Conservation Celebration 2022

We know you care about Montana’s wildlife and wild places, and we hope we’ll see you in Lewistown this May to celebrate. 

Join us on Saturday, May 14, from 5-8 pm for our 2022 Annual Conservation Celebration in Lewistown, Montana at the American Prairie Discovery Center. There will be food, drinks, speakers, networking, and demonstrations. 

Registering for this event helps us ensure we have a proper headcount and are able to send you reminders about our upcoming event. This event is free to attend, and food and drink tickets can be purchased at the door.


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Chris La Tray is a Métis storyteller, a descendent of the Pembina Band of the mighty Red River of the North and an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. He is the author of “One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems and Essays from the World at Large” (2018) and “Descended from a Travel-worn Satchel” (2021). His next book, “Becoming Little Shell,” will be published by Milkweed Editions in 2023. He lives near Missoula, Montana.

Program Description: The Métis Buffalo Hunters of the Northern Plains: Live Presentation with Chris La Tray

The Montana-based Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians became the 574th Indian tribe to be recognized by the United States government in December 2019, after over 150 years of trying. In so doing, the USA is one step closer to recognizing the Métis people as a distinct cultural group, as they are in Canada.

Who are the Métis, how are they related to the Little Shell, and what do they have to do with Montana? This program will answer these questions and discuss how the entire Métis economy and culture was built on their unique relationship with the buffalo from the days when the herds were so large that, “the whole country was one robe.”

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Lailani Upham is Amskapi Pikuni (Blackfeet Nation) tribal member, and Aaniiih, Nakoda, Dakota tribal descent and an adventure explorer, photographer, videographer, writer, storyteller who travels throughout Montana to tell stories from an Indigenous perspective. Upham works to capture stories that inspire people of all walks of life to consider their relationship with nature, while advocating the preservation of tribal stories and public lands.

Program Description: Connecting to Land Through a Tribal Lens

Indigenous stories offer a unique way to understand the power of the natural world and our human connections to it. Through discussion about indigenous peoples’ ways of life, value systems, tribal languages, and stories created long before Montana was established in 1889, participants learn about a personal, soulful relationship to our natural world. Participants also better understand how these elements sustain our identity through history and in modern times. How can our tribal stories and ways of knowing elevate others in their understanding of identity? Participants walk away with a fresh look at who they are and appreciation for the landscape from time immemorial. Audience members ponder responsibility and stewardship to the earth through a tribal lens and discuss ways to act for future generations and our natural world relations.

A huge thank you to Humanities Montana for funding the program and allowing MWF to be able to host these speakers at our event. Humanities Montana serves communities through stories and conversation. If you want to stay up-to-date on their programs sign up for their E-Newsletter.



We are excited to announce that Drewry Hanes will be tabling for our affiliate Public Land Water Access Association at our Conservation Celebration on May 14.

PLWA’s mission is to maintain, restore, and perpetuate public access to the boundaries of all Montana’s public lands and waters.


Drewry is the Executive Director of PLWA. Growing up as the daughter of a cattle farmer who served on committees for both the National Cattleman’s Association and the National Audobon Society, Drew formed an appreciation for the complexities and importance of the role lands and waters play in our lives. Drew began her career with a focus on Africa – pursuing wildlife management research and conservation program design in East Africa before completing degrees in African Studies and Social Anthropology at SOAS in the UK. 

Returning to the States to study, she pursued graduate degrees at Columbia University as a Family Nurse Practitioner and in public health with a focus on maternal adolescent and child health in developing countries. After ten years in the health field, Drew has returned to her roots in conservation and access.

An avid hunter, angler, backcountry skier, mountain biker, and forager, Drew values every day she spends on Montana’s public lands. After seven years of involvement with PLWA as a supporter, member, and Board Member, she is proud to now serving the organization as its Executive Director.

Event Timeline

12 pm-1:30 pm Storytelling- Lailani Upham, Humanities Montana

5:00-6:30 pm: Judith Mountain Lodge Catering (heavy appetizers)

5:00-8:00 pm: Gally’s Brewing (Signature drinks)

5:00- 6:00 pm: Networking Happy Hour

5:30-6:30 pm: Fly Casting

6:45-8:30 pm: Storytelling- Chris La Tray, Humanities Montana


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Alec Underwood

Senior Policy & evelopment Director

Alec is responsible for developing and implementing MWF’s federal conservation advocacy and policy campaigns to protect Montana’s fish and wildlife. He spends most of his free time hunting big game and fly fishing Montana’s cherished trout rivers. He also enjoys backpacking, skiing, photography, and woodworking.