MTPR

Bear Trust International

Frenchtown kindergarten teacher Justine Luebke shows off a brand new HEPA air filtration unit that will help purify the air in her classroom.
Nora Saks

Now that fire season has extended into the school year, many western Montana schools have been keeping kids inside because of heavy smoke. But that doesn’t mean they’re breathing clean air. Some community partnerships are springing up to try to get air filters into more classrooms.

An organization that's usually focused on bear conservation is raising money for air filters for schools in Frenchtown.

Missoula-based Bear Trust International is about $3,000 away from its goal of raising about $8,200 to place air filters in all 32 Frenchtown classrooms. A press release says the need is acute because there is no air conditioning in Frenchtown schools, so teachers have to open windows to moderate temperatures.