“All nine blocks of 8th Avenue were people, solid people on the sidewalk,” Adrian Massey, organizer of the March for Science Bozeman, described the scene on Saturday, April 22. Over 1,000 participants marched from Montana Hall to the Gallatin County Courthouse to promote the study of science and its importance in the world.
The March for Science Bozeman was one of many Earth Day marches and demonstrations around the world that promoted the study and understanding of science. Massey, a non-traditional undergraduate student self-described as “well above traditional age,” took the lead to organize the Bozeman march.
Describing Bozeman as “the STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] hub of Montana,” Massey was expecting a large turnout. “I wasn’t terribly surprised to have 1,000 people involved,” he said.
Beginning around 10 a.m., students, faculty and community members congregating on the Centennial Mall, the event began with speeches from MSU administrators, scientists and businessmen leading their fields. Speakers included MSU Provost Robert Mokwa; MSU Vice President of Research Renee Rejo Pera; Professor of Earth Sciences, Director of the MSU Paleoecology Lab and Co-director of the Montana Institute on Ecosystems Cathy Whitlock; Professor of Entomology and President-elect of the Entomological Society of America Robert Peterson; graduate student in the molecular biosciences Fermin Guerra; the Director of the Montana water program for Trout Unlimited Patrick Byorth; and owner and operator of Harvest Solar Brad Van Wert. The Executive Director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund and House District 66, Bozeman representative Mike Phillips gave a speech at the courthouse to the crowd.
Massey described the march saying, “it was impressive, it was moving, uplifting and humbling all at the same time.” Although he viewed the event as a success, Massey is worried that the momentum brought into the march will not carry into the future. He said, “what I hope more than anything is that people see [the event] as I do: rather than a buildup to a march, as a beginning.”