Putting your good intentions of supporting nonprofits in the Bitterroot Valley is made easier during the 24-hour online #GivingTuesday event on Dec. 3.
Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement encouraging people to transform their communities and the world. The year-round movement shines on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as people around the world participate by giving back in a way that is meaningful to them, from giving to nonprofits, participating in food drives, volunteering at a local animal shelter or by doing an act of kindness.
Bitter Root Water Forum (BRWF) and Bitterroot Ecological Awareness Resources (BEAR) are two local nonprofits participating in the global day of donating time, money, voices via social media and collaboration.
Bitter Root Water Forum is a community driven nonprofit organization dedicated to the traditions of agriculture, community and recreation by protecting, enhancing and restoring the Bitterroot Watershed through projects and education.
Heather Barber, executive director of the Bitter Root Water Forum, celebrates the online giving event.
"Giving Tuesday is a great time to highlight the incredible work nonprofits are doing in our community,” she said. "The Bitter Root Water Forum builds community around the river. We do on the ground restoration to improve water quality and wildlife habitat.”
Bitter Root Water Forum works to bring the community together through education and projects to protect, enhance and restore the Bitterroot watershed. They have completed 12 restoration projects and have exciting restoration projects planned for the next few years including working with ranchers on Burnt Fork and Fish Wildlife and Parks in the Threemile Wildlife Management Area.
BRWF continually provides watershed education working with adults and youth. They partner with schools to excite students about the natural world and inspire future generations towards water resources stewardship. They host hosts adult tours and forums to show people restoration projects and aspects of water in the area like irrigation and answer questions about water in general.
BRWF also hosts an annual Bitterroot River Clean Up and has a program to supply reusable clean-up bags to folks who recreate on and near the river.
BRWF was established in 1993 by five concerned grandmothers (Darlene Grove, Jean Atthowe, Shirley Bugli, Willie Christ and Millie Sullivan) and a Ravalli County Extension agent who joined together to learn more about our watershed and then decided to share what they learned with the community. BRWF has evolved into a collaborative watershed group and officially became a 501(c) nonprofit organization in 2004.
Visit the Bitter Root Water Forum website to help bring the community together for the watershed with a one-time gift or a monthly recurring gift the forum has called “Become a Tributary.”
"Donations from individuals make a huge impact,” Barber said. “Having people support our work allows us to do so much more for our waters."
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Reach BRWF at 406-375-2272, 178 South 2nd Street in Hamilton or online at www.brwaterforum.org.
Bitterroot Ecological Awareness Resources is an outdoor-based mentoring program designed to inspire youth and help them connect to their own potential, community and landscape through experiential and outdoor adventure programs.”
BEAR was established in 1993 and became a nonprofit in 2000 expanding outdoor programming, summer camps and mentoring. Currently through Venture Out, summer camps and the Venture Ed, over 300 youth experience strengths-based support and outdoor connection each year.
This fall, BEAR completed building a High Ropes Challenge Course at Hieronymus Park in Hamilton. The impressive park has four traversing elements, two vertical elements (including a climbing wall), one leaping element and one swinging element to offer a variety of challenge levels for developing and testing strength, endurance and courage. The community resource can be used for educational purposes like team building, self-esteem building, leadership, communication and goal setting as it builds confidence and helps groups feel more cohesive. For more information or to use the ropes course contact Katie DeFelice at 406-363-5410 or email@example.com.
On Giving Tuesday, BEAR is raising scholarship funds for the fees to use the course and to cover $12,000 last-minute required construction costs.
Executive Director Diane Olsen said the scholarship fund is for any youth group who finds the fees a barrier to participation.
“$200 sponsors a group of up to 15 youth on the ropes course, $500 sponsors a classroom group for a ropes course field trip and $1,000 sponsors an entire grade of students for a day of activities on the course,” Olsen said. “We facilitate everything from birthday parties to corporate teambuilding: school, church, Youth Home, therapeutic groups and more.”
The Ropes course has ongoing maintenance, upkeep and staff training costs that the use-fees cover.
“We want to have plenty of scholarship funds available so that all individuals and groups of any income level can continue to access the course,” Olsen said.
Unexpected construction costs included additional materials, labor and concrete because “the crew hit a bed of rock that would not hold the anchors properly for the telephone poles.”
BEAR has a few donors who are offering to match funds raised on Giving Tuesday making donations have a larger impact.