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Sunday, Jun. 22nd, 2014
On a quest to learn more about fires in the Northern Rockies, Montana State University, Salish Kootenai College and federal researchers are looking to the trees, lakes and oral tradition for insights they can share with land managers.
David McWethy of MSU is now leading a team of students sampling sediments from several lakes on the Flathead Indian Reservation. At the same time, Rick Everett of SKC is leading a group of students collecting tree rings and fire scars.
The charcoal, pollen and other materials they expect to find in lake sediments will speak to the frequency and timing of ancient and recent fires, much like they have done in other MSU studies in Yellowstone National Park, New Zealand, Tasmania and elsewhere in the world, said McWethy, a Montana Institute on Ecosystems Fellow and paleoecologist in MSU’s Department of Earth Sciences.
Tree rings and fire scars will reveal when fires occurred, how severe they were and information about what the climate was like during the life of the tree, said Everett, the overall project leader and a forestry professor at SKC.
The goal, according to the team, is to prepare for the future by reconstructing the past. They hope the lessons they learn from ancient and recent fire management will help land managers determine how management and restoration might best reduce the risk of hazardous fire activity while promoting the long-term resilience of native coniferous forests of the northern Rockies.
Working in conjunction with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Tribal Forestry and Cultural Resources, the research team chose study sites with mixed-coniferous forests (primarily Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine) that hadn’t been logged or disturbed by human activities, but contained individual trees that were scarred by fire. They looked for forest sites that could be paired with a lake where sediments could be analyzed to add a much longer history of fire. Mixed-coniferous forests and their fire regimes are poorly understood in North America, Everett said.
After collecting lake sediments, tree rings and fire scars, the research team will compare their findings with oral tradition about fires in the region.
“The need for information is particularly compelling on tribal lands, where tribal members and forest managers have a strong interest in preserving historical continuity and incorporating traditional knowledge in management strategies, Everett said.
The two-year project is funded by a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Tribal Colleges Research Grant. Collaborating with McWethy and Everett are Emily Heyerdahl from the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station Fire Sciences Lab in Missoula, Greg Pederson from the U.S. Geological Survey in Bozeman, and 12 tribal students.
“There is a critical need to better understand the historical context for applying fuel treatments intended to reduce fire risk in mixed forest types across the western U.S., and to identify management strategies that may support resilient future forests,” McWethy said.
By fuel treatment, he referred to methods of reducing fuel for fires, McWethy said. Managers might thin a forest by removing small diameter trees, for example. They could use prescribed burns to remove shrubs and grasses.
“Understanding what happened in the past under different conditions gives us an idea of what’s going to happen in the future,” he summarized.
Heyerdahl, a USDA research forester, said in the team’s research proposal that land management agencies across the United States have started grand efforts to improve forest resiliency, reduce fire risk and reduce fuel, but they are missing historical context.
“Most fire history information comes from a narrow range of forest types, characterized by low-severity surface fires, and most of the supporting research has been undertaken on public lands,” Heyerdahl said. “In contrast, our understanding of disturbance and stand dynamics in mixed-severity forest types is still rudimentary, despite the fact that nearly half of all acres targeted for fuel reduction and restoration on U.S. federal lands occurs within forests that are broadly classified as such. Furthermore, little is known about the impact these fuel treatments have on forest ecosystems.”
The unique collaboration that joins a university, tribal college and federal agencies should produce that context, Heyerdahl said. The researchers added that the collaboration is valuable, because of the research it will yield and the relationships it cements.
“This work really formalizes a growing relationship that has occurred over the last three years between SKC, MSU, the USGS and the Rocky Mountain Research Station, forming a network for both engaging our undergraduates with leading researchers in the region and expanding the college’s (SKC) research capacities in forest and fire ecology,” Everett said.
“As program director of a new option with our bachelor of sciences program in Forestry, Wildland Fire Science, this also opens up lines of communication between my program and researchers performing applied works in fire sciences and both forest and fire ecology,” Everett said.
McWethy – whose collaborations also include a project in Lebanon – said the group will not only learn about fire management in the Rockies, but its findings could add to the knowledge about the increasing incidence of large fires in the world.
