FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Linda Brander, Program Specialist
Montana Dept. Natural Resources and Conservation
August 15, 2012
DNRC oral history project coming to Great Falls
HELENA, Mont. – A unique oral history project aimed at collecting the biographies and stories of Montana women in agriculture will hold a day-long workshop on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, in Great Falls to train school teachers and community members interested in participating.
The workshop is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks building, located at 4600 Giant Springs Road in Great Falls.
From The Ground Up, Montana Women and Agriculture, began as an idea by Linda Brander, a Resource Specialist with the Montana DNRC's Conservation and Resource Development Division. Reviewing grant applications by ranch and farm owners in 2011, "I was struck by the vital roles women play in agriculture – the young, the old, the daughters and spouses. They're descendents of homesteaders. They're passionate about the land and taking care of it. Their life stories embody the values of Montana," Brander said.
"I also realized we're losing older generations of women who've lived on the land and have so much to tell us."
The project developed to include the Montana Association of Conservation Districts, Montana Historical Society, Montana State Library and Montana Stockgrowers.
Brander said Conservation District (CD) board members are seen as leaders in rural communities. They can inspire residents to go out and collect oral histories; they also tend to be knowledgeable in local history and can help identify important women for interviews.
The Montana Historical Society (MHS) and Montana State Library (MSL) are providing the technical support and expertise needed to ensure the oral histories and any supporting materials maintain quality standards needed to become part of the historical record.
At next week's workshop, Rich Aarstad of the MHS will make a presentation on interviewing techniques and oral history in the classroom. MSL staff member Katie Beall will discuss preparation of oral histories for the MSL Montana Memory Project, an online collection of historical materials.
Those attending will also hear an update on the oral history project currently under way in Townsend, sponsored by the Broadwater County Conservation District.
While the project was initially geared to train students and youth, Brander said a number of adults have expressed interest in doing interviews and all ages are welcome and encouraged to join the effort.
Those wishing to participate in the workshop must register by Aug. 20. The cost is $15.00. Information on how to register, including an online form, is available on the Montana DNRC Web site.
For more information, contact DNRC Resource Specialist Linda Brander at (406) 444-0520.
Public Information Officer
Department of Natural Resources and Conservation