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Two seats available on school district board

Thrive seeks mentors for CAP program


Two seats are available for three-year terms on the Big Sky School District Board of Trustees, to be voted on in the May 8 election. The deadline to file with Gallatin County is March 29. The seats are currently held by Margo Magnant and Matt Jennings.

At a Jan. 24 meeting of the board, representatives from Thrive, a nonprofit that provides mentoring, education and support for children and families, presented an update on the programs they coordinate within the district. They include parent liaison and student mentoring programs, as well as Girls for Change and Girls on the Run.

While all the programs are enjoying positive feedback and success, Child Advancement Project (CAP) coordinator Julie Grimm-Lisk said there are 10 students on the waiting list for community mentors. She urged those interested in becoming mentors to contact her at

Other notable upcoming district events include the American Legion High School Oratory contest on Feb. 6, from 6-8 p.m. at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center, the Ophir Middle School science fair on Feb. 8 from noon to 3 p.m. in the Lone Peak High School gymnasium, and the PTO Pie Auction on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at Rainbow Ranch Lodge.

The next meeting of the Big Sky School District Board of Trustees will be held Feb. 20 at 5:30 p.m. in the Ophir School conference room.

PTO Pie Auction goes digital


Last year, the Big Sky PTO Pie Auction raised approximately $70,000 for the Big Sky School District, a tradition that started 38 years ago as a community bake sale.

Still going strong, this year the annual event will be held Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m.—with a few twists. The auction will move to Rainbow Ranch Lodge, entail an entrance fee, and have live, local entertainment and more substantial food offerings. But perhaps the most significant change is, it’s going digital.

Students are selling paper raffle tickets through Wednesday, Feb. 7, after which time donors, bidders, browsers and ticket-buyers will be directed to a website where they can also register to receive an email with a link to an online bidding platform shortly before the event.

There will still be pies to win, but not 38 of them, and the kids’ art component has been trimmed down, but there will still be 80-100 auction items, the proceeds from which will fund a number of district programs, including school ski days, library staffing, Expedition Yellowstone, the eighth grade trip to Washington D.C., prom, graduation, and performing arts productions.

But the emphasis is on the downhill and cross-country programs through which students K-8 can ski Big Sky Resort three times per season, and twice at Lone Mountain Ranch. PTO President Callie Pecunies said that even with the generosity of the resort, LMR and a grant from the Spanish Peaks Community Foundation, the program still eats up approximately one third of the PTO’s annual budget, which is funded almost entirely by the pie auction event.

“It’s an important part of our curriculum living in a ski town,” Pecunies said. “And the school wants to support the industry.”

This year, donations can be made directly to the ski program through the pie auction website.

Top ticket items in the 2018 PTO Pie Auction include a signed Tom Brady jersey and four tickets to a home Patriots’ game; a VIP experience at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and a mountain bike or hike to Fish Camp at Spanish Peaks Mountain Club that includes dinner for 10.

Visit for more information.

Fish and wildlife surveys underway for Montana residents


A survey of Montana residents is currently being conducted by researchers at Colorado State University to better understand public opinions about fish and wildlife management. The survey is part of a national effort sponsored by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

During the next couple of months, researchers will contact randomly selected Montana residents by mail, requesting that they complete a short survey. While Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is not conducting this research directly, the department strongly encourage residents who receive the survey to respond.

Information gathered from the survey will be made available to FWP and will help the agency better understand residents’ underlying views about fish and wildlife management in the state. Public opinion is one of many important pieces of information that wildlife managers consider when making decisions about how to best manage Montana’s fish and wildlife.

For more information about the survey, email or call (888) 810-4460.

In addition to the public opinion survey, FWP is currently conducting its annual hunter harvest surveys, by contacting hunters who purchased 2017 licenses and asking them a variety of questions, including whether they were successful and where they hunted.

The information gleaned from these surveys gives the department important data about hunter effort and success, which is critical when gauging the effectiveness of a particular hunting season in managing wildlife. It also is informative about the amount of hunter effort in Montana.

Additionally, deer and elk hunters will be asked if they saw wolves or moose. This information is used to help determine population and distribution of those two species.

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