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The Gallatin Conservation District’s Rolling Rivers Trailer is an exciting educational tool used to teach Southwestern Montana’s youth and adults about how rivers work and why they are such an important natural resource.

The ‘Rolling River’ is a utility trailer with a six-inch deep trailer bed filled with sand (actually recycled plastic granules) and equipped with plumbing to pump water from a tank underneath to the front of the trailer. A meandering river or two is scooped out, running from one end to the other. To set the scene, trees, foliage, and a few rocks line the riverbank. Then, toy figures of wildlife, livestock, people, houses, barns, corrals, a parking lot with cars, and farm equipment are placed on top, to form a simulated watershed. When water is turned on at the top of the watershed, it flows through the river and can be used to demonstrate a variety of water lessons. For example, we provide presentations on river energy, riparian areas, watershed health, erosion control, nonpoint source pollution, and the effects of development along river banks.

Our presentations can be tailored to all ages and are available upon request. For educational events, the trailer is able to be booked during the spring, summer, and fall months, however, it can be booked up quickly. Please, plan ahead to schedule the trailer and/or our garden space for a presentation as soon as possible. 

If you’re interested in using one of the Rolling River Trailers for an event, please contact Sydney Lyons, our Education Director, at (406)282-4350 or by email

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