Northern Plains 50th Annual Meeting

Cheers to 50 Years
November 19-20, 2021

Northern Plains’ 50th Annual Meeting is almost here! Join us as we say “Cheers to 50 Years” and celebrate almost a half-century of standing shoulder-to-shoulder to protect Montana.

About the Meeting

Our Annual Meeting is the one time of year As always, you can expect informative, engaging sessions, and plenty of ways to celebrate together.

It’s our favorite gathering of fun, fellowship, and learning on November 19-20. This year marks Northern Plains’ 50th Annual Meeting, and we have lined up experts, as well as movers and shakers, from throughout Montana and across the country to help us commemorate the occasion.We look forward to seeing you all again on Zoom this fall! 

We’re sad to miss the camaraderie of seeing friends and fellow members in person, but we do look forward to the potential for those of you who otherwise might not be able to travel to the meeting to attend virtually this year!

We are pleased to announce two keynote speakers this year: Marshall Ganz and Katharine Hayhoe!

Marshall Ganz teaches, researches, and writes on leadership, narrative, social movements, civic associations, and politics. He is currently the Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing, and Civil Society at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Katharine Hayhoe is “one of the nation’s most effective communicators on climate change” (The New York Times). A climate scientist and professor living in Texas, she is the newly-appointed Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and a leading expert on the science, impacts, and communication of climate change.

Questions about the Annual Meeting? Contact Claire at or (406) 248-1154.

**All times listed in Mountain Time (MT). Schedule subject to change.

Friday, November 19

5:15 PM Chair’s Welcome: Jeanie Alderson
5:30 – 6:30 PM

KEYNOTE: Katharine Hayhoe

Katharine Hayhoe is “one of the nation’s most effective communicators on climate change” (The New York Times). A Canadian climate scientist and professor living in Texas, she is the newly-appointed Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a United Nations Champion of the Earth, and a leading expert on the science, impacts, and communication of climate change. Over the past fifteen years she’s found that the most effective way to talk about climate change is not by focusing on the facts, but on shared values and common ground.

6:30 – 7:00 PM Social Hour
7:00 – 8:30 PM

History Programming and Friday Night Fun: Almost 50 Years with (and without?) Northern Plains

This session begins with a short presentation answering the question, “What would Montana look like without Northern Plains?” We’ll take a visual tour of this frightening alternative history where eastern Montana is scarred from unchecked strip mining, Keystone XL spills barrels of toxic tar sands into the Missouri River, foreclosure signs are more abundant than crops or cattle, and more. Thankfully, none of this is true because of Northern Plains’ tenacious members! We’ll spend most of this session celebrating our real history with storytelling from longtime leaders recounting almost five decades of protecting Montana.

Saturday, November 20

8:00 AM – 12:00 PM


This is when we debate and adopt policy resolutions to guide our work. Being a member means you have the right to vote on policy resolutions that help guide Northern Plains’ work in the year ahead. Results of elections for officers and at-large Board delegates will also be announced! (The Meeting of the Membership is open to dues-paying Northern Plains members only.)

12:00 – 1:00 PM

KEYNOTE: Marshall Ganz

A familiar name in organizing circles, Marshall Ganz teaches, researches, and writes on leadership, narrative, social movements, civic associations, and politics. He is currently the Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing, and Civil Society at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

1:00 – 2:00 PM Break for lunch
2:00 – 2:30 PM


We will announce the winners of our annual member awards: The Bob Tully Spirit Award and the Mary Donohoe “Tell It Like it Is” Award!

2:30 – 3:30 PM

Investor-Owned Utilities and Methane: “Clean Energy” for Them, Climate Disaster for Us

As the need for more power generation increases in this country, many Investor Owned Utilities are choosing methane gas as a “clean energy alternative”. With Northwestern Energy already in the process of building one of eight methane plants in Montana, we look at the motivations of IOUs to choose this resource, and the severe consequences they have for our health and planet.

3:30 – 3:45 PM Break
3:45 – 4:45 PM

How Corporate Consolidation of Ag Impacts Producers, Communities, and YOU

When you buy food at the store, where is your dollar going? This session will explore the impacts of corporate consolidation to our agriculture industry, our farmers and ranchers, our communities, and consumers. We’ll examine the phenomenon of seeing increased food prices for consumers while producers go out of business at alarming rates and explore potential policy solutions to regain control from corporate Ag giants – including opportunities for action!

4:45 – 5:00 PM

Flash Talk: Will You Plan a Will?

A will is the simplest and most powerful way to make sure your wishes are carried out beyond your lifetime. If you are one of the more than 50% of people who don’t have a will, join us for some motivation to get it done, directions to a simple checklist to help you start that process, and more with Mary Fitzpatrick.

5:00 – 5:20 PM

Chrysti the Wordsmith: Getting to the Root of “Grassroots”

Northern Plains is, and always has been, a grassroots organization. We take pride in that, but what does it really mean? Radio’s own Chrysti the Wordsmith will take us along as she dives into the etymology of the word “grassroots”. As we commemorate the history of our organization, we’ll reflect on the history of this word held at the core of Northern Plains’ identity.

