A young fox sheepishly walked around a tank filled with tiny aquatic life, watching her parents as they assured her it was okay.
That fox, Bigfork resident Tristyn Chabot, 7, was at the Flathead Biological Station, located at 32125 Bio Station Lane, Polson, on Friday, Aug. 3, for its annual open house.
While the Chabot family, including parents Sean and Sharman, enjoyed each of the stations spread throughout the campus, Tristyn took advantage of facepainting — transforming into her second-favorite animal behind a dog.
Among Tristyn’s favorite parts of the open house were the origami station, where she said she enjoyed learning about the Japanese art of paper folding.
Collecting samples from the lake into a cup, Tristyn said that she and her father viewed the contents under a microscope.
“Anything that’s so tiny goes into the cup,” she explained, adding that light from the microscope “goes through” the specimen and is seen by looking to the eyepiece.
Tristyn also had her sights set on riding the station’s boat for a quick trip to a monitor buoy at the deepest part of the lake, which is just less than 400 feet.
When school resumes in several days, Tristyn is looking forward to her favorite gym class.
She is interested in becoming a rock scientist when she is older.
Tom Bansak, assistant director of the Biological Station, said that there were between 350 and 400 people who attended the open house.
In all, visitors enjoyed 15 formal displays at the seven stations, manned by Biological Station personnel.
Bansak said the open house has been held for at least 22 years, and is a way for the public to become familiar with studies and practices conducted through the research center.
“It’s a way to engage the community at the broadest level,” Bansak said, noting that there is no fee to attend, so oftentimes residents bring visitors.
Bansak said that for those who weren’t able to attend the open house, they can stop by the Biological Station, which is open to the public.
A self-guided tour brochure allows visitors to wander the location at their leisure, while guided tours are available through scheduling.
For more information on the Flathead Biological Station, visit flbs.umt.edu/newflbs.