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Fri, May 17


Pintler's Portal Hostel

Wings of Conservation - A Birding Experience for Avian Enthusiasts

Amid Anaconda’s scenic landscapes and alongside regional avian experts, join us for a transformative weekend at Wings of Conservation. Gain insights into avian conservation and habitat management while experiencing regional bird species up close.

Wings of Conservation - A Birding Experience for Avian Enthusiasts
Wings of Conservation - A Birding Experience for Avian Enthusiasts

Time & Location

May 17, 2024, 3:00 PM MDT – May 19, 2024, 12:30 PM MDT

Pintler's Portal Hostel, 218 W Park St, Anaconda, MT 59711, USA

About the Event

Wings of Conservation - A Birding Experience for Avian Enthusiasts

Join us for our first annual birding event that goes beyond the ordinary. At “Wings of Conservation,” we will delve into the heart of avian conservation and habitat preservation and share unique experiences with a wide array of bird species. Here, we will explore the vibrant world of woodland, aquatic, wetland and open habitat birds and their ecosystems–and the unique nature of Anaconda environments–with expert-led, hands-on field experiences and insightful educational sessions.

Date: May 17th, 18th, 19th

All Inclusive Weekend!


Expert-Led Field Experiences:

Led by avian experts, 3 field experiences promise an engaging encounter with a plethora of bird species and habitats. We’ll explore upland forests, picturesque wetlands, pristine meadows and vibrant riparian areas engaging in a robust avian ecosystem. Learn the art of successful identification, behavior insights and call recognition, all while experiencing the variety of regional avian species.

Lectures on Habitat Conservation and Current Regional Research:

Gain a deeper understanding of critical issues affecting bird habitat with thought provoking lectures presented by conservation experts. Learn the regional successes of habitat remediation and restoration related to Anaconda’s efforts before, during and after Superfund. The regional habitat has been heavily damaged due to mining and smelter operations. Over decades of land remediation and habitat restoration, rehabilitation and replacement we see a gradual recovery of wetland, upland and conifer forest bird habitat and species. Learn about these impacts and successes directly from regional experts. 

Expert Panel Q & A Session:

Engage in interactive dialog with our panel of conservationists, biologists and avian researchers.  Pose your questions, share insights, and gain valuable knowledge from those at the forefront of avian conservation.


Mark Mariano - Montana Wetlands and Waterfowl

Restoration Ecologist & Co-Founder

Keynote Speaker, Field Experience Guide, Q&A Panelist

Mark Mariano studied ecological restoration at the University of Montana and then followed his favorite natural system (water!) upstream to Butte for graduate school at Montana Tech. He is a passionate outdoorsman who is always looking to further his ecology background with intimate knowledge of the natural environment. Day-to-day, Mark is the self-proclaimed Waterfowl Protection Specialist for the Berkeley Pit Waterfowl Protection Program. He plays the critical role of incorporating waterfowl ecology into the program, among other things.

Outside of work, Mark is an avid volunteer in the conservation community, serving on multiple boards and volunteering for multiple organizations including the George Grant Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Helena Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, and the Clark Fork River Technical Assistance Committee. Mark also recently co-founded a conservation group--Montana Wetlands and Waterfowl--which is a nonprofit dedicated to education, conservation, and a heightened awareness of Montana’s wetland inhabitants. When he’s not working or volunteering, he can be found outside, pursuing just about anything that swims or flies, usually on public land.

Nate Kohler - Bighorn Environmental Sciences & Clark Fork Coalition

Retired Field Technician

Field Experience Guide, Q&A Panelist

Nate has been a Montana resident since 1970, living in the Upper Clark Fork since 1998. A recently retired field technician, he monitored birds along Silver Bow Creek and the Upper Clark Fork River, and conducted other bird monitoring projects in the area. Nate’s interest in birds began in the early 1990’s, and he has enjoyed sharing his knowledge with others in the field. For approximately 15 years Nate led a number of bird watching field trips, primarily for Montana Audubon Chapters during their annual bird festivals which have occurred at locations across Montana. He has been a member of the Montana Bird Records Committee since 2010 and a state reviewer for eBird since 2012. Nate has traveled extensively through the state supporting these endeavors, gaining considerable knowledge in the identification, occurrence and distribution of Montana’s birds. Nate’s knowledge of natural history is not only limited to birds, as he also has interest in many of Montana’s plants and animals.

