Bozeman volunteer fights for water quality and cats

0 Comment

From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

Everyday People

Bozeman volunteer fights for water quality and cats


Chronicle photoBy 8 a.m. every Monday morning, volunteer Katherine Boyk, 23, is caring for the cats at the Heart of the Valley animal shelter’s off-site adoption center in Bozeman. Since February 2014, she has spent more 89 hours volunteering for the shelter.

A long-haired tabby named Cocoa, 7, was happy to see her this week.

“I’m a cat person at heart, but Bozeman is full of dogs,” she said. “So the shelter’s the place to be. I try to go to the shelter at least once a week to snuggle kitties.”

As part of the AmeriCorps-sponsored Big Sky Watershed Corps, Boyk works for the Greater Gallatin Watershed Council and the Gallatin Valley Land Trust. She answers the phones, writes grants and organizes meetings and youth educational programs.

“We teach kids out at the Bozeman Creek,” she said. “We teach them how to test water quality and catch bugs.”

The Illinois native started after graduating from the environmentally focused Northland College in Wisconsin. She’s not sure what she’s going to do when the Americorps program is complete, but she likes Bozeman.

“Outside of Chicago I never really had the chance to hike or camp much,” Boyk said.

In Bozeman, she’s come to love cross-country skiing, birding with the Sacajawea Audubon Society and hiking the nearby mountains.

Boyk is looking forward to this summer. Along with plans to see more of the state, Boyk will be working to restore water quality in Camp Creek along Norris Road. The project is part of the Lower Gallatin Watershed Restoration Plan and will include riparian fencing, off-stream stock water and stream bank re-vegetation.

“Nitrogen and phosphorous in the water can cause excess algae growth, which means less oxygen for fish and the macroinvertebrates they eat,” Boyk said. “As well as make an unpleasant place for us.”

Troy Carter can be reached at or at 406-582-2630. Carter is on Twitter at @cartertroy.