GREAT FALLS — After a year that will forever be remembered for the COVID-19 pandemic, officials with Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest are teaming up with the Montana Discovery Foundation to help Montanans remember what they love most about the Treasure State’s public lands.
From now until March 22, you can submit a short story about how Montana public lands have had a positive impact on your life over the past year. Contest winners will win a free overnight stay at the Cummings Cabin near Lincoln in July. Stories must be 500 words or less, and should include the following information: writer’s name, phone number, email address, the category to which you’re submitting your story, and a photo to go with your story.
“The year or so that we've experienced with the virus is giving people a chance to sort of reflect on the positive things that we do have,” said Montana Discovery Foundation Conservation Education Coordinator, Matthew Ferrell. “I'm hoping that public lands become something that we come out of this feeling very grateful and appreciative for, especially living in Montana, where we have so much access to these places where we can social distance, we can still get outside, we can still do a lot of these activities that are, I think, a part of who we are culturally.”
The two categories for the contest are Youth, for anyone 18 years old or younger, and General, for everyone else. Anyone submitting stories in the Youth category must include the name and phone number of their parent or guardian.
Ferrell says that a big focus of the Montana Discovery Foundation is educating the state’s youth. They typically do a lot of work with local schools and other youth organizations, and make efforts to help kids growing up in Montana that they are living amongst some of the most unique public lands in the world.
“That's kind of the focus of my work and the work more broadly with the foundation is getting kids to grow up in this environment of appreciation for what we have in our backyard and learning more about it,” he explained. “That’s definitely a part of wanting to have some youth engagement as well as some adult engagement. So that there's kind of a multi-generational component to the work that we do.”
To submit a short story to the Winter Writing Contest, email your submission to MontanaDiscoveryFoundation@gmail.com with the subject “Winter Writing Contest” before March 22 at 5 P.M. For more details about the contest, visit the Montana Discovery Foundation website.