a pine tree stretches into the sky
Oct 14, 2023
NBC Montana

Flathead Valley Community Invited To Join Mapping Effort for Pine Health

By NBC Montana Staff

Flathead Valley Community College's Natural Resource Conservation and Management students will host a training to investigate ponderosa pine trees in Flathead Valley Wednesday Oct. 18.

The training will be held at 2 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. in Ross Hall 166 on FVCC's campus. The event will focus on the western pine beetle (Dendroctonus brevicomis) which is the size of a grain of rice and kills ponderosa pine trees.

Attendees will learn about tree identification, western pine beetles and how to reduce the threat, along with the value of citizen science in managing natural resources. Data on the trees will be available through a map.

Flathead Valley Community College released the following:

Flathead Valley Community College's Natural Resource Conservation and Management students are hosting a training for a new citizen science mapping effort to investigate the health of ponderosa pine trees in the Flathead Valley. The community is invited to join the training on Wednesday, October 18 in Ross Hall 166 on campus in Kalispell. Training is available at 2pm or 5:30pm. Volunteers need to attend only one timeslot.

For over a year the Flathead Valley has been witness to pockets of declining ponderosa pine trees, namely due to a rise in the prevalence of western pine beetle (Dendroctonus brevicomis).

The size of a grain of rice, this insect is effective at girdling and killing trees that are predisposed to stress due to overcrowding or drought. Participants will learn about tree identification; the biology and life cycle of western pine beetles; management recommendations to reduce the threat; how to map individual trees and conduct a health survey; and gain an understanding of the importance of citizen science in managing our natural resources.

This effort will assist students, researchers and natural resource managers in their understanding of the distribution of pine decline as well as individual tree and forest characteristics that may influence resiliency. Results will be made available in real time through a map and data dashboard as health assessments are submitted. Additional information and results will be posted online here.

This effort is partly funded by the FVCC Foundation and is a joint effort between FVCC and the Flathead Lake Biological Station.

For more information, please contact Tim Eichner at 406.756.3898 or