BOZEMAN — Montana State University Extension is accepting applications from rural Montana communities to participate in the Reimagining Rural virtual gathering planned for this fall.

The virtual gathering is a series of three evening events where people come together in their communities to listen to virtual speakers discuss positive examples of successful rural communities. Following the speakers, local groups each have a facilitated conversation about how those ideas might work in their community. Sessions are planned from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 13, Sept. 27 and Oct. 4. Any community in Montana is welcome to apply, and participation is free.

“People who are passionate about creating vibrant, robust rural places, growing local capacity and who are eager to learn, connect and lead local change will find some great inspiration through Reimagining Rural,” said Jennifer Anderson, MSU Extension agent for Rosebud and Treasure counties and an organizer of the virtual program. “These local leaders often can’t make the trip to the conferences held in larger communities because they have businesses to run or jobs they can’t leave, but Reimagining Rural brings those ideas to any town, no matter how remote.”

More than 230 people participated in the Reimagining Rural virtual gathering in 2020, with socially distanced events in 24 communities.

“Participants came away with a new awareness of the positive things that are happening in rural communities,” said Tara Mastel, MSU Extension community development program lead and planning team member. “They were surprised to learn about rural ‘brain gain’ of people aged 30-49 moving to rural communities, the importance of arts and culture to rural places and the strong desire people have to enjoy a rural lifestyle. These new ways of thinking about their community inspired leaders to start new projects and engage new leaders to work toward a more vibrant future.”

Reimagining Rural is made possible through a collaboration among MSU Extension, the Burton K. Wheeler Center and the Montana Community Foundation. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available to support the event.

To learn more or to download the application, visit msuextension.org/communitydevelopment/reimagine-rural.html.

 

- By MSU News Service -