Megan Fylling - University of Montana Bird Ecology Lab

Research Director and Avian Ecologist

Field Experience Guide, Lecture Presentation

Megan grew up in the flat land of North Dakota where her favorite memories include exploring in nature with her brother. She decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in Zoology after snorkeling with sea turtles on the Big Island of Hawaii. In 2000, Megan moved to Montana to attend UM’s Flathead Lake Biological Station to finish her undergraduate degree. It was during this field course where she began her career observing birds and has never looked back. Megan has worked continually at the University of Montana since 2004 and earned her M.S. degree at UM studying nest-site selection of Lewis’s Woodpeckers. Megan currently oversees several programs: a multi-partner “Bird’s-eye View Education Program” which collects scientific data on birds and offers opportunities for the public to view birds up-close and learn about their role in the ecosystem, a long-term Migration Project using mark-recapture data to monitor migratory songbirds, an ecotoxicology project focused on the effects of mining contaminants on songbird reproductive success, and research using tiny GPS and transmitter units that provide information on the migratory movements of birds. Megan is passionate about movement ecology and connecting the public to nature. Outside of work, you can find Megan skiing with her family, baking sourdough in the kitchen, or trail running with her rescue dog and friends.

Bridger Creel - University of Montana Bird Ecology Lab

PhD Student 

Field Experience Guide, Lecture Presentation 

Bio and more information to come! 

Vanna Boccadori - Fish Wildlife and Parks 

Wildlife Biologist

Lecture Presentation, Q&A Panelist 

Vanna Boccadori has been the Butte area wildlife biologist for MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks since 2005. One of the responsibilities of this position has been managing Mt. Haggin Wildlife Management Area, the state’s largest WMA. She’s enjoyed implementing habitat projects that hopefully are leaving the WMA in better shape then the way she found it. One of her favorite projects is running a bird banding station, which she’ll tell you more about at the event! 

Mary Venegas - University of Montana

Graduate Student - Wildlife Biology

Lecture Presentation

Mary Venegas is a graduate student at the University of Montana (UM). She was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela surrounded by the calls of wild Blue-and-yellow Macaws, the aroma of fresh coffee, and the essence of the Andes. Mary moved to the US to study Wildlife Biology at UM, a degree she completed in 2019. She has worked with diverse fauna across the US and abroad, most recently though, her work has focused on Montana's songbirds. Through her current graduate program, Mary is collaborating with the University of Montana Bird Ecology Lab (UMBEL) and Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to understand the drivers and impacts of heavy metals in songbirds around the Anaconda's Smelter Superfund site. More broadly, she is interested in bridging the gap between the general public and researchers’ conservation efforts, increasing diversity across the professional spheres, and fostering collaborations between interested parties.

Will McDowell - Clark Fork Coalition

Retired Stream Restoration Director

Lecture Presentation, Q&A Panelist

With a BS in Biology from Carleton College and an MS in Watershed Hydrology from University of Arizona,

Will just retired in December 2023 from 25 years working on watershed restoration for non-profits in western Montana. Prior to living in western Montana Will lived, worked and bird-watched in Latin America and Southern Arizona for 16 years.

Ray Vinkey - Montana Natural Resource Damage Program

Environmental Science Specialist 

Q&A Panelist 

Ray Vinkey has been working on lands and wildlife conservation in the Upper Clark Fork for the better part of 20 years.  Ray has a master’s degree in wildlife biology from the University of Montana and has worked on wildlife habitat restoration and enhancement, wildlife population management and monitoring.  Ray has been employed by NRDP since 2000.  His work is currently focused on restoration actions in the Anaconda Uplands as well as terrestrial projects throughout the watershed.


