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The Berkeley Pit looking west from Rampart Mountain near Butte, Montana. The Pit water and connected underground mines and wells are monitored monthly by the Montana Bureau of Mines & Geology. Photo by Matt Vincent.

Berkeley Pit Tours Available

The Berkeley Pit looking west from Rampart Mountain near Butte, Montana. The Pit water and connected underground mines and wells are monitored monthly by the Montana Bureau of Mines & Geology. Photo by Matt Vincent.
The Berkeley Pit looking west from Rampart Mountain near Butte, Montana. The Pit water and connected underground mines and wells are monitored monthly by the Montana Bureau of Mines & Geology.

Would your class like to research the Berkeley Pit for a school project? Interested in arranging a tour for your class?

PitWatch can help. Send an email expressing your interest to info@pitwatch.org and the Berkeley Pit Public Education Committee can help arrange a tour with Montana Resources, as well as bring in volunteer scientists and technical professionals working on Berkeley Pit issues to give you and your students the lowdown on the Berkeley Pit.

Many students and teachers are learning about science by visiting the Berkeley Pit in Butte, Montana.

Awards for Berkeley Pit Science Projects Available

Many students and teachers are learning about science by visiting the Berkeley Pit in Butte, Montana.
Many students and teachers are learning about science by visiting the Berkeley Pit in Butte, Montana.

Since 1997, the Berkeley Pit Public Education Committee has given awards, including cash and scholarships, at annual Montana Tech Science & Engineering Fairs to students with projects that explore topics related to the Berkeley Pit.

Are you interested in doing a science project on the Berkeley Pit or a related issue? Would you like to research the Berkeley Pit for a school project?

PitWatch can help. Send an email expressing your interest to info@pitwatch.org and the Berkeley Pit Public Education Committee can help connect you with scientists and technical professionals working on Berkeley Pit issues.

 

Clark Fork Watershed Education Program (CFWEP) logo

Get Berkely Pit Education Support from CFWEP

The Clark Fork Watershed Education Program (CFWEP) has been a leading provider of environmental and restoration education programs and services in western Montana since 2005. Based at the Montana Tech Institute for Educational Opportunities in Butte, Montana, CFWEP offers multi-disciplinary science and history programs for schools, teachers, and students in and around the Upper Clark Fork Basin. CFWEP also offers public education and outreach services such as tours, events, and publications that connect the public with the science and history of the amazing landscape of western Montana.

The CFWEP is fully equipped to provide education and information regarding watershed health, ecosystems and biota in uninjured, injured and restored stream reachers, anchored by historic and environmental context.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of CFWEP, past successes, andeducational programs, visit the Cfwep.Org website.

Butte Students Explore Pit Clean Up, Win National Awards

Two Butte students – Alexandra Antonioli and Kels Phelps – have taken their school science projects to the highest levels of success. After claiming local awards from the Pit Committee, their impressive work has earned national awards and scholarships for their continuing education.

Alexandra, a Butte High senior, has spent most of her educational career working on science fair projects relating to solutions and issues regarding the Berkeley Pit. When she’s not swimming and playing piano, she’s working on her main project titled, “An Investigation of the Remediation of Berkeley Pit Water Using Genetically Modified Extremophilic Yeast”. Although it’s quite complicated, Alexandra’s simplified explanation is the project deals with evaluating microorganisms and their ability to sequester the complex mineral compounds contained within the water. The end result is the potential detoxification of Pit water. For her work, Alexandra has received a full scholarship ($78,000) to Drexel University for microbiology, as well as numerous other honors, including awards from the Navy, the University of Montana and Montana Tech.

