A new club being formed on campus will give students the opportunity to get outdoors and explore the flora and fauna of the Havre region.
Jaakko Puisto is the faculty adviser for the club, or will be if everything goes according to plan. Puisto and other Montana State University-Northern faculty met with representatives of the Montana Wilderness Association last week to discuss forming the Wilderness Club at MSU-N.
“We have to have a couple meetings about it,” Puisto said.
The club’s first meeting is scheduled for March 19, where those interested in forming the club will elect people into official positions, discuss bylaws, decide on an official name for the club and look at the requirements for organizing a club at the university. There must be a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer and at least three officers in order to make the club official.
“Student interest has been expressed in the club,” Puisto said.
The club would be focused around wilderness hikes and advocating wilderness in general, Puisto said. Club members would also be doing research on and cataloguing flora and fauna in Montana.
There would be a potential for student internships through the club as well, Puisto said.
“It’s a co-op class,” Puisto said. “Students in all kinds of fields could take it. Students would take the class and do some field research.”
Carol Reifschneider is a science professor at MSU-N and is helping put the club together.
“Some of those that are interested in science and Montana nature would be interested in the club,” Reifschneider said. “There is hope that through this club we can provide students with an opportunity to learn about the trails in the Havre area.”
Much of the focus of the club would be centered around hiking, Reifschneider said. One of the goals would be to help the caretakers of Beaver Creek Park in developing databases of native species of flora and fauna in the park.
Reifschneider said the club would also participate in campus activities and fundraisers like any other club on campus.
Communication and cooperation with similar clubs at universities such as MSU in Bozeman and the University of Great Falls to organize joint trips would eventually be considered, Puisto said.
Puisto said the co-op class could be a reality soon, but it depends on how many students sign up for it.
He said any student interested in the co-op class could meet him, Reifschneider or Barbara Zuck to get information on how to sign up for it.
The club is still in the works and its existence will not be set in stone until there is enough involvement to warrant it.
“At this point, it’s a little unclear whether this club will become a reality,” Puisto said. “It depends on students’ interest. If the students decide not to organize, it won’t be.”
Reifschneider said after spring break, there will be a larger effort to organize the club and set up some activities for the spring. She said the groundwork and planning for activities in the fall semester will be set up if the club is established and in the fall there would be a membership drive to get students signed up.
Puisto said any interested students can attend the club’s first meeting from 11:30 to 1 p.m. March 19 at the Vande Bogart Library conference room.
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