From a Report by Jim Dochnahl, Education Consultant
This was the sixth full school year of the partnership between Contractor Jim Dochnahl and the Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association (MTVRA). This was a challenging year but through the hard work of MTVRA and Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ OHV program, funding issues were addressed and corrected. Our ethics education program reached 8,795 students during the 2011 – 2102 school year. From October to June, we visited 75 schools throughout Montana.
Our course included a review of the basic points outlined in Montana’s On The Right Trail video and a portion of a new video called Tread Lightly on Wyoming Trails with more details on the importance of respecting horse riders and the spread of weeds. Presentations lasted anywhere from 15 – 45 minutes, depending on the requirements and time constraints allowed by the school. The OHV Ethics Program was again taught in conjunction with Jim’s Dochnahl’s Recycling Programs. The venue typically was small, anywhere between 4 – 60 kids, but sometimes in an assembly like style with large groups of students. OHV Ethics posters and pamphlets provided by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks were also distributed when appropriate.
We visited educators again this year at the MEA-MFT State Teachers conference in Missoula. Flyers with information on the OHV Ethics Program were handed out to countless teachers. Jim gave a workshop by invitation at the conference for the first time.
We again attended the Montana Environmental Education Association (MEEA) Conference in Billings. Jim was also invited to speak again this year at the USDA Forest Service Recreation Managers training at Lubrecht Experimental Forest near Missoula. These are the people on the ground regulating OHV use on our public lands so this was a great opportunity for them to hear about our program and add it to their toolbox of management options. Public venues have proven to be an effective way to reach teachers and schools.
This is one of our best programs to reach current and future OHV recreationists and provide accurate information to young people who go on in life with other interests. We understand that, through cooperation between MTVRA and Fish, Wildlife & Parks, this and similar programs will receive high priority for funding in the future!