“An increase in large fires is a global phenomenon,” McWethy said. “Although we’ve had large fires in the past, they didn’t affect people as much because there were fewer people across landscapes in the western U.S.”
Friday, Jun. 20th, 2014
Montana State University professor Brock LaMeres has been awarded $100,000 and the chance to test his computer technology on the International Space Station.
NASA announced this week that MSU was one of five institutions to submit a winning proposal for this opportunity. That means a computer system designed at MSU will ride on the International Space Station. The system is designed to operate in the presence of high energy radiation particles that pass through space craft and radiation shields. These particles might not permanently damage electrical circuits, but they can cause computers to crash.
“This is extremely exciting,” LaMeres said. “This represents one of the last steps to demonstrate this technology before it can be adopted in a real NASA mission.”
LaMeres designed the radiation-tolerant computer system with doctoral students Justin Hogan and Raymond Weber who graduated in May, and master’s degree student Samuel Harkness. All four are in MSU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
LaMeres predicted that MSU’s technology could head for the International Space Station in one or two years. During the upcoming year, his team will work with NASA engineers to make sure the computer system meets safety standards and can communicate with the space station. He will then turn it over to NASA, which will schedule the computer system for flight.
MSU’s computer system will ride inside the International Space Station and be exposed to the same high energy radiation particles that other, more expensive computers face inside the station, LaMeres said. The MSU computer is built with off-the-shelf parts in order to reduce cost. LaMeres said MSU’s computer promises to deliver the same level of reliability as existing space computers at a fraction of the cost. He expects it will be tested on the space station between six months and two years.
The opportunity to fly on the International Space Station is the latest in a series of follow-on grants that LaMeres has received from NASA since he was awarded the original funding that allowed him and his students to start designing the radiation-tolerant computer system. In fact, LaMeres heard the news while in Colorado delivering the same computer technology to a company that will launch it this fall on a sounding rocket over New Mexico as part of another NASA-sponsored project. The sounding rocket flight will put the computer system in space, but only for a few minutes before it returns to Earth. The space station flight will allow the computer to be tested in orbit for much longer.
The original grant to build the computer system came in 2010. It was a three-year, $750,000 grant from NASA’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the same agency that awarded LaMeres the opportunity to fly his technology on the International Space Station. NASA said it selected proposals from MSU, the University of Kentucky, Lexington; the Maine Space Grant Consortium, Augusta; the University of Nebraska, Omaha; and the University of Delaware, Newark because they were important to NASA’s mission. The proposals should also help university faculty develop science and technology curricula and support higher education students pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
EPSCoR is managed by NASA's Office of Education. EPSCoR helps develop partnerships among NASA research missions and programs, academic institutions and industry. It also helps the awardees establish long-term academic research enterprises that will be self-sustaining, competitive and will contribute to their local and state economic viability and development.
Monday, Jun. 16th, 2014
The Sweet Pea Festival staff and its Board of Directors strive to take all community input into account as we work to continuously improve and enhance the Festival year after year. This year, we are pleased to announce several new features that Festival-goers can enjoy.
Craft Beer and Wine Garden
This year Sweet Pea celebrates the art of craft brewing. Adults are invited to stop in the Beer and Wine Garden located in the southwest corner of the park and enjoy a local brew or glass of wine while listening to the music in the Bowl. Thank you for honoring our longtime policy of no outside alcohol and drinking within the designated area only. Enjoy responsibly! Hours of operation: Friday, August 1, 4-10 pm; Saturday, August 2, 2-9 pm; Sunday, August 3, 1-4 pm.
The Run is Back
It’s back! The race with many names is now once again the Sweet Pea Run. This great community event, and one of the oldest running races in Bozeman, offers something for everyone. A fun family event, as well as a competitive running race, offering cash prizes and prizes for best costumes! The 10k is the Road Runners Club of America state championship race for Montana. Strollers are welcome, but requested to start near the back of the runners. No dogs, please. Register online at http://winddrinkers.org/sweetpea/registration-packet-pick-up/.
