|Friday, April 22nd
1:40 PM - 2:00 PM
Honors faculty often engage students in service-learning and community-engaged courses to help them learn curricular concepts, develop skills in responsible citizenship, and positively impact their community. In fall 2020 and spring 2021, the Davidson Honors College worked with the Free Verse Writing Project, a nonprofit organization serving incarcerated youth, with the primary goal of bringing the writing and voices of young, incarcerated authors into the college classroom to give their stories a wider audience. Our presentation will explore a case study of this successful partnership and its ongoing development, with a particular focus on our perspective as honors students. We will discuss the partnership itself, its impact on students, and the ongoing scholarship and community leadership that emerged from it. Finally, we will explore the value this project has as a service learning experience and the theoretical implications of developing such a partnership in an honors setting. The success of this partnership speaks to the benefits of reading as a form of service learning in which students in the classroom bear witness to the lives and struggles of marginalized voices, which in this case positively impacted both students in the classroom and the community partner.
Allison Simko, University of Montana, Missoula
2:20 PM - 2:40 PM
The 1964 Wilderness Act was a landmark legislation created under unique circumstances, but its legacy no longer pertains solely to the culture it was created in. This paper seeks to address the present impacts of the themes and emotionality of language used in the Wilderness Act, specifically the term “untrammeled,” on modern Wilderness recreation policies and individual opinions. To fully understand the impacts of describing wilderness as an area that is “untrammeled,” this research is split into two parts. In the first part, I review and analyze outstanding literature regarding the variables that led to the creation of and specific language used in the Wilderness Act. In the second part of the project, I analyze current Wilderness recreation policies, including qualitative data analysis through a series of interviews with Montana Wilderness stakeholders, to explore how the concept of “untrammeled” continues to affect Wilderness recreation policy formation and individuals’ opinions. This research aims at connecting the prevailing ideologies of the political actors who influenced the creation of the Wilderness Act to current Wilderness recreation management, ultimately helping facilitate future Wilderness recreation policies that are inclusive, equitable, and maintain the essence of the 1964 Wilderness Act.
Josef D. Pifer, University of Montana, Missoula
4:00 PM - 4:20 PM
Fire-mitigation practices are commonly used in fire-adapted forests of the western US to reduce fire hazard and restore historical fire regimes. However, these treatments are being implemented without synthetic knowledge on the extent to which they may adversely affect species of conservation concern due to the possible alteration of critical habitat features they rely on. Although some studies have been done, to date there has not been a synthesis of information or recommendations for a strategic agenda of future research. To accomplish this, I conducted a bibliometric review of articles identified in Web of Science that assessed the effect of fire mitigation practices in western North American forests on three sensitive owl species: Spotted owls (Strix occidentalis), great gray owls (Strix nebulosa) and flammulated owls (Psiloscops flammeolus). Most articles (77%) studied California spotted owls (S. o. occidentalis) and thus occurred in California; in contrast, few articles studied impacts on Mexican spotted owls (S. o. lucida) or northern spotted owls (S. o. caurina), both of which are federally listed subspecies, one article focused on great gray owls and none focused on flammulated owls. Most studies (94%) occurred in dry forests with frequent fire regimes and on federally owned land. Most importantly few studies (5%) used experimental designs that avoid confounding treatment effects with spatial or temporal variation in owl observations, indicating an overall lack of information on treatment effects. I suggest future research should focus on employing a before-after control-impact (BACI) design to avoid confounding treatment effects with background variation. Research should also prioritize assessing effects on federally listed subspecies of the spotted owl beyond the California spotted owl, and other sensitive owl species besides spotted owls.
4:20 PM - 4:40 PM
Wildfire is an importance disturbance that continues to shape the ecosystems of the Northern Rockies and Interior Northwest through varying patterns of frequency and severity. Due to historical fire suppression and the hotter and drier conditions brought upon by anthropogenic climate change, wildfire frequency and severity is increasing. These increases will alter vegetation structure and composition, but the degree to which is unknown.
Understanding how individual plant traits that reduce fire-related mortality differ between species and change with tree age can offer insight into how these vegetation communities will shift. Two traits associated with increased wildfire survival are thicker bark and quicker juvenile height growth. The purpose of this study is to quantify how bark width and tree height vary among juveniles of three conifer species and identify if there are tradeoffs between bark width and height growth. To determine which species use which strategies, I will measure bark width and tree height for 300 juvenile western larch (Larix occidentalis), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) that established following wildfires. These seedlings were destructively sampled across field sites in the Northern Rockies and Interior Northwest including Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon from areas that burned 5-20 years ago. Using the computer program ImageJ, I will measure bark width from images of cross sections at the root-shoot boundary. Then I will compare bark width and height data collected in the field to tree ages. This study will help to identify which species has the highest likelihood of surviving wildfire at the juvenile stage and thus may be more successful in a future with more frequent fire. Furthermore, it can help inform choices land management agencies make about which species to replant following a fire.
Reyer M. Fenoff
4:40 PM - 5:00 PM
The Rocky Mountains of western Montana have long been experiencing tectonic compression and extension that has shaped much of western North America. This activity consistently produces seismic events, like the 6 July 2017 M 5.8 earthquake just south of Lincoln, MT, that help constrain structure beneath the surface of the Earth. Seismic mapping is vital to understanding structure and tectonic activity in western Montana as well as in analogous locations across the world. Recently deployed seismometers from the University of Montana alongside the existing seismic network from the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology have been collecting continuous data from seismic events that can be mapped using QuakeMigrate software. Microseismic event data from the University of Montana Seismic Network (UMSN) has not previously been cataloged for earthquakes and potentially contains hundreds or thousands of seismic events that will allow for an updated structural analysis of western Montana with unprecedented precision, as well as detailed analyses of aftershock evolution and crustal stress state. Large events, like the Lincoln, Montana event in 2017, are noticeable and garner significant attention, but are rare. Smaller events, while they may not be felt at the surface or even register in some seismometers, are much more common and therefore can provide a more thorough understanding of the Earth’s subsurface structure, thus motivating the need for a detailed catalog. We use QuakeMigrate to create an earthquake catalog using data from the 12 stations in the UMSN and stations from the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Seismic Network (MBMG) near Lincoln to detect and locate aftershocks following the M 5.8 Lincoln, Montana event. The catalog includes origin times, hypocentral locations, and magnitudes of earthquakes that have occurred since the Lincoln, Montana event in 2017.