Local Science Lectures

Bitterroot Climate Action Group sponsors lectures by scientists and local experts in a variety of disciplines to educate and inspire our citizens on climate science. Here we present recordings of past lectures as they become available.

Locally Grown Power

Kent Kernahan

Kent Kernahan is a veteran of the solar industry who has developed innovations that improve solar technology while reducing costs and the use of rare materials.  Kent's 50 year career has brought him over 70 patents.  He is the managing member of idealPV LLC, a Montana solar module technology company and managing partner of the developing nation-wide, locally owned and operated, Locally Grown Power network of non profit community factories. The establishment of the first solar panel factory in Pomona, CA, using this technology, is a model that Locally Grown Power is replicating around the country. The solar module made in these factories feature backwards compatibility with standard solar inverters while others drive batteries or VFDs (pumps). All models include breakthrough improvements in energy yield, safety and reliability. Take a virtual tour of the Locally Grown Power flagship factory in Pomona, California.  Kent gave this presentation to BCAG on April 23, 2021.

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The First Step to Tackling Climate Change

Katharine Hayhoe

Changing our light bulbs, recycling, meat-free Monday ... personal solutions to climate change are important, but they aren’t enough to fix our global problem. Our entire society is based on fossil fuels, and that’s what we have to change. And that’s why the single most important thing that any of us can do to fix climate change is to talk about it: to explain why it matters to us, here and now; to share inspiring stories of the solutions available to us today; and to advocate for change at every level, from our families and communities to our institutions and businesses. Families for a Livable Climate, Moms Clean Air Force Montana, and Mountain Mamas were proud to welcome Katharine Hayhoe, climate scientist and communicator, "to" Montana for this special event on April 6, 2021.

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Renewable Energy for the Home in Montana

Andrew Valainis and Dan Brandborg

This presentation features two Montana experts speaking on renewable energy for home and small business owners. In a talk given March 16, 2021 Andrew Valainis, Executive Director of the Montana Renewable Energy Association, speaks on small scale renewable projects including wind, water, and heat pumps, and tax incentives to make them more affordable. Dan Brandborg, longtime Bitterroot solar contractor, focuses on the nuts-and-bolts of a solar project, including planning, costing, and installation. The talk includes information on energy storage via batteries, either as a backup incase of a power outage, or as a way of moving off grid.

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From Coal to Clean Energy

Anne Hedges

In this virtual lecture presented February 11, 2021, Anne Hedges, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs at the Montana Environmental Information Center (MEIC), covers the transition of the power grid in Montana from coal-fired plants toward renewable energy, touching on changes in energy sourcing, relevant actions and legislation, and ways that citizens can influence the process.

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Conservation Gardening: Meaningful Landscaping in Your Own Yard

David Schmetterling

David presented this virtural lecture to BCAG members on October 29, 2020.  For more than 20 years, David and his botanist wife, Marilyn, have been teaching people in the Missoula area how to use native plants to attract wildlife in a variety of garden settings. When not in the garden, he is the Fisheries Research Coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, where he has worked for 25 years.  His talk covers how to landscape with resource conservation, drought, and wildlife in mind, using examples and successes from his Missoula home on a small city lot.

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Fire and Climate Change in the West

Phil Higuera

In this virtual lecture sponsored by the Bitterroot Climate Action Group on July 15, 2020, Phil Higuera, Associate Professor of Fire Ecology and Director of the Paleoecology and Fire Ecology Lab at the University of Montana, explores why wildfire activity is increasing in the western US, the ecological impacts of wildfire, what to expect for the future and what we can do.

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Chris Clancy

Chris Clancy

Fisheries and Climate Change in Montana

Chris Clancy

On March 10, 2020, Chris Clancy spoke to the Hamilton community about the root causes of climate change, fish trends in different water local bodies and mitigation efforts to deal with these trends.  Chris has been a Fish, Wildlife and Parks fisheries biologist for 40 years, 31 of those years in the Bitterroot Valley. He was influential in the catch and release programs for Cutthroat trout, the historic water use agreement at Painted Rocks Reservoir that allows for the release of instream flows on the Bitterroot and the historic lawsuit over public access to the “Mitchell Slough”.

Thanks Chris!