The morning sun warmed journalists and environmentalists as they set off at 8:30 am on Thursday to learn about "Preserving Wildlife in a Changing World."
The group spent the day exploring the homes of the snowshoe hare, lynx, elk, wolf, and dozens of other species living on the edges of Montana's urban areas.
At the first stop, they visited a new housing development near Missoula, with views across urban elk habitat.
On Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal land, game cameras monitoring wildlife corridors -- underpasses and overpasses -- caught footage of curious journalists instead.
As the tour rolled to the Seeley Lake area, experts discussed wolf management by way of hunting and non-lethal practices.
Upon arrival the group met a caged wild hare, whose ears and feet were beginning their seasonal change from earthen brown to snowy white. The animal was one of many being tracked by University of Montana researchers.
The group left the Flathead National Forest en route to the Rattlesnake Valley, ending the day's tour with a demonstration by Pepin, a canine employed by Working Dogs for Conservation. This obsessive shepherd is trained to memorize the scent of species scat, in order to locate that animal’s feces in the field to determine population size.