Providing    the    Resources    Needed     for    Success    in    Higher    Education

High School students learn of mining history and impacts today

Butte-High School students had the opportunity to step behind the gates that guard the Diamond Mine on Thursday morning. They also visited the Granite Mountain Memorial, the Alice Mine Overlook, the Colorado tailings, the Parrot Tailing and the Groundwater Capture Treatment Facility. They learned about the history of mining and the ongoing reclamation and restoration that continues today.

"What we have here now, including the cleanup and all of its remnants from a hundred years of mining, it's all history," said Chris Fisk, a history teacher at Butte High School.

There still exists 10,000 miles of underground mining tunnels, according to Sara Sparks, remedial project manager for the EPA. Sparks lead the students around the Granite Mountain Memorial. She explained that the memorial acts as a cap-preventing hazardous materials from reaching our water systems. The memorial is a tribute to nearly 170 miners that were lost in a fire in 1917.

The EPA and teamed up to bring nearly 120 students in grades 9-12 from Butte High School to these historic sites on Thursday.


Rayelynn Connole named CFWEP.Org Director

The Institute for Educational Opportunities (The Institute) at Montana Tech has appointed Rayelynn Connole as the Director of the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program (Cfwep.Org). Connole began her directorship on March 1, 2013. 

 Connole has been a key staff member of the Cfwep.Org team since 2007 and has been instrumental in developing the program’s curriculum and teacher professional development programs. In addition, Rayelynn brings a plethora of formal education and leadership experiences to the Cfwep.Org team. She began her career as the Education Director for Alternative Youth Adventures in Boulder, MT where she developed her grant writing and leadership skills. During her tenure as Cfwep.Org’s Curriculum Coordinator, Rayelynn secured over $1.9 million in grant funds for the program. She has held grants with the Office of Public Instruction’s Math Science Partnership program for the past six years and has created teacher professional development programs in science, which have included partners across the State of Montana University system and throughout Montana’s K-12 systems.  

 “I am looking forward to further developing the program’s mission of developing tomorrow’s watershed stewards,” noted Connole. “I believe that through education, balanced industry actions, and advocacy, we can ensure a healthy environment for Montana’s citizens. I intend to continue the legacy set forth by the program’s Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) classroom outreach and further develop the program’s teacher professional development activities.”

 Connole is focused on helping create discerning students who will be able to make sound, logical scientifically-based decisions about the future of our watershed. Specifically, she intends to grow the program’s stormwater outreach program, the Office of Public Instruction professional development program, Montana Tech Undergraduate research focused on the restoration, and seek opportunities for growth in other Superfund regions throughout the Northwest.


"The Institute is proud of Cfwep.Org’s history and service to the students and teachers of the Clark Fork Basin,” said Amy Verlanic, Executive Director of the Institute for Educational Opportunities. “We are confident that under Rayelynn Connole's leadership the program can continue and build upon this work."


2013 Montana Tech Science & Engineering Fair Division II

Montana Tech Regional Science & Engineering Fair

Division II Awards

The annual Montana Tech Regional Division II Science Fair was held Thursday, March 7th.  The Tech campus played host to over 450 students from  22 schools across southwest Montana. “The projects presented at the fair are fascinating and provide a great starting point for students to get more involved with science. Montana students embody a lot of talent and hope for the future,”  stated  Fair Director, Kehli Hazlett. 

Montana Tech’s fair is one of the five regional fairs in Montana, but is known as the stand out because of it’s high quality judges and the enourmous volume of community sponsored prizes awareded to young researchers.  “Students who compete at Montana Tech Regional Science Fair have a great chance of being acknowledged for their scientific efforts  because the Butte community is so wonderful at supporting this fair” said Bernie Phelps, Science Fair Judge Chair.

The top ten projects scoring the highest will receive an all expenses paid three day trip to Yellowstone National Park. 

The winners are: Brian McGeehan from Butte Central, Bridger McKinney from Sacajawea Middle School,Brie Buchanan from Sacajawea Middle School, Carter Johnsen from Ophir Elementary, Erica Buchholzfrom Three Forks Middle School, Julia Barton from Ophir Elementary, Kammren Ashcraft from Three Forks Middle School, Katie Ellig from Sacajawea Middle School, Madison Vilhauer from Chief Joseph Middle School, Pushya Krishna from Chief Joseph Middle School, Samantha Stabler from Chief Joseph Middle School, and Vincent Davison from Sacajawea Middle School.

Download the Division II awards booklet here.


2013   Montana   Tech   Science   Fair

Science   Fair   Dates

Division I - Thursday, March 14, 2013

Division II - Thursday, March 7, 2013

The deadline for registering/completing paperwork for BOTH Science Fairs is Friday, February 28th, 2013.


Montana Tech Student Chris Doyle receives service award from Montana Governor’s Office.

Chris Doyle a student employee with Cfwep.Org of the Institute for Educational Opportunities at Montana Tech received the ServeMontana award from the Governor’s Office of Community Service on February 28th at their 4th Annual ServeMontana Symposium. Doyle was nominated by the Cfwep.Org staff for his invaluable service as a member of Cfwep.Org’s education team.  He is instrumental in Cfwep.Org’s mission to educate K-12 students about the Clark Fork watershed – its history of environmental damage and the current, on-going restoration efforts.  He is always at ease; whether he is teaching kindergarten children about macro invertebrates; high-school students about proper planting techniques for Cottonwood saplings; or showing-off his animal calling techniques to people of all ages of the Montana Folk Festival. Chris motivates and engages people young and old to learn more about our watershed and its health.

 Doyle is a three-time AmeriCorps Alumnus at Montana Tech. During his first two terms of service, Chris assisted the Cfwep.Org team with their educational outreach programs. During Doyle’s AmeriCorps VISTA appointment, he organized Cfwep.Org’s fly fishing camp and was a key leader for Cfwep.Org’s Youth Court program, which is a partnership program with Butte Silver-Bow’s Juvenile Probation Office.  This program serves at-risk youth and is designed to help students create a positive change in their lives.  Chris has been a mentor and leader of this program, providing invaluable service to our community.  Please join us in congratulating Chris on Monday, March 11th at 11am in Montana Tech’s Copper Lounge—Student Union Building.  All are welcome.