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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Here’s hoping UM gives the go-ahead to a new infant care center

Well, shoot. Looks like that new infant care center at the University of Montana isn’t going to be available just yet.

I guess it’s a good thing that ASUM is putting it to a student vote. The students should get a say in how their money is spent, after all. I just hope the student body recognizes how important newborn daycare services are to those who use them – parents and babies alike.

The vast majority of students at UM aren’t parents, and they may not know what it’s like to take care of kiddos and a course load at the same time. I applaud those new parents who are furthering their educations, improving their job prospects and building a better life for their families.

And I vividly remember what it was like when I toted my own newborn around campus nine years ago. I started taking Willow to class with me when she was two weeks old. She came to interviews with me and she spent a lot of time in the grungy old Kaimin offices, building up her immunities. Thankfully, I had very understanding, very supportive professors.

Of course, there were times when I absolutely couldn’t have Willow with me. I usually managed to cobble together help from friends and family for a few hours at a time. But it was always a stressful, seat-of-the-pants type of arrangement – and it remained so until I landed a gig at the Missoulian. That’s when my schedule finally became regular and predictable enough to arrange for a regular daycare provider.

Let me tell you something: Daycare for children younger than 2 is nearly impossible to find in Missoula, let alone GOOD daycare.

All children, especially babies, need the best possible care. Student parents need to know their children are in good hands when they can’t be with them.

I hope UM students will keep this in mind when they vote this Spring.

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ASUM Child Care accepting children of staff; it’s about time!

At long last! Children of University of Montana employees are – for the first time in 40 years – eligible for on-campus day care through ASUM (Associated Students of the University of Montana) Child Care.

UM students have always been able to enroll their kids in the popular program, and this move will only help the university become more family friendly.

Did I say popular? I seem to recall the program once had a waiting list. This was years ago, however – and in any case, ASUM Child Care now has a lot of space to fill, according to the story in today’s Missoulian:

But with less than a month before the start of classes, overall enrollment at the ASUM day care is still down slightly and organizers are concerned about having to close one of the five centers that serve children ages 18 months to 6 years if more slots are not filled.

They’re encouraging students attending classes in the fall who are interested in on-campus day care to sign up soon or more slots may open up for children of faculty and staff, or possibly even the general public.

Got that? Use it or lose it, ASUM student, staff and faculty.

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Young writers invited to summer camp just for them!

Ever heard of the Montana Writing Project? It’s a part of the National Writing Project, natch, which encourages teachers to help their students become better writers.

And one way for young people to become better writers is to write often and share their writing with others. While summer and the start of summer vacation would seem to work in opposition to this goal, that’s not necessarily the case in our neck of the woods – thanks to the Montana Writing Project.

This summer marks the seventh that the professional development organization is offering a Young Writers Summer Camp. It is specially geared toward youth who will be starting sixth, seventh, eighth or nineth grade when the school year starts.

“The program is designed for students who are interested in devoting time to their nonfiction, poetry and fiction; participating in a writing workshop; publishing in an anthology; and being members of a writing community. Participants receive individualized writing instruction, engage with other writers, and have opportunities to share their work.” So says the informative email sent to me from Merrilyne Lundahl, program coordinator for the Montana Writing Project.

The camp will be offered from June 20 to July 1, from 9 a.m. to 12:30, and it will take place in Liberal Arts Building Room 210 0n the University of Montana Campus, which houses the Montana Writing Project.

The cost is $175, which includes materials, instruction and snacks.

To sign up your kiddo or to learn more, shoot an email at mwp@umontana.edu or call 243-4680.

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Congressional Art Competition includes college scholarships for Montana winner

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the Congressional Art Competition and Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg urging Montana’s high school students to submit their own original artwork for consideration.

The winning entries from each state are displayed in the Cannon Tunnel at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The first runner-up from Montana gets to hang his or her artwork in Rehberg’s D.C. officer.

But wait – there’s more.

Last week (and here you can gauge just how far I’m running behind on reading my emails) Rehberg announced that the winner from Montana will also be offered college scholarships from the University of Montana and the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Wow, right?

The UM scholarship is for $1,000, and the winning artist has to enroll as an art major for the 2011-2012 school year. The Savannah scholarship is a $1,500 per year admission scholarship.

“The Congressional Art Competition is a great way for Montana’s young artists to be recognized and rewarded for their talents, and I’m thankful to the University of Montana and Savannah College for helping to allow a young Montana artist the opportunity to develop their skills as an art student,” said Rehberg in a prepared statement.

Details, details, details:

The competition is open to all students enrolled in a Montana high school or home-school equivalent. All submissions are due by Friday, April 22, 2011.  Further information, including official rules, guidelines, and instructions for submission, can be found online at http://rehberg.house.gov under the Art Competition heading in the Services tab.

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A summer camp for young writers

Know a kid who loves to write? Is that kid weeping over the fact that summer vacation may mean having less opportunities to write?

Check out the Montana Writing Project’s summer writing camp for sixth- to ninth-graders.

The Montana Writing Project is a “nationally recognized professional development organization for teachers dedicated to improving student writing,” according to program coordinator Merrilyne Lundahl. This will be its sixth annual Young Writers Summer Camp “designed for students who are interested in devoting time to their nonfiction, poety and fiction; participating in a writing workshop; publishing in an anthology; and being members of a writing community,” she writes. “Participants receive individualized writing instruction, engage with other writers, and have opportunities to share their work.”

The program runs on weekday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12:30, starting June 28 and wrapping up July 9. It takes place in Room 210 of the Liberal Arts Building on the University of Montana campus. The $175 cost covers materials, including snacks, and financial aid is available.

Interested? Give Lundahl a call at 243-4680 – and call soon, because space is sure to fill up fast.

– MM


Weekend news story roundup

Here’s a sweet story about two longtime educators retiring from Missoula County Public Schools. Caroline Pockolick is leaving Washington Middle School after 41 years in the Missoula school system, and George Sendon is leaving his post as Willard Alternative High School’s principal.

Also on Sunday, a report from the American Enterprise Institute gave Montana’s universities poor marks for graduation rates. According to the story, the study lists the University of Montana’s grad rate at a measly 42 percent, and Montana State University’s at 48 percent.

I also want to point out this opinion piece from U.S. Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell, urging folks to get their kids involved in National Get Outdoors Day this past Saturday. I can say we participated – the whole family went camping Saturday night, and we had a blast. Willow and the dogs played in the dirt, played in the water – heck, they even played with salmon flies – and got eaten by mosquitos despite the gallons of bug spray we used. Can’t wait to do it again!

– Tyler Christensen

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