Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism

Department or School/College

School of Journalism

Committee Chair

Joe Eaton

Commitee Members

Lee Banville, Dane Scott


whitebark, journalism, narrative, Flathead, long-form, science-writing


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Environmental Studies | Human Geography | Nature and Society Relations


When it comes to managing natural resources in the face of global climate change, sometimes localized action is best. Rick Everett spent a lot of time in western forests - first as a ski patroller and logger and then as an ecologist - before landing as a professor at a tribal community college on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Now he faces a challenging new question: How do you save a tree species that is ecologically valuable to the forest and culturally valuable to Native American tribes, but is being pushed toward extinction by forces varied, deadly and driven by climate change? Everett has found himself in a race to save the Flathead’s whitebark pine, an endangered species. Success depends on acting quickly, working with tribal governments and spending a lot more time in the woods. On the reservation, an increased flexibility for active forest management gives Everett a high chance of success with whitebark restoration, while also restoring traditional Native American forestry techniques. Everett needs to find 60 still-healthy trees in order to jump start the whitebark population, and over the last two years he’s found 20. Because the tree grows high in the mountains, the time in which he can search is limited to after the winter snow melts but before squirrels and birds harvest the tree’s precious pinecones and the seeds they hold. This story of science on the front lines brings you along with Everett as he probes roads in the reservation’s mountainous borders at the start of spring. Along the way, it will examine forestry practices on a Native American reservation, outside the strictures of federal mandates.



© Copyright 2016 Andrew S. Graham