Montana trip planned for biology research

by Brandi E. Baumeister
Staff Writer

Dr. Robert T. Neher, chair of the natural science division and professor of biology, is organizing a trip to Drummond, Mont., to make major improvements on the University of La Verne Bearmouth Field Research Complex for six weeks this summer. Some faculty members are arranging to go with Dr. Neher, although the plans are not definite.

The University owns 160 acres of land on Baldy Mountain, 12 miles west of Drummond, and two smaller parcels, totaling seven acres, on the Clark Fork River, roughly five miles from the Baldy property. Some of Neher’s goals include building a self-contained facility by using solar and wind power to supply the electrical needs, which include purifying and pumping water, powering appliances and assisting the dry sanitary system.

On the Clark Fort parcels, his goal is to build a 30 foot by 55 foot building, a large bathroom and shower room and a kitchen and living area with two bunk rooms. One of the setbacks to the construction is determining the level of the flood plain.

“The state of Montana has to approve the level of the flood plain before any building occurs,” said Dr. Neher.

“The area is fairly cold and fairly inaccessible and the road near it is not plowed,” said Dr. Neher. Plowing the road is another goal planned for the Baldy Mountain land.

Some of the other goals Dr. Neher has for Baldy Mountain are to collect plant and animal material; determine the best location for the log cabin and plot and improve the trail down into the valley area.

“We hope to have a full summer research field, including the study of environmental biology, geology and general biology,” said Dr. Neher.

He would also like this to be a place where students have the opportunity to study and analyze materials and work on senior projects.

“The trip will probably last from June 1 through Aug. 15, depending on when people can help and when the permits go through,” said Dr. Neher. He is looking for volunteers with “tremendous flexibility” to help with the development of this project. He also needs monetary donations and trailers, especially if the trailer resides in Montana, between Butte and Missoula.

For more information on the summer trip to Montana, contact Dr. Neher at ext. 4601.

Brandi E. Baumeister
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