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MTPR staff travels across MT to connect with residents

MTPR's Katy Wade and Ellis Juhlin
Katy Wade
MTPR's Katy Wade and Ellis Juhlin

This spring, Montana Public Radio’s new Rocky Mountain Front Reporter Ellis Juhlin and Community Engagement Specialist Katy Wade set out on an 850-mile road-trip across northeast Montana. The trip was multi-purpose, though our main goal was to sit down and meet with folks who we hadn’t gotten a chance to connect with yet, and hear what they wanted to share about their home.

This is MTPR’s first time having a reporter devoted to covering this region, and together Ellis and I came up with a plan for this whirlwind tour of the region to make us better equipped to serve our listeners as we broaden our reporting range!

The first stop was to Great Falls, Montana, where we kicked off the trip meeting with community members and leaders that could give a better insight to the happenings of the area. We spent the day exploring the area, first meeting with Arlyne Reichert and walking over the famous pedestrian bridge she worked to save from being torn down. We also checked out a stretch of land along the Missouri river that several groups are working to set aside as an open lands trust and stopped in on some major landmarks, including, of course, a quick trip to the legendary Sip’N Dip Lounge.

Next on the tour was Havre, which, even while apocalyptically submerged in smoke, still showed its character. We visited the beautiful college campus, stopped by Havre Daily News, and met with lawmakers and other residents, including the downtown bunnies

Railway station overlooking the city of Havre
Katy Wade
Railway station overlooking the city of Havre

We then trekked across to Browning, where we met with Blackfeet tribal council members, the tribe’s natural resources department and officials with the Cuts Wood School. Ellis plans to return soon to shadow the school and share their Blackfeet language immersion program.

The view from the scenic drive between Browning and Great Falls.
Katy Wade
The view from the scenic drive between Browning and Great Falls.

Our fourth and final stop was in Choteau, where we met with the folks at the Choteau Acantha newspaper, shared coffee with a lovely group of community members, and had dinner during sunset on a beautiful farm in Power.

Welcome to Choteau sign in Choteau, Montana
Katy Wade
Welcome to Choteau sign in Choteau, Montana

Throughout the trip, we stockpiled images of these towns for use in future stories, dropped off stickers and posters for The Big Why and The Pea Green Boat, and drank lots and lots of coffee.

A cattle drive by the side of the highway
Katy Wade
A cattle drive by the side of the highway

We would like to say thank you to everyone who met with us and welcomed us along the way. We had a great trip and enjoyed meeting and connecting with every single person, and we can’t wait to share your stories! If you’ve got a story idea, or think there’s something we need to cover along the Front, you can contact Ellis at ellis.juhlin@umt.edu or give her a call at (406) 272-2568.

Katy is MTPR’s first Community Engagement Specialist, tasked with utilizing community engagement strategies to strengthen public outreach practices, facilitate community conversations, and build lasting relationships with our audience.
Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.

ellis.juhlin@mso.umt.edu
406-272-2568
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