By Jim Dochnahl, Education Consultant
This was the eleventh full school year of the partnership between contractor Jim Dochnahl and the Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association (MTVRA) to provide OHV ethics education in Montana’s public schools.
Funding from the Montana OHV Grant Program administered by the State Parks Division of Fish, Wildlife & Parks helps keep the Program effective and strong. Our Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association successfully supervises this grant thanks to the hard work of Mona Ehnes, Treasurer.
It ended up being another really good year with the number of kids reached exceeding 10,400 for the first time! A couple of things may have contributed to this: 1) Jim told the schools this was his last year so they may have been more eager to fit the program into schedules and 2) consistently and persistently seeking out schools adds up.
From October to June, Jim reached 87 schools throughout Montana. That is the most ever in a single year. During the program’s eleven years, 184 total schools participated throughout Montana in 32 counties. Another impressive number: 94,749 kids learned from this important program. A lot of time, money and commitment by Montana’s OHV community has been invested to get these impressive numbers.
The programs emphasis this year was potential OHV impacts to wildlife, streams and rivers. A demonstration with makeshift puppets and animal hats entertained the kids as well as teach them valuable lessons on OHV Ethics. Even the Middle School kids laughed and enjoyed the Program. The presentations lasted anywhere from 30 – 45 minutes, depending on the requirements and time constraints allowed by the school. The venue typically was small, with anywhere between 4 – 60 kids but sometimes it was done in an assembly like style with larger groups of students.
As in past years, educators learned about this program at the MEA-MFT State Teachers conference in Helena where there was a lot of interest. Flyers with information about the OHV Ethics Program were handed out to countless teachers. Several of the new schools reached this year resulted from contacts made at the MEA-MFT conference.
This was Jim’s last year teaching the Program. We all owe Jim a big “Thank You” for his dedication and skill in teaching students and encouraging educators to participate. The MTVRA is seeking a qualified person to teach this program and to ensure the kids of Montana will continue to receive this all too important OHV Ethics Education Program.