  • Wings of Conservation Birding Experience
  • Two and a half days direct interaction with avian professionals
  • A series of lectures and panel discussions
  • Three different in-the-field birding experiences
  • Two nights lodging in Pintler’s Portal hostel
  • Two locally catered dinners
  • Two locally catered breakfasts
  • One lunch in the field
  • Beverages from Smelter City Brewing and The Bighorn Bottle Shop and Wine Bar
  • One afternoon to explore Anaconda
  • Specials and discounts from local businesses
  • An irresistibly robust swag bag
  • Refreshing beverages during the field tours


Voted the Best Hostel in Montana 2023,  Pintler's Portal Hostel serves as a base camp to adventure and experience in the Anaconda area. Rooms are designed for sleeping and the extraordinary common areas are ideal for socializing, meetings, presentations and gatherings as well as cooking and dining.

During Wings of Conservation, rooms can be rented as private spaces or shared with one other Wings of Conservation guest. Rooms are equipped with twin bunk beds and sleep 1-4 people.  Shower and bath suites are separate from the sleeping rooms and optimize privacy.

The lounge with its large flatscreen TV, fireplace, and comfortable seating provides a common area for connecting with guests and experts during meals, lectures, Q&A sessions and after hours.

Guests will have access to the full double kitchen, complimentary tea, coffee and other goodies, as well as a coin operated laundry.  A private outside space is the perfect location to enjoy lunch, read a book or listen to the birds.

For photos and more information about our award winning accommodations, please visit our website.


  1. Getting here - Private or shared travel plans to Anaconda, MT are up to you.
  2. Local transportation - As a group we’ll be traveling to field experiences, and we can help coordinate ride sharing, but there will be no formally organized transportation. We’ll figure that out together.
  3. Lunch - On Saturday, take the opportunity to explore Anaconda’s local lunch spots! Included in your Welcome Packet you’ll find restaurant discounts and other perks. We’re always happy to help with suggestions.
  4. Equipment - Bring your bino’s, scope, hiking/walking supports, anything you need to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience. (Some bino’s and scopes will be available for group usage.)
  5. Inquiring minds - We’re so thrilled to have you all and can’t wait to build community and learn and experience alongside one another!


Attending the inaugural "Wings of Conservation" event is an unparalleled opportunity for birding enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. We’re thrilled to offer a unique blend of expert-led field experiences, informative lectures on habitat conservation, an interactive Q&A session with a panel of conservationists and biologists and the opportunity to connect with other avian enthusiasts and experts. Nestled in the award-winning Pintler's Portal Hostel, participants will enjoy not only comfortable lodging but also a chance to connect with like-minded individuals, fostering a sense of community. With locally catered meals, refreshing beverages, and a robust swag bag, "Wings of Conservation" ensures a memorable and educational weekend while forging lasting connections with the natural world and fellow enthusiasts. We can’t wait to experience it with you!

Availability is limited, so book now!

Any questions or concerns regarding the Wings of Conservation event please call 406-563-4555 or email at



  • 3 hours 30 minutes

    Welcome & Kick Off, Dinner

    Hostel Lounge

  • 1 hour 30 minutes

    Keynote Presentation

    Hostel Lounge
6 more items available


  • WOConservation / private room

    Sale ends: May 18, 3:00 PM MDT

    This ticket is to the Wings of Conservation event in Anaconda, MT hosted by Pintler's Portal Hostel! It includes: *Wings of Conservation program--hear from, hang with, and field tour with the experts. *Two hot breakfasts *A variety of snacks *Two catered dinners *Beverages, inc fine wine & craft beer *Swag Bag with 10% off coupons from many Anaconda businesses One private room for two nights (your private room will have 1 twin, 1 triple, or 2 double bunks). This ticket for 1 person only.

    +$14.38 service fee
  • WOConservation / shared room

    Sale ends: May 18, 3:00 PM MDT

    This ticket is to the Wings of Conservation event in Anaconda, MT hosted by Pintler's Portal Hostel! It includes: *Wings of Conservation program--hear from, hang with, and field tour with the experts. *Two hot breakfasts *A variety of snacks *Two catered dinners *Beverages, inc fine wine & craft beer *Swag Bag with 10% off coupons from many Anaconda businesses There are two bunk beds in your room. One other WOC guest may be sleeping in the other bunk. This ticket for one person only.

    +$11.88 service fee



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