- August 22, 2018
- Posted by Casey Gallagher
When applying for Big Sky Watershed Corps, headquartered in Bozeman, MT, many applicants get the vision of mountains, endless recreation opportunities, blue ribbon trout streams, and amenities due to the large population hub. During my interview, I was asked if I had any place I’d like to be in Montana. I wanted an experience, so I didn’t mind straying away from Bozeman. I ended up in the Milk River watershed in Malta, North Central Montana (some would call it Eastern). I’m now in my second BSWC term, and couldn’t imagine a better place to call “home”.
Coming from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains to the prairie is a major transition. I had never seen an actual prairie before! Holy cow, seriously, this is cow country! I had no idea how hard landowners worked to maintain these stunning grasslands. Not only is it providing habitat for wildlife, it provides a livelihood for farmers and ranchers, it creates breath taking sunrises and sunsets, hunting opportunities that people dream about, unique flora, and a different vista over each coulee. I could do without the mosquitos though!
One of my favorite things about these rural Hi-Line communities is the people! Wowza, what a tight-knit community. These people do not stop! They have proven their resilience and continue to do so to ensure future generations the opportunity to enjoy what they have now. Many people wear about 15 different hats, and it inspired me to contribute to the community beyond work duties. I am so lucky to be serving for the Milk River Watershed Alliance, it will forever change my outlook on life. (Shameless plug, check out http://www.milkriverwatershedalliance.com to see how unique this essential watershed is).
Prior to living in Malta, I can honestly say I had no idea how to two-step or jitterbug, have never moved a tarp for flood irrigation, have never wrestled a calf, and I didn’t quite expect most of my friends to be over 50. I have learned so much that seems common-sensical to these communities. I really appreciate their willingness to teach me, considering I had a lot to catch up on!
My advice to anyone is this: put yourself out there, admit what you don’t know, be proud of what you do know, be humble and genuine, and be flexible. You just might find yourself in the best place in Montana, and you didn’t even realize it!
Big Sky Watershed Corps Member serving for the Milk River Watershed Alliance
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