The time between January 18 and February 1 saw a storm of activity with the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Winter Tracks program in Lincoln County. January 18 and 25, about 45 Libby fifth grade students per day learned about tree identification with Celesta Collacchi, animal adaptations with Gene Reckin, orienteering with Robin Chisholm, and tracking with Brian Baxter. FSPW staff Annie Gassmann and Sandy Compton, volunteer Mary Freniere, teachers and parent volunteers kept kids warm with hot chocolate and a fire.
Collacchi, who works at Libby Ranger District, said, “I really enjoyed working with the kids. They asked awesome questions.”
Reckin taught science in Libby schools for decades and volunteers for Winter Tracks. “Getting kids outside is not only fun for them, but me as well,” he said. “This is such an important part of their education. I’m proud to be part of it.”
On Jan. 22, Brian Baxter led 40-plus kids in the Libby After School Program through a tracking exercise at Skidale Park. On January 31, he took Yaak School students on a tracking expedition
Rose Wilson, head teacher at Yaak School was impressed. “Even my Kindergartners sat through the presentation without any problems,” she said. “We also had a great time being outdoors and tracking some of the animals Brian talked about.”
Chisholm, who teaches the use of map and compass, drove all the way from Bayview, Idaho, to be part of Libby Winter Tracks. This is her third season as a regular Winter Tracks instructor.
The Lincoln County FSPW Winter Tracks season ended with a session on February 1 at Troy. FSPW staffers Britta Mireley and Annie Gassmann coordinated with volunteers Rich DeSimone, Mary Freniere, Baxter, Collacchi, avalanche safety instructor Liz Figgens from the Forest Service and winter survival teachers Karie Lee and Jake Riley to teach 30-plus fifth graders at Roosevelt Park.
Besides their volunteers, FSPW is also grateful to the Forest Service for the use of Timberlane Campground, the city of Troy for the use of Roosevelt Park and the Lincoln County road department for clearing the road at Timberlane.