Let’s Celebrate our Community, Together
On May 5, #GivingTuesdayNow is a special chance to support our community
Here’s a quarantine lesson I’ve learned over the past few weeks: the best way to fight feelings of isolation isn’t to pull back, but to lean forward into the community that I value most. To embrace the people, and places, and wildlife that make me whole. To wear my love for my friends, family, and neighbors proudly on my sleeve. To tell and show others that I care.
As we live through times unlike what most of us have ever experienced, I’ve been amazed by the outpouring of kindness and compassion that I’ve seen across the board. Neighbors are helping each other run errands. Businesses are shifting their operations to produce hand sanitizer, masks, and gowns. Communities are rallying together to support medical professionals and other essential workers like grocery store clerks and truck drivers.
Update - #GivingTuesdayNow is May 5, 2020
On Tuesday, May 5, we’ll be participating in a new global day of giving - #GivingTuesdayNow. Organized as an urgent response to the Covid-19 pandemic, #GivingTuesdayNow is a chance for us to come together to support the community organizations that enrich our lives, at a time when many local groups are facing difficult circumstances. These organizations - from food banks to shelters, museums to health care providers, social justice organizations to music programs - are part of the fabric of our communities, no matter where we live, and they’ve never needed our support more than they do now.
At MWA, we’re proud to play a major role in our communities and the lives of our members and supporters. We come together every summer on Wilderness Walks, maintain our public land trails as part of the Volunteer Trail Crew, and learn and connect with each other at local events. We’re also a force to be reckoned with when we stand up - together - to protect the wild places that we hold dear.
This spring, we’ve already been blown away by the generosity and kindness of our wilderness community. In the face of isolation and distancing, you came together to raise over $8,000 dollars for MWA during Give Local events at the end of April, and we’re so thankful for your contribution. Never have the strength, resilience, and compassion of our wilderness community been more obvious.
If you gave during Give Local, thank you. If you have not yet given and are able to make a donation, #GivingTuesdayNow provides another opportunity to support the future of our beloved wild places. The importance of our public lands, forests, peaks, rivers, and prairies has never been so important to our physical and mental health and our sense of community. Thank you for supporting them, and us, during these trying times.
Original - Give Local is April 26, 2020
On the week of April 26, Give Local offers us a chance to extend that generosity, kindness, and support to the local organizations that make our communities stronger. For 24 hours (or longer, if you live near Great Falls), local nonprofits will be able to receive donations via Give Local’s online platforms (find your local event below). If you have the means, I encourage you to make a donation to the local organizations that mean the most to you and support the communities that give us so much strength.
And of course, if MWA is one of the organizations that has made a difference in your life, any contribution you’re able to make will be hugely appreciated. We’re doing everything we can to keep our wilderness community strong and connected during these times, and to protect the public lands are so important to our physical and mental health. I’ve shared some examples of just how we’re doing that, and I hope they inspire you during these challenging times.
In central and north-central Montana, your wilderness community comes together on Wilderness Walks in places like the Big Snowies, Middle Fork Judith, and Rocky Mountain Front. You also show up on Volunteer Trail Crew projects, like the one scheduled for this fall in Sluice Boxes State Park. We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to safely work together to maintain a trail that winds alongside Belt Creek and past the soaring cliffs and precipices of Belt Creek Canyon.
Your support also helps us stand by our Blackfeet tribal partners in their commitment to securing a wild future for the Badger and bring people together to protect wild public lands like the Big Snowies and Middle Fork Judith.
Folks like you in our Shining Mountains Chapter area share a love for the unparalleled wild places that lie out their backdoors, from the rocky summits of the Bitterroots to the lake basins and lush meadows of the Great Burn. This summer, with your help, our Volunteer Trail Crew will tackle a much-needed trail project in the Sapphires Wilderness Study at the southern end of the Bitterroot Valley. And if it’s safe to do so, I'm excited for you to join your friends and neighbors on Wilderness Walks in the Great Burn Recommended Wilderness, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and the Swan Range.
Chapter members like you have also united to influence the Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest Plan and support the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act, which will be pivotal in determining the future of the wild Great Burn and the crystal-clear headwaters of the Blackfoot and Clearwater Rivers, respectively.
The stewardship efforts of Madison-Gallatin Chapter rockstars like you take the headlines here, as chapter volunteers have organized maintenance projects on the Lava Lake, Cliff Lake, and Beehive Basin trails. On Wilderness Walks, your friends and neighbors will come together to explore the Snowcrest Range, Hyalite Porcupine Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area, and the Crazy Mountains – safety permitting, of course.
These adventures will take place in some of the wild places that the community has come together to try and protect for the long haul. These collaborative efforts, headlined by the Gallatin Forest Partnership and the Ruby Valley Strategic Alliance, are blazing the trail towards a wild, community-supported future in southern and southwest Montana, and you’re a huge part of making that happen.
Every summer, the Wilderness Walks up the Sleeping Giant are among the most popular in the state. Your passion for this adventure high above the Missouri River is inspiring, and we hope we'll be able to safely lead you up the Giant’s nose once again this summer.
Last summer, you came together with mountain biking and horse riding groups to begin building a new section of trail near Kading Cabin and the Electric Peak Recommended Wilderness. The community along the Continental Divide has also come together to support long-term conservation and recreation projects near Lincoln which will benefit wildlife, protect important wildlands, and strengthen the community.
Thanks for being a part of Montana’s amazing wilderness community and supporting the institutions that help make our lives whole. The generosity and kindness I’ve seen over the last weeks is inspiring, and I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of this big, wild family.