Natural History Lecture Series

Each Monday in March the chapter will host a guest lecture at Montana WILD Education Center. This years’ series will focus on the history, science and habitat impacts of wildfire.

*Please note that all presentations will be held at Montana WILD Education Center, 2668 Broadwater Ave. and will begin at 7:00PM.

Last Chance Audubon Society
Natural History Lecture Series – 2018


Wildfire in Montana: Its History, Science, and Impact on Habitat

March 5 – Options for Dealing with Climate Change and Wildfire by Steve Running

Steve Running

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Steve Running will present options for dealing with climate change and wildfire. Dr. Running received his PhD in Forest Ecology from Colorado State and has been Professor of Global Ecology at University of Montana since 1979. He is a Land Team Leader for the NASA Earth Observing System, author of over 300 scientific articles, and shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

March 12 – Ecology & Restoration of Montana’s Fire-Dependent Forests by Stephen Arno and Carl Fiedler

Stephen Arno and Carl Fiedler will discuss ecology and restoration of Montana’s fire-dependent forests. Stephen Arno earned a PhD in forestry & plant science from University of Montana in 1970. He retired from the Fire Sciences Lab in Missoula in 1999 as research forester. He has practiced restoration forestry on family Ponderosa pine forest for forty years. Carl Fiedler retired from the University of Montana Forestry School in 2007 after attending grad school, serving in the U.S. Army, and working at the USFS Intermountain Research Station. Fiedler and Arno have co-authored three books on forest & fire management.

March 19 – Birds and Fire by Kristina Smucker.

Kristina Smucker will take us on a virtual tour through burned forests to discover how the bird community changes following restorative wildfires. Birds are amazing for many reasons, one of which is the diversity of habitat niches they have laid claim to, including burned forests. Many bird species depend on high severity wildfires, like those Montana experienced last summer, to create the habitat and food resources they need to survive. Kristina Smuker is a wildlife biologist for Montana FWP Great Falls and has extensively studied the impact of wildfires on bird habitat.

March 26 – Elk and Wildfire in the Bitterroot by Kelly Proffitt

Kelly Proffitt will describe evaluation of elk forage quality and post-fire changes in forage quality in the Bitterroot Valley of west-central Montana. Examining summer and winter forage quality helped to achieve the primary goal to evaluate how landscapes with varying post-fire successional stages influence elk nutritional resources. Results highlight the important effect of wildfire on the distribution and abundance of elk nutritional resources and demonstrate that elk nutritional carrying capacity likely varies over time with variation in fire history and management practices. Kelly Proffitt, a wildlife biologist from the Bozeman FWP office, has spent several years documenting the effect of wildfire on elk populations in the Bitterroot.

Donations are welcome and are dedicated to bird habitat grants.