Sweet! Honey Harvest Festival will be family-friendly

Mmm. Honey.

It’s good on toast and, mixed with hot water and cinnamon, it’s my go-to all-natural remedy for coughs and scratchy throats.

Next weekend, the first-ever Missoula Honey Harvest Festival will take place on the University of Montana Oval. It’s free, open to the community and best of all, family-friendly.

At the festival, local beekeepers and others in the bee business will have their wares on display and for sale. Festival-goers will also be treated to tastes, and will get to see live bees in a glass hive. They’ll get to learn about bees and can even try their hand at building a beehive.

There’s also going to be a honey auction for charity. And G. Wiz. (otherwise known as University of Montana chemistry professor Garon Smith) will offer his trademark educational entertainment for kids. Also, American Honey Princess (there really is such a thing!) Elena Huffman will travel all the way from Pennsylvania to be there. I look forward to seeing what she’s wearing. I hope it’s really princess-y and bee-themed.


Meanwhile, UM is hosting two “bee-related academic conferences,” according to a university news release: The 37th Annual Western Apicultural Society Conference and the second International Conference on Hive and Honeybee Monitoring. They will take place from Sept. 17-20.

“The conferences will provide great information to beekeepers and researchers, but the Honey Harvest Festival will be a fun celebration of the honey bee and local beekeepers,” Jerry Bromenshenk, a UM bee scientist and instructor of the UM School of Extended & Lifelong Learning’s Online Beekeeping Certificate Program, is quoted saying in the news release. “This is a great chance for those who are interested in beekeeping to meet folks who can help them get started.”

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Check out the Children’s Museum’s new exhibits for free!

You can tell a new school year is underway by the (in)frequency of my posts here. Busy busy busy!

On nice days when we don’t have anything else scheduled, we bike to school. It helps us work some wiggles out before the school day starts and settle down after school.

But now that I have a kiddo getting out of school and another at 3:30, then activities twice or three times a week that start at 4, we’ve having to drive the van to get where we’re going on time. Or relatively close to on time.

In the scramble I’ve missed posting a lot of stuff, but I wanted to make not to not miss free admission day at the Missoula Children’s Museum. It’s this Friday, Sept. 12, and it’s a chance to come check out the new September exhibits.

The two new exhibits were installed just yesterday, and they were kept secret so as to be a surprise.

So come downtown with the kids on Friday and be surprised!

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Juniors get to take ACT for free for second year in a row

Oh, the SAT, ACT and all those other tests. For many students, the only thing worse than being forced to take a test is having to pay for the privilege. The ACT alone can cost up to $50 bucks a pop.

Fortunately, Montana landed a grant that allows it to offer free ACT tests for four full years. This is the second year Montana’s public-school students in their junior year of high school get to take the test, fee-free.

Testing starts tomorrow! From the Montana Office of Public Instruction:

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Free admission to Children’s Museum this Friday

The weather in Missoula looks … iffy … today. It’s supposed to be sunnier, but colder, by the weekend. But who knows for sure?

If you’re looking for a bad-weather contingency plan, take note that the Children’s Museum is offering free admission this Friday.

As usual, the water table, dinosaur dig, treehouse, dentist/doctor room and tons of other great exhibits will be available for kiddos to explore. Also, for those who don’t have work or school in the late morning, there’s a taekwondo class taught by Master Corbin starting at 11 a.m.


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Free admission to Children’s Museum on Valentine’s Day

Do you and your kids heart the Children’s Museum?

Well, the Children’s Museum hearts you too!

On Valentine’s Day – that’s Friday, Feb. 14 – the museum is offering free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition to enjoying its regular programs, kiddos can make a valentine while they’re visiting.

Thank the  Plum Creek Foundation for sponsoring this lovely event.

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More free admission days at Children’s Museum Missoula

Believe it or not, this Friday, Jan. 3, is the First Friday of a brand-new year.

As usual, the Children’s Museum Missoula will be opening its doors from 5-7 p.m. Stop by with the kiddos and check out artwork provided by Missoula International School students.

Admission during those hours will be free, as well as free all day long the next day, Saturday, Jan. 4, during open hours from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday’s free admission is thanks to the support of ZillaState.

Not a bad way to kick off the first week of 2014.

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A Christmas present from the Carousel: free rides!

Theresa Cox, executive director of A Carousel for Missoula, just sent out the news that the Carousel will be offering free rides on Christmas Day – that’s tomorrow, folks! – from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. as its “Christmas gift to the community.”


