn cross fences in the Northern Great Plains.
The Blackfeet Indian Reservation is a beautiful mosaic of native grassland, prairie pothole lakes, wetlands and aspen parklands. Hugging the eastern slopes of Glacier National Park, the reservation is vital habitat for much of the park’s extraordinary wildlife. In addition to grizzlies, the land shelters a rich variety of other wildlife and bird species. If you look closely, you can see one of these birds perched on top of a rock.
The Conservancy's Pine Butte Preserve offers some of the finest bear habitat left in the Lower 48 states. Each spring grizzly bears descend from their mountain retreats, while snow still blankets the high country, following the watercourses on the Rocky Mountain Front, down to the prairie lowlands, to feed and raise their young. The rich wetland, riparian and grassland environment provides both food and security, so the bears can easily replenish their depleted energy reserves.
This year, resolve to spend more time in nature and let all its wonders soothe you. Even just a few additional minutes is likely to improve your overall health, lowering blood pressure, relieving stress, improving vision, and even boosting your immune system. What are you waiting for? Get outside and take an extra dose of nature!
Montana is home to diverse wildlife. From protecting strongholds for grizzlies to high-elevation sagebrush habitat for Greater sage-grouse, your support has helped countless critters during 2017. In the year ahead, the stakes for nature are incredibly high and the challenges we face show no signs of letting up. But no matter what, we remain unwavering in our commitment to protect our planet. Stay the course with us.
You would be hard pressed to find a bad place for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in Montana, but many agree that one of the best places is within the Crown of the Continent. This 10-million-acre mosaic of high peaks, forest, prairie, rivers, and wetlands envelops Glacier National Park and straddles the Canadian border and Continental Divide. Not only does the Crown provide ample snow and unsurpassed scenery, the Crown of the Continent ecosystem is one of the wildest, most intact places on Earth, boasting no animal extinction in the past 200 years.
While we are in the throes of autumn’s end, soon Montana will be blanketed in snow and the delicious scent of fall leaves will be a distant memory. But after a hot and smoky summer, we welcome the snow and frost of autumn and winter. Can’t get enough fall foliage? Check out these other beautiful destinations across the U.S.
Can you see the bear's profile in these mossy rocks? The Nature Conservancy is conserving vital habitat for grizzlies, black bears and, in turn, a wealth of extraordinary wildlife.
This summer, you voted in our What’s Your Nature? photo contest. We’re excited to share that this stellar shot from Debbie Salvesen in Montana made to the Top 100! "The image of this prairie dog reminds me of an older scruffy male with a cigar hanging out of the side of his mouth,” said Salvesen. "I love the character and spunk he portrays naturally. Hopefully this animal and many more survived the out-of-control fires in Glacier National Park where I photographed him.”
There are many breathtaking views in Montana, but this golden sunset is made all the more precious because this shimmering light is reflecting off critical habitat for birds. When glaciers retreated from this area, they left behind a remarkable array of ponds, sloughs, marshes, fens and lakes, creating the incredible lands of the Conservancy’s Safe Harbor Marsh Preserve. These wetlands support an array of cattail and bulrush and sedges that attract a variety of avian visitors.
The Canada lynx is a creature that thrives on Montana’s long, snowy winters. Its light weight, oversized paws and long legs allow it to practically float over deep snow, and as other predators head to lower elevations during the winter, the lynx finds itself with less competition for food. But as climate change reduces snow pack and brings earlier spring melt, those same traits leave this beautiful cat at a huge disadvantage. The Nature Conservancy in Montana is stepping up to the challenge to protecting this species. In fact, the Montana chapter's Clearwater-Blackfoot and historic Montana Legacy projects have secured the heart of the nearly 40-thousand square miles designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife as critical habitat for Canada lynx. To support projects like these, consider making a monthly contribution.
With financial assistance from Montana’s Forests in Focus program we’re thinning dense forests to reduce the fuel available for potential fires. Our efforts are opening the forest, decreasing the chance that a fire could climb into the tree canopies and quickly spread. These more open forests also allow more light and moisture in to nurture the remaining trees, increasing their growth and the amount of carbon they can store.
The mountains, valleys, and streams of the High Divide Headwaters constitute a biologically rich and intact landscape that serves as a critical wildlife linkage between the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to the east and the Crown of the Continent to the north. The High Divide Headwaters remains a working wilderness of multi-generational ranches intermixed with public lands and protected areas. However, this sweeping landscape faces a number of threats, such as climate change, development, and increasing demand for water. Discover how the Conservancy is using science-based management practices and working with the community to secure the future of the High Divide.
The Conservancy's Pine Butte Preserve is situated on Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, where the mountains meet the prairies in a dramatic convergence of rocky cliffs abutting grassy hills. This aweinspiring landscape is one of the most biologically rich regions in the entire country, and one of the last places where grizzly bears still venture out onto the open plains. Though free ranging herds of bison are all but gone, all the other animals found here by the Lewis and Clark Expedition still roam free. Learn more about our conservation work at the preserve.
Forests are key to fighting climate change; when healthy, they absorb carbon from the atmosphere. But can thinning young forests make them more effective at storing carbon? Results of a new study point to yes. Learn more about the study conducted by University of Montana scientist and Nature Conservancy Stewardship Assistant, Mike Schaedel, and what it means for the Clearwater-Blackfoot Project.
Hugging the eastern slopes of Glacier National Park, the Blackfeet Reservation is vital habitat for much of the park’s extraordinary wildlife. In addition to these bighorn sheep lambs, the land shelters a rich variety of other wildlife and bird species. The reservation is also home to the Blackfeet Nation, with whom the Conservancy works to create enduring conservation outcomes.