Mountain High 

The honey bee is an elite group, the plight of which is often discussed and at times mythologized. The recent and sudden decrease in honey bee populations began in 2007 and is known as colony collapse disorder. If I sound like an expert on the subject, it's because I just spent about 5 minutes on Wikipedia collecting facts and getting all emotionally involved. The site tells me how special the little buzzers are, and I believe them. Quote some anonymous Wikipedia-editing bee-expert: "Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the approximately 20,000 known species of bees. Some other types of related bees produce and store honey, but only members of the genus Apis are true honey bees." I bring them up because on Wednesday, Sept. 14, the Montana Natural History Center is hosting a talk and live demonstration called "Honey Bee Secrets: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Honey Bee in One Hour," as told by a real expert, bee field researcher Scott Debnam. He's bringing a transparent teaching hive filled with the little bastards. How awesome is that? After I go to the talk, I will have dedicated one hour and five minutes of my life to learning everything I ever wanted to know about honey bees. Insert pun surrounding the word "buzz" here.

"Honey Bee Secrets: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Honey Bee in One Hour," presented by head bee field researcher Scott Debnam will bring live bees in a transparent teaching hive and divulge bee-life secrets, Wed., Sept. 14, starting 7 PM at the Montana Natural History Center, 120 Hickory St. $4 suggested donation.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHAD HARDER

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 8

The MiniNaturalists Pre-K program lets young people explore the world through hands-on activities, games and play in a natural setting, this and every Thu. through Sept. 29. Cost is $3/$1 for MNHC members. Learn more at MontanaNaturalist.org.

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 9

Hang out with the Fort Missoula Native Plant Gardens people at their Soup and Spud Fest, where you'll enjoy soup, spuds, drink, a bonfire and a black light bug demonstration, 6:30 PM to dark at Fort Missoula. Bring $5 for food and drinks.

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 10

Five Valley Audobon wants to take you on a full-day field trip in search of waterfowl and other species at the Metcalf Wildlife Refuge near Stevensville. Meet at the UM Field House parking lot at 8 AM or at the refuge visitor center at 9 AM with lunch and binoculars. Free.

I've got it right here in my raptor bag: The Fifth Annual Raptor Day event at Lone Pine State Park celebrates northwest Montana birds and commemorates Rod Ash's commitment to conservation, 8 AM to 2:30 PM, 300 Lone Pine Rd. Free. Call 755-2772.

Run without being chased at the 22nd Annual Chokecherry Run at Frank Day Park in Lewistown. 10k, 5k run and 5k walk begin at 9 AM with the 1 mile fun run starting at 10 AM. Arrive early for race day registration. $10 day of/$5 in advance. Call 366-2132 to learn more.

Sweat it out in Victor for the Sweathouse Half Marathon beginning at 9 AM. For all the race details, visit runwildmissoula.org.

These minerals are so amazing, seriously. Join the Montana Natural History Center for their event, Amazing Minerals of the Black Pine Mine, 9 AM–3 PM, 120 Hickory St. $30/$25 MNHC members. Visit MontanaNaturalist.org.

Let's get together and clean up the Bitterroot, shall we? From 10 AM–4 PM, volunteers will work from Sula and Painted Rocks Dam to Missoula, with a 4:30 PM barbecue to follow. To Sign up for the event, call 363-3146 or email DMcGourty@fsbmsla.com.

Introduce your little ones to a world of rock climbing through bouldering at the Lost Horse Climbing Festival on Lost Horse Rd. in Hamilton, 2–4 PM. Call 396-9562 to register. Free.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 11

On your mark, get set, meet in front of Runner's Edge at 325 N. Higgins Ave. for the Missoula Mile race to benefit prostate cancer awareness. Women's race is at 9 AM., men's race at 9:15 AM. and the free kid's race is at 9:30 AM. To register and get further details, visit runwildmissoula.org.

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 12

Bio-waste heated greenhouse and high tunnels will be featured on the AERO Farm Tour in Dixon and Moiese. The tour goes from 11 AM–3 PM and your $10 includes a light lunch. Call 443-7272 to register.

Learn how the moon effects aquatic life in this Aquatic Moon Presentation, as part of the Walk by the Light of the Moon Series, 7 to 8:30 PM, 1393 Old Darby Rd. in Hamilton. Call 363-7100. Free.

Talk Birds with Five Valley Audobon in a meeting at the Gallagher Business Bldg. on UM's campus at 7:30 PM, free and open to the public.

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 15

The MiniNaturalists Pre-K program lets young people explore the world through hands-on activities, games and play in a natural setting, this and every Thu. through Sept. 29. Cost is $3/$1 for MNHC members. Learn more at MontanaNaturalist.org.

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