Online Ticket Sales
3-day Festival Wristbands are now available for purchase online through July 31st at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweet-pea-festival-2014-tickets-11128073367. Passes purchased online will be available to pick up at Will Call at The Festival. Three-day passes are still only $15 (service fees apply when purchased online). Passes will still be available at Bozeman area outlets starting July 5th.
Online Volunteer Scheduling
We’ve made it super easy to schedule volunteer shifts for all of our hard working volunteers that make the Sweet Pea Festival possible. In recognition of volunteers contributing 3 or more hours to the Festival, we are offering a free 3-day wristband to attend the Festival to volunteers that sign up before July 29th..
Volunteers can schedule their shifts online at http://sweetpeaafestivalofthearts.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/.
Mobile Water Station
Reuse, Refill, Refresh. The Sweet Pea Festival has teamed up with the City of Bozeman to provide a Mobile Water Station that will allow Festival-goers to refill their water bottles and refresh with some water. Bring your own refillable water bottle to minimize the impact of disposable water bottles. For those that forget to bring their own water bottles, there will be Sweet Pea Festival branded Klean Kanteen® water bottles available for purchase at the Festival. Get a sneak preview of the water station at the Bite of Bozeman on July 30th.
For a full listing of events, performances and information about Sweet Pea Festival, visit www.sweetpeafestival.org.
ABOUT SWEET PEA FESTIVAL:
The Sweet Pea Festival is a three-day festival of the arts held in Bozeman, Montana, since 1978. This year’s Festival dates are August 1, 2, and 3. The event includes everything from dynamic music to children’s activities to dance lessons. Sweet Pea is committed to its mission statement of “promoting and cultivating the arts.”
Hundreds of volunteers run and organize this annual event, a testament to the community’s desire for its ongoing success. All the money raised above what is needed to operate the Festival is given back to the community in the form of grants for the arts, art education, and special projects in the Bozeman area.
Friday, Jun. 13th, 2014
A film crew from Pennsylvania is visiting Montana State University this week to work on a feature-length documentary of the late Maurice Hilleman, who graduated from what was then Montana State College in 1941. Hilleman went on to become one of the world’s most successful developers of vaccines, and he is credited with saving more lives than any other 20th century scientist.
According to the film’s director, Donald Mitchell, the documentary on Hilleman has grown out of interviews Hilleman gave to fellow vaccinologist Paul Offit in the years leading up to his death from cancer in 2005. Offit’s biography of Hilleman, “Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases,” was published in 2007.
Mitchell said the goal is to present Hilleman, a relatively unknown scientist who spent most of his career with pharmaceutical company Merck, as a man driven to solve some of the most monumental problems of public health.
“In our minds, Maurice Hilleman is a hero who worked his whole life to develop vaccines that would train our bodies to remember how to fight off these diseases,” said Mitchell, who has given the project the working title “The Memory Maker.”
While hero is a word that can get casually thrown around, Mitchell said Hilleman truly earned the distinction. A glance at his accomplishments – he developed nine of the 14 vaccines routinely given to American children – underscores just how talented and prolific Hilleman was.
Among Hilleman’s scientific achievements:
A hepatitis B vaccine that was the first vaccine to prevent a cancer in humans (liver cancer or hepatoma).
A measles-mumps-and-rubella combination vaccine that marked the first time vaccines for different viruses were successfully combined in a single shot.
Vaccines for meningitis and pneumonia.
A mumps vaccine that came after Hilleman alertly isolated the virus by swabbing the back of his daughter Jeryl Lynn's throat when she was stricken with the disease (50 years later it is still the basis for most mumps vaccines).
A more complete understanding of the ways different strains of the flu change slightly from year to year, which led to the practice of developing an annual seasonal flu vaccine.
The first successful prediction of a coming influenza pandemic and development of a vaccine that thwarted it, possibly saving close to a million people in 1957.
The film will weave this incredible scientific legacy into a story of a man who was born to extremely humble circumstances near Miles City, who lost his mother and twin sister due to complications from childbirth, who nearly skipped college altogether so he could earn a steady pay check at the local J.C. Penney’s story, and who, despite his seven-day-a-week dedication to his research, was a devoted father to a pair of daughters.
