Lolo School

Installing electric fencing around a western Montana school district’s dumpsters.

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Just south of Vital Ground’s headquarters in Missoula, K-8 students gather in the lowlands of the Bitterroot Valley at the Lolo School. As they learn the basics of biology in the classroom, the landscape around them is experiencing increased grizzly activity. In 2022 they took the proactive step of adding electric fencing around their dumpsters to keep these wandering bears from becoming food conditioned and returning to school grounds. 

With around 550 students and the corresponding amount of waste, the school district is seizing the opportunity to teach children about coexistence through example, making a safer future for them and the pioneering bears that are moving through the Bitterroot Range.

Lolo School at a Glance

  • Electric fencing for garbage area at western Montana school
  • Lolo, Mont. is part of important habitat connection between Bitterroot Ecosystem and other bear populations
  • Opportunity for K-8 students to learn basics of bear biology and importance of coexistence
  • Fencing will prevent food conditioning for bears and help keep them from lingering in the valley bottom