Bigfork Cave Club
We worked on four basic areas of conserving natural caves across the state of Montana. These areas include graffiti and trash removal from vandalized caves, monitoring of resources in caves in good condition, computerizing our data into ArcGIS, and a non-collective method of studying invertebrates. We chose to do this because the cave club started as a recreation club and then we noticed a lot of trash and graffiti in caves. As a result we decided to focus our club on the conservation of caves, which was just a stepping stone to more in depth cave conservation methods.
Overall the trip to Washington D.C. was an eye opening and life altering experience. We were able to meet many unique and interesting people from around the country, we even made a few friends. We met iconic figures such as President Barack Obama, Philippe Cousteau, and Xabier Arzuaga; this was all a great honor and a humbling experience. Besides meeting such amazing and highly renowned figures, we also were served food by a woman who had been starving in Ethiopia and were driven to the airport by a Somalian immigrant who was eternally grateful for government. These experiences made us realize how lucky we are to live in America.
This award meant a lot to us and the ceremony couldn’t have been better. Everyone was saying what an inspiration we were, but we were the ones who were truly inspired by everything that happened on the trip. The President’s Environmental Youth Award made us realize that our efforts are not in vain and that this is something that should be continued. PEYA was a defining moment in what we want to do with our futures. We both plan to incorporate conservation in our future careers with the conservation of coral reefs, caves, and all of the world’s natural resources.
About the Authors: Tia Bakker and Ernie Cottle are high school students in Big Fork, Montana. They are EPA Region 8’s President’s Environmental Youth Award recipients in 2009, and recently paid a visit to Washington, D.C. to receive their award from Administrator Jackson.
The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.
EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.
EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.