“We want to put a human face on the story of vaccines, because we believe that Hilleman and scientists like him do this work because they are trying to make the world a better place,” Mitchell said. “The development of vaccines is not about big pharmaceutical companies, it’s a story about passionate human beings. If we are able to educate people about this area of science, then we have helped further their cause. And beyond that, we are hoping Maurice Hilleman’s passion will inspire the next generation of heroes.”
Renee Reijo Pera, MSU’s vice president of research and economic development, said that is much the way she views Hilleman’s story in the context of his alma mater.
“He’s the shining example of why we encourage undergraduates to conduct hands-on research,” Reijo Pera said. “Here is someone who graduated at the top of his class with a double major in chemistry and microbiology, then used that education to fundamentally change the world. When I look around our labs, I have to wonder, who’s the next Maurice Hilleman?”
In addition to original interviews conducted by Mitchell prior to Hilleman’s death, the biographical film will include interviews with Hilleman’s peers, as well as historical photos and footage illustrating various points of his life – the Hilleman homestead near Miles City, his studies at MSU, his doctoral studies at the University of Chicago, a posting at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital and his career running Merck’s vaccine program. Mitchell said some of the working science behind Hilleman’s vaccines will be illustrated with 3-D animation.
The film is being produced by the educational nonprofit Medical History Pictures. Mitchell said he plans to have the documentary finished by January, with hopes to show it at film festivals. If all goes well, it will also be picked up by a science-themed television program like PBS’s Nova.
Thursday, Jun. 12th, 2014
The Downtown Bozeman Partnership presented three awards at the 9th Annual Downtown Breakfast held Thursday, June 12, 2014 at the Baxter Hotel.
The awards included the Downtown Cornerstone Award, the Downtown Community Award and the “Life is Downtown” Award. The nominees and recipient for each award were selected by the Downtown Bozeman Association board, Business Improvement District board and Tax Increment Finance board.
The Downtown Cornerstone Award recognizes a business that serves as an anchor to the downtown community not only economically, but socially, culturally and civically. The business has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to downtown by sponsoring downtown events, supporting the member organizations of the Downtown Bozeman Partnership, while being an exemplary business leader.
Previous recipients include: Rockin’ R Bar (2013), The Leaf & Bean (2012), Insty-Prints (2011), Heeb’s Grocery (2010), Owenhouse Ace Hardware (2009) and First Security Bank (2008). The 2014 Downtown Cornerstone nominees were the Country Bookshelf, MacKenzie River Pizza, Nova Cafe and Schnee’s Boots and Shoes. The 2014 recipient of the Downtown Cornerstone Award is the Country Bookshelf. Ariana Paliobagis accepted the award as the owner of the Country Bookshelf.
Babs Noelle, DBA President, presented the award saying, “The Country Bookshelf has been located in its current location since 1986. The Country Bookshelf epitomizes the very essence of Downtown Bozeman: independent, local, unique, resilient and loved by so many. We all owe the Country Bookshelf a debt of gratitude for being an anchor on Main Street—a downtown cornerstone—for nearly 30 years.”
The Downtown Community Award acknowledges a business or organization that has provided exemplary support of downtown Bozeman. This entity recognizes that the city of Bozeman and the entire Gallatin Valley benefits from a thriving downtown, and therefore, they have assisted the Downtown Bozeman Partnership in its efforts to promote and enhance the community’s historic core.
Previous recipients include: Town Square Media (2013), Bozeman Daily Chronicle (2012), Bozeman Food Co-op (2011), City of Bozeman (2010), Montana State University (2009) and Kenyon Noble (2008). The 2014 Downtown Community nominees were Bridger Bowl, First Interstate Bank, Gallatin Art Crossing and Sweet Pea Festival. The 2014 recipient of the Downtown Community Award is First Interstate Bank. Scott Levandowski, Bozeman Market President, accepted the award on behalf of First Interstate Bank.
Chris Naumann, the Downtown Partnership’s Executive Director, presented the award and said, “In 2004, First Interstate Bank made a large investment in downtown by opening their branch at the corner of Grand and Main Street. First Interstate Bank has over 70 employees in the Gallatin Valley and 27 of those employees work at their downtown branch. We are thankful for First Interstate Bank’s support each and every year.”
