The Montana Experience

June 2021

I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana, it is love.” – John Steinbeck.

Join us as we explore the vast landscapes of Montana’s wilderness, from the prairie to the mountains, and see why it’s called the Big Sky state.

The Montana Experience is still under development. We are currently working with our partners to plan a wonderful and inspirational trip. We hope that the descriptions below capture our mission and give you a sense of what is most likely to be included. But remember, nothing is set-in-stone yet.

Cost: TBD
Length: 9 days
Group size: 6-12
Intensity: Moderate

Why you’ll love The Montana Experience

Our Montana Experience takes you through breath-taking landscapes of blooming shortgrass prairies and giant snow-capped peaks as we explore the birdlife of the Big Sky state.
Starting in Montana’s eastern half, we soak in the sun and wildflowers as the songs of the prairie birds fill our ears. We partner with the American Prairie Preserve to gain access to the largest expanse of native shortgrass left in Montana. We learn about the role of Bison on the landscape and the ecology of different prairie species, not just birds!

Next, we move to the Flathead valley and Glacier National Park. Few words can do this national park justice. The craggy peaks of Glacier loom over us as we hike through pristine alpine tundra in search of hardy mountain species. We will learn about wildfire ecology and deep-time history that gives the national park it’s name. Wildflowers blooming and waterfalls glistening accent our time spent in one of the most spectacular places on Earth!

What makes this Experience unique

Partnering with the American Prairie Reserve (APR), we have the incredible opportunity to learn about the importance of Bison on the landscape and how the APR is working to preserve native habitat. Depending on the active research at the time, we may even visit some nests of different iconic prairie birds! Getting to see the hard work behind the scenes of saving America’s prairies and putting it in a real-life perspective is something you can only find with us!

In Glacier National Park, we will hear from the park’s biologists about different aspects of bird and wildlife ecology, from forest fire ecology to Harlequin Duck life cycles. There is a lot of history in Glacier NP, and we hope to have a seminar on the ancient history of our planet visible in the peaks and rocks in the park.

Each of our Experiences aims to support local conservation efforts and leave us with a feeling of deep understanding and appreciation for the landscape, the people, and the wildlife of every place we visit.

And yes, there will be birds!

Montana’s prairies hold some of the largest populations of threatened prairie birds, such as Baird’s Sparrows, Thick-billed Longspurs, Sprague’s Pipits, Long-billed Curlews, and Ferruginous Hawks. Our time in eastern Montana will focus on all of these specialties, along with all the other grassland species. We will visit Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge and see hundreds of nesting shorebirds and Franklin’s Gulls. With any luck, we will see Burrowing Owls, Short-eared Owls, Golden Eagles, and Prairie Falcons.

In Glacier National Park, our targets will be the various species that call the Rocky Mountains home, along with some high-elevation specialists like Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches, Boreal Chickadee, and White-tailed Ptarmigan. Of course, the birds common to the forests in GNP are often sought-after, like Black-backed and American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Dusky Grouse, Great Gray Owl, American Dipper, Varied Thrush, and Harlequin Duck.

American Dipper
Glacier NP
Prairie Views

Want to join us?

Registration will open in 2021. Sign up to receive updates on this Experience.