When I first decided to volunteer for Buffalo Field Campaign, I was looking to gain experience. As a Environmental Science major for Northern Ohio, Montana was a huge change. I saw my time at BFC as a great way to gain resume experience, but it became so much more. BFC provided a whole team of passionate people I am glad to say I am friends with. I learned a lot about the conservation of buffalo, different perspectives on life, and working with groups of people.
The scenery of camp is truly a sight to behold. I never get tired of waking up and seeing the sun peak over the mountains from the "post office” bunk room window. Being bored is a rare occasion at BFC. When my time wasn't spent on patrol or completing other jobs around the cabin, I found myself hiking up the mountain in the backyard (National Forest land which links to a few million acres of the Lee Metcalfe Wilderness), reading, playing games with others, or in a guitar circle. Evenings in the BFC main cabin are never dull.
While I was at BFC the opportunity arrived for a few of us to go to Gardiner, Montana. The town is home to the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The drive there was filled with spectacular sites of mountains, rivers, and wildlife. We explored the town of Gardiner, learning of its intense history connected to both the park and the hunting/slaughter of buffalo. The area is home to Yellowstone National Park's infamous Stephens Creek buffalo trap, as well as Beattie Gulch, one of the most controversial sites to hunt buffalo as they migrate out of Yellowstone, as well as abominable buffalo quarantine (domestication) facilities. We spent a day exploring Yellowstone seeing buffalo, rams, wolves, coyotes, deer, elk, natural hot springs, and the gorgeous scenery.
This trip was a decision I made on a whim. Far from home, comfort, family, and from friends. It turned from an unknown into me finding a new home, comfort, more family, and friends. Take it from me when I say that volunteering at BFC is something everyone should do. If you are reading this and are just the slightest bit interested, please apply today. The sights of Montana alone are worth the trip, not to mention the cause we are all fighting for: wild buffalo to one day again roam free. It is with heavy heart that I return to college in Ohio this week, but I know I am not saying goodbye to BFC, I am saying see you next year.
With the Buffalo,
P.S. Here are some other photos of our trip into Gardiner, Montana and the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Enjoy!
Elk on a hill checking us out. Photo by Emily Manner, Buffalo Field Campaign volunteer.
The sun peaking through the clouds over a mountain in Gardiner, MT. Photo by Emily Manner, Buffalo Field Campaign volunteer.
Volunteers walking to an overlook along Travertine Road on the side of a mountain in Gardiner, MT. Photo by Emily Manner, Buffalo Field Campaign volunteer.
Mama buffalo resting in the brush. Photo by Emily Manner, Buffalo Field Campaign volunteer.
Elk stopping for a drink from the river. Photo by Emily Manner, Buffalo Field Campaign volunteer.
A young bull Buffalo checking us out. Photo by Emily Manner, Buffalo Field Campaign volunteer.
Coyote playing with a stick. Photo by Emily Manner, Buffalo Field Campaign volunteer.
Two Big horn rams on the hillside. Photo by Emily Manner, Buffalo Field Campaign volunteer.
Jonah, fellow BFC volunteer, taking in Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Emily Manner, Buffalo Field Campaign volunteer.
The walk back to the car from Canary Springs, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Emily Manner, Buffalo Field Campaign volunteer.