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Enjoy the Children’s Museum for free on first Saturday of 2014

The Children’s Museum in Missoula offers a ton of free admission days throughout the year. They have a whole “free admission series” they’re doing. And good thing, too. I’ve noticed that whenever they offer free admission, the place is packed.

My kids prefer to have the place to themselves, and I’m happy to pay the $4.25-per-person price of admission during off hours, especially during inclement weather. For less than the price of a matinee, we get hours and hours of indoor fun.

Here’s the scoop on the next free day:

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Educators invited to ski for free at Big Sky

For the sixth year, Big Sky Resort is hosting an Educator Appreciation Weekend. It’s Big Sky’s way of saying “thanks for the great job teachers and education assistants do for our children’s futures.”

It’ll be from Dec. 20-22, so that all you educators out there some time to plan for it. Stay at Big Sky on Friday or Saturday night, bring proof of employment at any educational institution, and get a free lift ticket on Saturday and Sunday.

Educators who opt not to stay at the resort can still get a half-priced lift ticket for either day for themselves and their family members. Plus, Big Sky is also extending discounts for educators interested in lessons, base camp activities or rentals.

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It’s College Application Week for MT high schools

It’s College Application Week!

Who knew?

Who cares?

Well, all of Montana’s high school seniors certainly should. For this week only (Nov. 11-15), seniors from 84 high schools in Montana can apply to 18 participating colleges and universities – without having to pay the application fee.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and state Superintendent of Public  Education Denise Juneau were in a Helena high school to talk about the Montana GEAR UP program, which is the result of the Office of Public Instruction partnering with the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.

Montana GEAR UP is aimed at getting more students in Montana to pursue higher education. According to the latest numbers, only 61 percent of our high school graduates immediately enrolled in a post-secondary education institution after graduating.

GEAR UP covers more than 5,200 seniors, and allows them to waive or defer payment for one college or university application this week only.

“There are so many opportunities available for the class of 2014, and I want to make sure students and families are aware of their options for life after high school,”  Superintendent Juneau said in a prepared statement. “We know that Montana has some of the brightest students in the country, and we want to get these bright students enrolled in post-secondary programs. Ensuring today’s students are trained for the jobs of tomorrow supports a strong economic future for our entire state.”

For his part, Governor Bullock had this to say: “When a Montana student has the opportunity to gain an education beyond high school—be it 2-year or 4-year program—they’re better equipped to find a job that will allow them to provide for themselves and their families, as well as playing a pivotal role in our state’s economy. We should be doing everything we can to remove barriers to educational opportunities for Montana students.”

Here’s more from the news release:

In 2011, OCHE was awarded a seven-year, $28 million GEAR UP grant, a portion of which is covering the cost of every public high school junior in Montana having access to the ACT Plus Writing test for the next five years. In 2013, more than 9,000 public school juniors took the ACT Plus Writing test this spring at no cost to their families. The results of the statewide ACT testing of all public school juniors include: 840 more students qualified for the Governor’s “Best and Brightest” scholarship, 520 more students are eligible for full admission into one of Montana’s four-year colleges, and 754 more students are eligible for provisional admission into a four-year college than the class of 2013.

“Now it’s time for seniors to put their ACT results to work and find a good college match,” said Commissioner Clayton Christian. “I am appreciative of Montana’s great colleges and universities who have eliminated a critical college access barrier by generously offering to defer or waive the application fee for College Application Week.”

The Helena High counseling department will offer time in the afternoon on campus every day during the week of November 11-15 for seniors to get assistance as they fill out and complete their college admissions application. Representatives from Helena College and Carroll College will also be on site.

Chrissy Murgel, counselor at HHS stated, “We are excited about College Application Week and the doors it begins to open for our students. We tell our students at Helena High that a high school diploma is not the end of their education, but rather what is required to lead them into the next stage of their journey.” She continued, “Whether it’s a certificate program, a two-year program or a four-year program, students must further their education to be competitive in today’s job market. A high school diploma is not enough to feed a family and live a comfortable life.”

The American College Application Campaign (ACAC) is a national effort to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential. The primary purpose of this effort is to help high school seniors navigate the complex college admissions process and ensure they apply to at least one postsecondary institution. The effort occurs during the school day, with a focus on students who might not otherwise apply to college.

Montana GEAR UP is a federal Department of Education college access grant program administered by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.  Montana GEAR UP provides services to schools, students and families to increase the number of first-generation and low income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in college.   At the invitation of the American Council on Education, Montana GEAR UP piloted Montana College Application Week in 2012 with four high schools.

Click here for a list of the 84 high schools and 18 colleges and universities participating in College Application Week.

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