Projects We Support
FFA Emergency Assistance Benefits Lewis & Clark Humane Society
When the Lewis & Clark Humane Society called FFA in October 1998 for help it was truly an emergency. There was no room at the Society's animal shelter for 53 dogs taken by the County in a cruelty case. Some of the dogs needed immediate veterinary care; all needed temporary refuge. FFA opened its doors to provide shelter in a building at the future home of the new wildlife rehabilitation center. The Foundation also provided funds to help cover veterinary care and other costs.
The mixed-breed dogs, including puppies, were transported from Arkansas to Montana in the summer of 1998. Concerned citizens contacted authorities who obtained a search warrant and found deplorable conditions. The dogs were chained in a building without adequate food or water and were standing in their own excrement - and most of the animals were terrified of human touch. A court order was obtained to put the dogs in the temporary care of the Humane Society.
In December 1998, the owner was found guilty of cruelty to animals and the dogs were awarded to the Society. The dogs were spayed and neutered with financial help from FFA and other donors.
All of the dogs have been adopted. For more information about other adoptable pets, call the Lewis & Clark Humane Society at (406) 442-1660, or visit the Society's web site at www.mtlchs.org or Montana Pets on the Net at www.montanapets.org.
Duck Feeding Program
With generous contributions from FFA friends, the Foundation has provided for the care and feeding of ducks and other water fowl at the Lewis & Clark Fairgrounds pond since 1990.
Duck Pond Renovation
A project the Foundation found worthy of support was the effort to improve and protect the environment for wildlife at the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds duck pond.
The pond had been abused and neglected for years, making it impossible to sustain wildlife. FFA funding and help from Growing Friends of Helena and a local nursery made possible the planting of over 100 trees and shrubs, a sprinkling system and a fence to protect the pond and nesting areas of birds, geese and ducks. Wildlife and visitors enjoy the improved habitat. FFA also provides funding for a winter feeding program at the duck pond.
Montana Wildlife Center
One challenge facing Montana is the growing number of orphaned and injured animals resulting from increased pressures on wildlife and habitat. For many years, wild animals from across the state were brought to the shelter on Custer Avenue in Helena.
While this shelter served its purpose, it was never meant to be a rehabilitation center. Located in a busy, commercial section of town, it lacked appropriate heating and light. The cages were cramped and allowed humans too much contact with the animals, thereby reducing the successful return of the animals to their natural habitat.
That's why the Foundation for Animal, in partnership with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the USDA Forest Service raised funds to complete a new facility at the south end of Spring Meadow Lake State Park.
Habitat. Purchase or preservation of habitat is an excellent means of maintaining quality animal populations and protecting diverse species. The Foundation for Animals provides financial assistance to programs that obtain, preserve, and manage habitat.
Cubs grow to be great bears
Broadwater Cubs grow up to be Great Bears has long been the slogan for Broadwater School students. The slogan acquired new significance last year when the students adopted the black bear as their school animal. The children studied their bear mascot, explored habitat needs and developed strong feelings about the value of bears.
The black bear has lived in Montana a long time; it is a "Montana animal". Black bears come in lots of colors from brown to cinnamon. They can weigh up to 275 pounds, but the male bear is usually bigger. They're omnivores. They eat plants, berries and meat. In the fall they eat up to 20 hours a day! Sometimes they eat human garbage and pet food and become pests. Then they have to be removed or killed. It's not their fault. Humans should keep their food away from bears.
They hibernate in winter. Bears sleep in lots of different kinds of dens. They will hibernate in rock caves, beneath shrubs or trees, or in thickets. Cubs are born in January while the mother is still hibernating. Cubs weigh about as much as a can of soda pop when they are born. They stay in the den and eat while their mother sleeps. When they all come out in the spring, the cubs can weigh about 15 pounds apiece.
Humans are the biggest threat to black bears. Bears need space without humans. If you happen to camp in bear country, keep your camp very clean. Remember not to eat in your tent or sleeping bag and don't leave food out. Don't leave crumbs because they might lead a bear to your tent.
Broadwater students give some reasons why we should all care for these bears:
They balance the ecosystem.
They create jobs for scientists.
It would be boring without bears. They make nature pretty.
Bears are good for taking pictures…they make good photographs.
They're part of the food chain.
They teach us how to survive in the wilderness -- like, they eat berries.
We need bears. They eat stuff we don't like.
Bears are important to the earth because they eat bugs.
Bears keep the berry population down, and if there were too many berries, there would be too many blackbirds.
They keep the fish population down…but we eat fish too!?
Bears help keep rodents away so our plants can survive.
You should save the black bears, because if you don't the earth will overflow with honey.
Smokey the Bear reminds you to put out your fire when going to sleep or leaving the forest.
Bears make caves and whenever people camp they can use them.
Every animal should be treated properly.
Because we're Broadwater Cubs.
They make going to the parks more exciting. The wilderness wouldn't be the same without being able to spot a black bear.
Black bears could become endangered if people kill them.
They help their babies live, so don't kill their parents.
This is their world too! Every animal should be treated properly.
One Broadwater student summed it up succinctly. "Would you like it if bears ruled the world, and you were endangered, and they did nothing?"
Adopt-A-Species Elementary School Program
The Adopt - A - Species Program is a joint effort of the Foundation for Animals, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Helena National Forest and participating schools. This week's column was provided by Broadwater Elementary School students.
Jefferson Elementary School students in Helena held an art show and benefit auction at the Holter Museum on April 29, 1997. Shown and auctioned were works of art made by the students. Proceeds from the silent auction were donated to the Montana Wildlife Center building campaign.
This was the second year the school has held such an event at the Holter. The auction included several pieces from Helena-area professional artists, who also made an appearance at a school assembly to explain their art.
The following and similar articles have appeared in various issues of the Independent Record.3