University of Montana Western students and staff recently helped move rocks for the Dillon, Mont. hillside letter restoration effort.
The hillside "M" above Dillon dates back to an initiative by the Montana State Normal School class of 1919, who funded the effort. The "M" was completed by the class of 1920.
The project to restore the "M" goes back to last fall when Chancellor Beth Weatherby made the restoration a top priority, UMW Foundation Director Roxanne Engellant explained.
"After nearly a decade as a "W," the hillside letter will be restored to the original "M," keeping in line with a tradition that dates back almost 100 years" Engellant said. "The "M" also signifies our state pride and place within the Montana University System."
The process to bring back the “M” is a collaborative effort involving various stakeholders including Montana Western leadership, faculty, students and alumni, the Beaverhead Trails Coalition, U.S. Forest Service and community members. The project will also require the expertise of Bureau of Land Management rangeland management specialists and USDA botanists.
The UMW biology and environmental sciences departments plan to create opportunities for their classes to assist with this project on an ongoing basis to help with the replanting efforts of the vegetation and provide hands-on experiences for their classes in the fall.
The restoration project will be ongoing through summer 2016 and into 2017.
— MONTANA WESTERN —