Butte-Silver Bow Earth Month Efforts
Butte may be a small city, but its conservation efforts are no joke. This month Butte is hosting several clean up events in honor of Earth Day and Earth Month. These events take place just before Butte’s virtual community discussion with the EPA this April. See below how a small community consistently comes together for the sake of our safety, home, and environment.
Butte-Silver Bow’s Earth Day Clean Up
This month, the city of Butte-Silver Bow and The Clark Fork Watershed Education Program hosted a cleanup in honor of Earth Day. The event took place at Clark Park where Butte residents came together to hear Cheif Executive JP Gallagher’s Earth Day Proclamation and cleanup the surrounding neighborhood. CFWEP Arborist, Trevor Peterson, was also in attendance providing attendees with information and resources regarding Earth Month.
The Clark Fork Watershed Education Program at Montana Tech is also organizing and hosting other events throughout the month to support Earth Month. Residents may choose to attend a planting, where they garden and plant as a community, or utilize CFPEP’s interactive map to help keep track of the cleanup efforts within the neighborhood.
Mainstreet Butte has also recently launched its annual Beautify Butte campaign in celebration of Arbor Day. This project plans to plant 1,000 trees in Butte over the next five years. This weekend Mainstreet Butte managed to plant 100 trees, inching closer and closer to their annual goal.
This is not the first nor the last clean up event the Butte-Silver Bow area has planned in the upcoming months. Currently, the library is finalizing plans to organize community cleanups uptown every Saturday, and the Park Street Garden is soon announcing an additional cleanup event. Beginning next month, Butte elementary schools will also host their own cleanups.
For a city so small, Butte has seen many lifetimes. From housing the Copper Kings in the 1880’s to earning the nickname “The Richest Hill on Earth,” Butte’s access and close proximity to Montana’s mines has arguably upheld it’s success. In fact, Butte’s mining district became the largest copper producer in North America by 1910, which made it the second largest copper producer in the world only behind South Africa.
While Butte’s original claim to fame may have been its rich mining advantages, its booming history definitely left behind many scars. The growing mining scene was prosperous for locals in the Butt-Silver Bow area, but it also resulted in irreversible environmental damage that is still being worked on today. Berkeley Pitt and the surrounding areas is considered America’s largest Superfund site. Of course, a good portion of this damage can be attributed to the lack of technology and knowledge during this time period.
Butte’s Current Environmental Efforts
Although many people still associate Butte with its past, the city is aware and proactive of its impact on the environment. In fact, it sometimes feels as though Butte is even more aware than other cities given its extreme experience. Present-day, Butte takes its environmental and wildlife conservation very seriously. The city has provided a 900-page plan to clean the remainder of the Superfund complex, and has built drones and sound machines to prevent birds from reaching toxic wastewater.
In an effort to reverse environmental damage due to the past copper mines, Butte has created new job opportunities for those working in the environmental sciences. This not only helps to keep Butte clean and maintained, but it also boosts the local job market and economy.