5:20 PM  Closing Announcements

Online Auction

Our traditional Annual Meeting auction will be hosted online this year, meaning you can bid from anywhere on great items from across Montana: from local artwork and ceramics, to packages that showcase makers and establishments from across the state, to experiences and memory-making trips. You could win:

  • A days guided fishing trip on the Yellowstone River and two nights at the Gardiner Bed & Breakfast on the north end of Yellowstone National Park
  • A Montana-raised lamb processed to your liking from Sand Creek Farm in Glendive
  • Original paintings, ceramics, and photography from Montana artists
  • Curated outings around Billings, Bozeman, Big Timber, Helena, and more!

This is a great opportunity to take care of some holiday shopping or bring home a unique treasure for yourself! Many items were generously donated or even handmade by members of Northern Plains (thank you!). All proceeds go to furthering our shared mission of protecting Montana’s water quality, family farms and ranches, and unique quality of life.

Place your bid today!


“Southfork Cottonwoods” oil painting by Montana artist Clyde Aspevig.

Learn more about Clyde and his work in this video.

Call for Sponsorships

It’s not too late to sponsor and help us put on Northern Plains’ biggest event of the year! We host hundreds of guests from across Montana for two days of inspiration and education. Become a sponsor today to receive ad space in our event program, publicity to thousands of Montanans via social media and our website, inclusion in our slide shows and digital signage, plus tabling space and even verbal shout-outs at the event. To learn more and to sponsor, visit our sponsor page.

THANK YOU to our generous sponsors for helping make this event possible!


Thank you Matthew Moog MD, LLC: Anesthesiology, Big Horn, WY!


OnSite Energy, Inc. is a locally-owned solar power contractor based out of Bozeman, Montana, specializing in solar electric (photovoltaic) project development, design, and installation.

Contact: Orion Thornton

(406) 551-6135

High Plains’ mission is to serve and inspire our clients, community, heritage and environment by designing innovative, cost-effective, high-performance buildings that people love.

Contact: Randy Hafer

(406) 896-0250

Provides organics recycling in Yellowstone County and create STA Certified compost and mulch available to landscape and agriculture industries throughout central Montana.

Contact: JB Farley

(406) 855-1347

Providing Solar & Wind Power Systems for Montana since 1994

Contact: Henry Dykema

(406) 425-1153

Celebrating 86 years of community banking.

(406) 652-3381

High, Wide, and Handsome – just like Montana. Original brews now on tap!

(406) 534-4922


Family owned and operated ranch. We believe that food should not only be healthy, delicious, and affordable, but also that it should be raised with care and practices that not only honor our animals, but also our land, water and way of life.

Contact: Jeanie Alderson

(406) 984-6229

A grower’s cooperative serving central and eastern Montana. Order online for pick up or delivery every Thursday!

Contact: Michele Schahczenski

(406) 894-2472

Family health and wellness clinic serving the people of southeastern Montana, northern Wyoming, and the western Dakotas. Caring for the whole person, we seek to restore in every patient the energy and vitality that nature intended.

(406) 259-5096


Oasis Montana designs and sells renewable power energy systems all over the world specializing in battery based, off-grid solar systems and can help set up a system for your farm or ranch, business, or home. Give us a call to talk more – we’ll meet you wherever you are!

Contact: Chris Daum

(406) 777-4309

Citizen’s Climate Lobby – Billings Chapter

Political will for a living world. Learn more about Montana groups at:

Northern Plains History Project

Our history tells us that when we stand together to protect our land and communities, we make Montana a better place.

A few years ago, we set out to strengthen our organization by developing a deeper understanding of our history. Since then, we have compiled documents, footage, photos, historical records, and articles that capture 50 years of organizing to protect Montana’s family farms and ranches and unique quality of life. The result is a series of videos, a published anthology, and a photo display of over 65 photos of our most influential moments and leaders. We look forward to celebrating this work with you at the Annual Meeting! Click below to view “Standing Together”, our 20 minute short film, our virtual Photo Display, and more!

Quilt Raffle – your chance to win!

Take your chance on our raffle of a beautiful, king-size quilt crafted and donated by member Barb Berg of Lewistown. It could be yours if you are the lucky winner!

Crafted in teal, purples, and grays, this quilt combines main fabrics called fairy frosts with stars done in a variation of a log cabin pattern. Like much of the work of Northern Plains, this quilt was built by hand, through collaboration, and one step at a time. It was a ‘mystery quilt project’ undertaken by a group of sisters. This means one person picks a pattern and then sends blind instructions to the rest of the group in monthly installments – so as you are making your quilt you have no idea what it will look like.

Through your support, you can make a big difference in building the capacity of our organization for the coming year and help celebrate our 50th Annual Meeting. Whether you win the quilt or not, consider the purchase of these raffle tickets as an investment in the work important to us all.

Tickets are $10 each, or 3 for $25. Simply mail a check or cash to our office with indication of how many tickets you’d like to purchase — just be sure that it reaches the office by November 19. (Due to state regulations, we can only accept payments in the form of cash or check.) The winner will be drawn and notified on November 20!