Flathead Valley Community College Change Agent Team

Tim Eichner, Geospatial Technology
Anita Ho, Geology/Geography
Christina Relyea, Natural Resources

Team Members

Tim Eichner

Tim served as a founding member of Keystone College's Environmental Education Institute (KceeI). This Institute provides professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers by offering courses focused on inquiry-based science with field study, using nature as a laboratory. He has worked as a hydrologist/water resource specialist for the Montana Department of Natural Resources where he reviewed permits and change applications for new water appropriations. He leads the development of the department's GIS water rights assistance tool. Tim also serves as a GIS specialist for a national type 1 incident management team in the summer, providing geospatial intelligence to large wildfire incidents throughout the country.


Tim teaches Forest Measurements, Silviculture, Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Web GIS, Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, GPS Mapping, Forest Surveying, Unmanned Aerial Mapping Systems, Introduction to Geospatial Technology and Land information, Projects in GIS, Natural Resources Calculations, and Inventory of Natural Resources.

Anita Ho

Anita participated in the October 2019 Project EDDIE Module Design and Development Workshop, and will be piloting her module on US oil production and consumption in the Spring 2020 semester. With an economics professor, she co-taught an honors course, "Energy Economics" in 2016 and 2017. She regularly teaches a short (6 classes) regional geology course for FVCC's Senior Institute, a program for seniors in the community from a wide variety backgrounds. Anita is also considering developing an introductory Oceanography course.


Anita teaches Introduction to Physical Geology, Introduction to Physical Geography, Geology of Northwest Montana, Environmental Science, Introduction to Astronomy, Geography of World Regions, and Human Geography

Christina Relyea

Christina redesigned the Natural Resource program at Flathead Valley Community College in 2009 to reflect current trends and technological advances in the broad field of natural resources conservation and management. The focus of the program has been on educating students to work in the many wilderness, national park, and forest service acres in Montana and the surrounding states. Christina has much backcountry experience having worked on research projects in Yellowstone NP and the Frank Church Wilderness and Sawtooth Wilderness areas in Idaho, and is passionate about sustainable practices on the Untied States public lands.


Christina teaches Intro to Soil Resources, Intro to Water Resources, Intro to Natural Resources, Conservation Ecology, Environmental Policy, Understanding Climate Change, Forest Insect and Disease, Forestry Navigation, Science on Stage, and Environment, Culture, and Place.


Flathead Valley Community College serves about 3000 students per year in northwest Montana from their two campuses. Six percent of students are registered with their office of disabilities and 21% are under 18. The college serves an area of Montana greater in size than Massachusetts.


Program Courses: Astronomy, Atmospheric Science, Earth System Science, Environmental Policy/Studies, Environmental Science, Human Geography, Physical Geography, Geology

Students in Program - Depending on the semester, there may be between 3 and 24 students in each of Anita's courses; she typically teaches 40-50 students each semester. The vast majority of them are traditional students, with many of them seeking to transfer to degree programs in a range of fields--students majoring in education and business are common, as are the humanities and social sciences. In any given semester, there may be a few high school students, non-degree-seeking nontraditional students, and engineering students who need a geology course. In her 17 years at FVCC, she knows of only a handful of students who have gone on to complete a geology bachelor's degree in geology.

Number of faculty- In addition to Anita, there is one adjunct faculty at the Lincoln County campus, where one geology or physical geography course is offered each semester.

Program Fit in College Structure - All but the World Regional Geography and Human Geography courses are science courses. Anita is a member of the Math and Science Division at FVCC.

Geospatial Technology
Program Courses: Computer Science, Environmental Policy/Studies GIS

Students in Program - Tim teaches students in the geospatial technology (CTS), natural resources conservation and management (AAS), surveying (AAS), and forestry (AS) programs. This is the third year of existence for the Geospatial Technology Certificate program at Flathead Valley Community College. The enrollment has been low with approximately three to four full-time and two to three part-time students. Our multiple program courses (e.g. Intro to GIS) have had robust enrollment in recent years. Courses specific to the Geospatial Technology Program (e.g. web GIS) have been low, but have generally met our minimum of the five-students requirement to run the class.

Students enrolled in the Geospatial Technology certificate course are diverse, and are generally include the following groups of students: recent graduates with a BS degree (mostly female); recent graduates from our surveying or natural resources programs (mostly male); and students having no prior degree (mostly male with occasional veterans). Working professionals have taken a few of our courses, but none have officially enrolled in the certificate program.

Number of faculty - 1 full-time and 1 adjunct.

Program Fit in College Structure - The Geospatial Technology Certificate program is embedded in the Math and Science Division. As described earlier, this program is a partner program of the natural resources conservation and management and the surveying programs. Our computer science (AS) and programming and game development (AAS) programs have expanded to include geospatial technology classes as optional electives.

Natural Resource Conservation and Management
Program Courses: Biology, Environmental Policy/Studies, Environmental Science, GIS, Silviculture, Forest Insect and Disease, Forest Measurements, Navigation, Remote Sensing, Forest Fire Management, Wildlife, and Recreation Management.

Students in Program - The majority of our students are traditional, male, and from Montana. We have several veterans who are returning to school after active service. We have about 12 full-time Natural Resource students a year, and about 15 Forestry or Wildlife students a year. We have specific courses that natural resource students are required to take for graduation. We have yearly cohorts and they will be in most courses together throughout the program.

Number of faculty - 2 Full-time, 6 adjunct

Program Fit in College Structure - Our department is within the Math and Science Division

Institutional data is from