Kels, a Butte High freshman, has also concentrated on microbiology and the Berkeley Pit for his science fair project. The project, “Do Microbes Growing in Unique Ecological Niches Contain Compounds with Redeemable Medicinal Value,” was one of 40 finalists (out of 60,000 nominations) in the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge in Washington, D.C. in October 2002. At this national competition, Kels won a special award for leadership, a physics award, and a scholarship to attend an aviation camp in Wisconsin next summer. Kels says his project was looking for a possible medicine from a fungus that grows in the Berkeley Pit. Tested for its ability to fight cancer and five types of infections, it was discovered that this fungus was a possible anti-cancer agent and lethal to Staphylococcus aureus.

Others Butte students are encouraged to develop projects related to mining or the Berkeley Pit for the 2003 Science Fair next spring at Montana Tech.

Meet Our 2002 Science Fair Winners


PitWatch Issue Volume 7, Number 1

The Committee awarded $50 savings bonds to the four grade-school students and a $250 bond to the high school student. Their science fair projects all explored important topics related to the Berkeley Pit. Congratulations to everyone who competed in the Fair, and keep up the good work! Remember, the Committee will offer awards again at the 2003 Science Fair, and students are encouraged to choose projects related to the Pit for next year’s competition.

John Metesh 5th grade, Kennedy "Can Berkeley Pit Water Be Good For You?"John Metesh
5th grade, Kennedy
“Can Berkeley Pit Water Be Good For You?”

 

 

Cara Patton 6th grade, Margaret Leary "Horseshoe Bend Water and Soap"Cara Patton
6th grade, Margaret Leary
“Horseshoe Bend Water and Soap”

 

 

Abby Roberts 7th grade, Chief Joseph Middle School (Bozeman) "Solar Evaporator For Mine"Abby Roberts
7th grade, Chief Joseph Middle School (Bozeman)
“Solar Evaporator For Mine”

 

 

Kels Phelps  8th grade, East Middle School "Do Microbes Growing In Unique Ecological Niches Contain Compounds With Redeemable Medicinal Value?"Kels Phelps
8th grade, East Middle School
“Do Microbes Growing In Unique Ecological Niches Contain Compounds With Redeemable Medicinal Value?”

 

 

Alexandra Antonioli  Junior, Butte High "An Investigation of the Remediation of Berkeley Pit Water Using Genetically Modified Extremophilic Yeast"Alexandra Antonioli
Junior, Butte High
“An Investigation of the Remediation of Berkeley Pit Water Using Genetically Modified Extremophilic Yeast”

Meet Our Science Fair Winners (1997)

The Committee awarded $50 savings bonds to each of these students. Their science fair projects all explored important topics related to the Berkeley Pit. Congratulations, and keep up the good work! In fact, the Committee intends to offer awards again at the 1998 Science Fair, and students are encouraged to choose projects related to the Pit for next year’s competition.

 Joe Metesh 4th grade, Kennedy Elementary What Makes Acid in the Berkeley Pit?Joe Metesh
4th grade, Kennedy Elementary
What Makes Acid in the Berkeley Pit?

 film Forrest Gump trailer

 film Forrest Gump trailer

Becky Patton 5th grade, Longfellow Elementary Can You Cleanse Polluted Water by Boiling or Freezing?

Becky Patton
5th grade, Longfellow Elementary
Can You Cleanse Polluted Water by Boiling or Freezing?

 film Forrest Gump trailer

 film Forrest Gump trailer

Jamie Rozan 6th grade, Longfellow Elementary Taking Minerals out of Pit WaterJamie Rozan
6th grade, Longfellow Elementary
Taking Minerals out of Pit Water

 film Forrest Gump trailer

 film Forrest Gump trailer

Alec Macgregor 7th grade, East Middle School The Effects of Lime Addition into the Warm Springs Ponds SystemsAlec Macgregor
7th grade, East Middle School
The Effects of Lime Addition into the Warm Springs Ponds Systems

 film Forrest Gump trailer

 film Forrest Gump trailer

Brian Wheeler 8th grade, Ramsay School Remediation of Berkeley Pit Water using Chemical Adjustment of pH LevelsBrian Wheeler
8th grade, Ramsay School
Remediation of Berkeley Pit Water using Chemical Adjustment of pH Levels