Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Supports CFWEP with Equipment Grant for Youth Fly Fishing Camp

The Clark Fork Watershed Education Program (CFWEP) recently received a $4,704 equipment grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for their summer youth fly fishing and conservation camp. This grant will purchase brand-new fly rods and safety gear for the 2023 season. It also is matched by funds from the Capacity Building Challenge Grant from The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation to help pay for the camp facility, healthy food for the campers, and maintain low tuition costs.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's Chris Doyle said, "There are kids who have never caught a fish or had the chance to turn a rock over in a stream and see the teeming life that supports a healthy ecosystem. We are proud to support this non-profit educational organization which does so much for Montana youth!"

Housed at Montana Technical University, CFWEP was founded in 2005 to expand environmental literacy and stewardship through field-based science and research experiences. CFWEP is a non-advocational program of distinction at Montana Tech and an early entry point to the STEM pipeline and higher education.

"Conservation groups are natural partners for our program. We share a passion for the resource, which requires stewardship to thrive," said Rayelynn Brandl, Executive Director of CFWEP. "Introducing the love of the sport during childhood will pay lifelong dividends as future generations continue to protect Montana's forests, streams, and wildlife."

The Southwest Montana Fly Fishing and Conservation Camp is just one of the programs that CFWEP staff use to engage students and teachers from around Montana. Students across the Clark Fork Watershed also receive five days of programming from CFWEP, learning about the region's mining history and Superfund designation, as well as the remediation, restoration, and recovery efforts that followed. CFWEP educational programs have touched over 75,000 students since 2005.

Past and potential funders have requested that CFWEP diversify its funding sources and demonstrate private interest and local support for its ongoing mission. The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation has stepped forward with a $60,000 capacity-building challenge grant to help CFWEP incent individual and corporate donations during the transition. If you'd like to donate or get involved in inspiring the changemakers, scientific thinkers, and problem-solvers of tomorrow, check out cfwep.org/support or call Melissa Wanamaker, Director, Community Engagement and Development at (406) 490-4790 or mwanamaker@mtech.edu.