This morning is quite different from other day. It’s much colder because now we are at Blackfeet Tipi Village (Browning, MT) which is a traditional house of a Native American. After I tried very hard to get out of my sleeping bag and put it into the bag. I open my tipi door and take a long breath of fresh air, look up to the sky, smile to the story that happen last night.
It’s might because of the cold weather outside. All SUSI’s students gathered at the fire camp, the warmest place around this Tipi Village. We sat around the fire and have a long conversation. The personal stories were told by person to person. Our relationships became closer. It seem like we know each other for long time.
After breakfast, it is time to depart Tipi camp and drive to the North fork of the Blackfoot river. At that place we met Mr. Don Bischoff, the hydrologist from US Geological Survey. His work is to measuring the steam flow in the river because of the water negotiation between State government and tribes. He taught us how to measure the steam flow in the simplest way. We were separate in a group of four people by country. Two people will go in to the river. One stands at the up steam and other stands at the downstream. The other two people will stand on the bank for timing and record.
The keywords of this method are a tennis ball and time. After signal, We started timer and the person at the upstream put the tennis ball in to the river then stop timer at the same time as person who was at downstream caught the ball and raise hand up. It was fun and the water is cold even we got the long plastic boots. After experimental, it is the time for calculation. The surface area of the river that we measure will be divided by average time then we will get water in the river flow rate in term of cubic feet per second. Although, that is the easy and cheap method, no one use it because high percentage error. Mr. Don showed us some of technical equipments that were uses. They are more comfortable, use less time and high efficient. From this little field work, I found that the scientific and technical information were necessary for environmental and conservation issue.
After lunch, we moved to another place to meet Mr. Gary Burnett, the director from The Blackfoot Challenge which is the nonprofit organization that working with community. This project brings together farmer, rancher, conservationist and government to address issues related to fire management, forest restoration, water quality, fish habitat, weed management, education, and economic development. There are a lot of project that The Blackfoot Challenge have done by the community. This project has changed my mind about doing project with community. I have ever thought that it is impossible to go to community and ask them to do something for environment but here is the model which has been success on working community-based conservation. That because they trust each other and believed in communication value.
Finally, We arrived at Miller Hall. Today is one of hard working day. But I think we got the point from these activities. Scientific, Technical and Community value were support each other. If I want to solve issue in community, I and people in community should bring value together to find out the best solution which can change something in community to be better.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller