How ‘Bout Them Bobcats!

We’re lucky to have a great resource like Montana State University in our community. We try to partner with them whenever we can, whether it’s volunteer man power, student smarts, or department expertise. Over the last few weeks we’ve had the opportunity to work with the Bobcats on a number of projects and we have to say, the students are top notch and the school’s dedication to community engagement is more than a saying.

Here’s how we’ve been hanging out with the Bobcats:

Convocation Service Saturday-In coordination with MSU’s Convocation Ceremony, 50 students with the MSU Office of Student Engagement joined GVLT, Run Dog Run, and Gallatin County Parks to improve the wetland area at the new 13 acre off-leash dog area at the Regional Park. The hardworking volunteers removed undesired aquatic species like cattails and thistles, transplanted wetland plants, fenced off the newly planted area to avoid disturbance, and pulled algae from the ponds with rakes. It was a dirty job but someone had to do it! Thanks to their efforts, the improved wetland area will act as a buffer zone for surface runoff pollutants and prevent erosion. It will also be a fun place for dogs and people to recreate for years to come.

Bobcats in the Boardroom– We are also partnering with MSU on a new program called Bobcats in the Boardroom through the MSU Leadership Institute. The program places students on nonprofit boards in our community as non-voting members. Through their experience, they will learn valuable leadership skills and gain a better understanding of nonprofit governance and the needs in the community. The nonprofit also benefits from the student’s fresh ideas, energy, and connection to the university. We are excited to have a Bobcat joining our GVLT NextGen Advisory Boardroom starting in October.

Catapalooza– The beginning of the school year always starts with MSU’s huge community celebration on the campus mall, Catapalooza. Hundreds of businesses, school clubs, sports teams, sororities, fraternities, and nonprofits line the walkways of the university with booths showcasing information, giveaways, and welcoming smiles for new students. For the second year, GVLT had a booth at the event and talked with nearly 200 students, many incoming freshman.  As a welcoming gift, we gave away trail maps to new students so they could find ways to leave campus and hit the trails, without needing to jump in a car. Their eyes lit up when they realized the connected trail system that surrounds the university.

We owe a BIG thank you to Montana State University for giving us opportunities to connect and learn from students.  We look forward to many more partnerships in the future!