The “Life is Downtown” Award honors a person who has given a veritable lifetime of service to downtown Bozeman. The recipient has exceeded the expectations of the community in their generous support downtown. This person has devoted considerable time and effort to the betterment of the downtown community by volunteering for special events, serving as a downtown board member, and playing a leadership role in downtown initiatives.
Previous recipients include: Bobby Bear (2013), Larry Bowman (2012), Bert Hopeman (2011), Chris Pope (2010), Steve Schnee (2009) and Bob Paynich (2008). The 2013 “Life is Downtown” nominees were Mike Hope, Ileana Indreland, Babs Noelle and Rob Pertzborn. The 2014 recipient of the “Life is Downtown” Award is Ileana Indreland.
Chris Naumann, the Downtown Partnership’s Executive Director, presented the award and said, “Ileana’s commitment to downtown spans 25 years. She has served on the Business Improvement District Board since its inception in 2000. Perhaps more importantly Ileana has been developing property along Main Street since 1988. As a board member, developer and property owner, Ileana has epitomized that Life is Downtown.”
Monday, Jun. 2nd, 2014
A first for Yellowstone National Park (YNP), and a rare designation for an historic building, the Yellowstone Park Foundation (YPF) announces that the 87-year-old Old Faithful Haynes Photo Shop (OFHPS) earned LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
“Yellowstone National Park is often at the forefront of the sustainable movement – from recycling gas cylinders to the use of soy biodiesel in the Park’s vehicles - and this project is an extension of that commitment,” said Dan Wenk, Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park.
The OFHPS project received 75 out of 76 attempted points in seven LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification areas: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation in design, and regional priority credits. Some of the innovative elements included in the restoration are:
• Reuse of the original building structure, windows and exterior materials.
• Salvaged and recycled materials sourced from regional manufacturers, including Douglas fir wood interior finishes, ceramic tile, and recycled glass counters throughout the building, as well as recycled glass permeable paving outside.
• Many materials sourced from regional manufacturers.
• Energy-efficient lights activated by occupancy sensors throughout the building.
• Light pollution reduced in compliance with LEED, and Yellowstone National Park’s Outdoor Lighting Standards.
“This project presented special challenges because we not only had to modernize the building, but maintain its historic integrity,” said Lesley Gilmore, Director of Historic Preservation Services for CTA Architects Engineers.
CTA’s Historic Preservation Services provided full architectural and engineering services for the restoration of this log-out wood frame construction.
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Old Faithful Haynes Photo Shop Receives LEED Gold Certification
Located in the Old Faithful area of Yellowstone, the structure once housed one of F. Jay Haynes photo shops, and was built in 1927. Haynes was the first photo concessionaire in YNP.
“Today it is a showcase for creative exhibits, videos, vintage photographs, displays that highlight exciting projects supported by YPF, and original Haynes memorabilia that date from around 1900,” said Karen Bates Kress, President of the Yellowstone Park Foundation.
Construction began in September 2012, and was completed for the grand opening on June 21, 2013. It was restored by the Yellowstone Park Foundation and Yellowstone National Park. The original building is 1,550 square feet with a 650 square foot addition. The project cost $2,100,000.
About the Yellowstone Park Foundation:
The Yellowstone Park Foundation has more than 18,000 individuals, corporations and foundations that donate to YPF each year, and has served as Yellowstone National Park’s official fundraising partner since 1996. Its mission is to fund projects and programs that protect, preserve, and enhance the natural and cultural resources, and the visitor experience of the Park. YPF has raised more than $80 million, and funded more than 250 important projects and initiatives since its inception including wildlife research, cutthroat trout restoration, trail restoration, and youth education. For more information, please go to www.ypf.org.
About Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone National Park (www.nps.gov/yell) is home to the majority of the world’s geysers, the main reason it was established as the world’s first national park in1872. This wild, mountainous, 2.2 million-acre expanse is home to grizzly bears, wolves, bison, elk, numerous rivers, lakes and waterfalls, and the magnificent Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
About CTA Architects Engineers:
CTA Architects Engineers has been in business since 1938. Originally an innovative combination of an architect and an engineer, the company has continued to expand this multi-disciplinary approach to now include 24 building-related disciplines under one roof. Now numbering 380+ employees, CTA has 17 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, including, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. For more information, visit www.ctagroup.com.
Tuesday, May. 20th, 2014
Visions West Gallery presents We Are All Connected an exhibition of new work by Rocky Hawkins. The exhibition will be displayed at Visions West Gallery in Bozeman from June 13th to July 9th, 2014. There will be a reception on the evening of the Art Walk on June 13th at 6:00 P.M. and Rocky Hawkins will be in attendance.
Inspired by a life-long fascination with both our own planet and the universe, Hawkins explores the wonders of the world through bold abstract expressionist pieces with the idea that we are all connected; our lives are defined by our relationship to each other and our environment. Hawkins says, “I have painted this series, which connects the many different elements and aspects of life to bring awareness to the subject: We Are All Connected! We are made of stardust from billions and billions of stars in the ocean of space and time. We need to see ourselves as one and unite to help solve the critical problems that our Earth is facing at this time. The complexity of the universe is beyond our grasp of understanding, but in time with the desire to educate ourselves and each other we can restore our planet Earth to its wondrous origins. The tiny pale blue dot, our planet Earth, is located in the vast cosmos of space. Its survival rests in our hands!”
A Montana based artist with a strong connection to the vast landscape of the West, Hawkins wants to speak about our environment and how it is particularly relevant and increasingly in peril. His unique vocabulary combines many shapes and forms that he hopes will bring beauty into viewers lives, but also make them think about our precious planet.
Embracing the mystery inherent in life, Hawkins pushes any boundary he encounters through his art. His vibrant palette is matched by expressive brushwork and his subject matter evolves from one painting to the next. The universe is his Oyster.
For more information visit www.visionswestgallery.com or call 406.522.9946. Visions West Gallery is located at 34 West Main Street in Bozeman, MT and is open Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 5:30 PM.
Monday, May. 19th, 2014
Bozemanites are known for getting outside and exploring, leaving no stone unturned in our search for adventure. But in this quest for a great hike, run, or ride, we often turn our gaze to the mountains and rivers far from town, overlooking
the ground beneath our feet.
Did you know there are nine full miles of trails on Bozeman’s south side, between Kagy and Goldenstein? Venture even further, and connect 50 miles of trails between Main Street and the national-forest boundary south of town. These trails pass through open fields, aspen and cottonwood groves, gurgling streams, and serene ponds. Wildlife abounds. So why not give the gas-guzzling vehicle a break and have an outdoor adventure right in Bozeman’s back yard?
With this in mind, Outside Bozeman and Sola Café introduce Southside Saturdays, a springtime trail celebration to benefit the Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT), the local organization that develops these trails and the rest of Bozeman’s Main Street to the Mountains trail system.
To participate, take your enthusiastic, hungry selves to Sola Café any Saturday from May 10 through June 28 and fuel up for your trail adventure. With each locally sourced, delicious Sola meal purchased on a Southside Saturday, Sola will donate $1 to GVLT. All qualifying purchases are entered in a raffle to win a $100 Sola gift card.
After eating your fill, hit one of the southside trails. Snap a picture with your copy of Outside Bozeman, send it over, and O/B will donate $1 for each picture received. Make the picture good (read: creative and/or goofy)—best photo wins a prize from our legendary Treasure Chest.
“Every dollar raised through this event goes right into GVLT’s community trails program,” says GVLT’s executive director, Penelope Pierce, “helping us expand trails and maintain our existing network, letting everyone enjoy the best of Bozeman.”
The event officially kicks off at Sola Café on May 10 at 10am, with complimentary beverages and snacks, trail maps, and prizes until 2pm. Kids can pet the goats from Amaltheia Dairy while adults enjoy frosty après-trail beverages from Red Lodge Ales.
Southside Saturdays continue every week until the end of June. So get outside and hike, run, or ride the south side!