The loon is more than just the namesake of Canadian currency. The common loon is a master fisher with a wingspan of four to five feet and the ability to live along the Pacific coastline as well as in the mountains of Montana. Unfortunately for us, loons are merely "breeding residents" of the Treasure State, according to the FWP field guide. That and there are only 200 or so of these diving aquatic birds in the entire state. So it would seem that you'd have to be some kind of Sleuthy McSleutherson with a lot of time on her hands to find one of the few that live in our neck. Not so. The fine folks at the FWP have guest presenter Donna Love of Seeley Lake to show you the ways of these birds during the Salmon Lake Evening Program: Loons. During the program, Love shares photos and stories and she presents hands-on activities for the entire family. Perhaps in the early evening aurora you'll hear the mournful cry of the breeding males seeking a mate, or at least get a peek into the secret lives of the loons.
The Salmon Lake Evening Program: Loons, with Donna Love, takes place on Sat., June 16, at 8 PM in the Salmon Lake Campground amphitheatre. Free. For more info., contact Chris Neu of the FWP at 240-0155.
THURSDAY JUNE 14
For summertime learning and such, the Montana Natural History Center's miniNaturalists Pre-K Program has moved to the Fort Missoula Native Plant Gardens. Bugs, dirt and explorations abound. 10–11 AM. $3/$1 for members. Visit montananaturalist.org.
Dudes, come get your climb on during Freestone Climbing's Dude's Night. 935 Toole Ave. 5–10 PM. $6.50/$5 students.
Actually, half the plants you're watering are destroying your soil or are they? Find out at the Fort Missoula Native Plant Gardens during the class Which Are Weeds?: A Native Plant Gardener's Conundrum. 5:30-7:30 PM. $5 suggested donation
FRIDAY JUNE 15
Active outdoor lovers are invited to the Mountain Sports Club's weekly meeting to talk about past glories and upcoming activities. Swan River Inn. 6–8 PM. Free.
Get back in shape and learn something new at Freestone Climbing Gym's Intro to Bouldering course, which introduces basic techniques, safety stuff, ethics and more. Class includes 1.5 hours of instruction and two weeks of unlimited climbing. 935 Toole. 7–8:30 PM. $40.
Montana History Comes Alive at Beavertail Hill State Park when presenter Ellen Baumler talks about leprosy-haver and state legislator Orville Willett. 26 miles east of Missoula on I-90. 8 PM. Free.
SATURDAY JUNE 16
Cast Off 2012 at the Festival of the Fly up in West Glacier is a heckuva way to get your summer fishing started, with instruction, comps, product demos and more. Glacier Outdoor Center. Visit outdoormedia.com for the deets.
Get out of town and check out the all the pretty birds down Dillon (Melrose, really) way on the Five Valleys Audubon Field Trip to SW Montana. The trip is led by Cynthia Hudson and Nate Kohler. Call 722-0016 to sign-up. Attendees must provide their own accommodations.
Get a peak at the conservation efforts down the 'Root during the MPG Ranch Grasslands Excursion with the Montana Native Plant Society. Botanist Mel Waggy leads this expedition. Missoulians meet at the SW corner of the old Wal-Mart parking lot at 8:30 AM. All others meet behind the IGA in Florence at 9 AM. Call Mel for more details at 273-6140.
Uncover the mysteries of your backyard during the Montana Natural History Center's Saturday Discovery Day: Ecology Walk for Families at the Mt. Jumbo Saddle Trailhead. The trailhead is near the top of Lincoln Hills Rd. 10 AM-Noon. $5/members free. Visit montananaturalist.org.
SUNDAY JUNE 17
Make tracks during the Discovery XC Mountain Bike Race, a single-track and double-track smackdown on the steeps of the Discovery Ski Area. The event is part of the Montana Off-Road Series (MORS). Get cranking to montancycling.net.
Get back in shape and learn something new at Freestone Climbing Gym's Intro to Bouldering course, which introduces basic techniques, safety stuff, ethics and more. Class includes 1.5 hours of instruction and two weeks of unlimited climbing. 935 Toole. Noon–1:30 PM. $40.
MONDAY JUNE 18
At Slacker Mondays, from 6 PM until close, slackline fans can come to Freestone Climbing Center at 935 Toole Ave. to test their balance. $13/$10 for students. Visit freestoneclimbing.com.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 20
Get certified at the Zootown Surfer's ACA Level 4 Whitewater Kayak Workshop and Certification Exam, which takes place on local rivers. Must be a good paddler and have solid river roll. The course takes place each day until Sun., June 24. $395. Call Jason at 370-4436 for more info.
Bring on the summer with a sweat and a holler during the Runners Edge Wine Run at Ten Spoon Vineyard. There is a fun run for the kids and a 10K for the adults. 4175 Rattlesnake. 6 PM. $30. Visit runnersedgemt.com.
THURSDAY JUNE 21
Dudes! Did you know that some them bugs you thinks is bees is just plain old moths and the like? Serious! Join biologist David Schmetterling as he uncovers who the diabolical dopplegangers are in his talk Bee Mimics, at the Fort Missoula Native Plant Gardens. 5:30–7:30 PM. $10/$5 for MNHC members. Visit montananaturalist.org.