MISSOULA - It will be the first-of-its-kind in Montana — a community-centered scientific education center.
And it's named in honor of a Missoula man who's worked in agriculture and community connection here for decades.
The Exploration Center at the Missoula County Fairgrounds should be in its final construction stages next spring and will become home to a butterfly house and insectarium.
The center was officially named the Gerald W. Marks Exploration Center and Rocky Mountain Gardens after Jerry Marks on Thursday. Marks, who was surprised with the honor, is the current Weed District and Extension Director.
He is responsible for creating many programs for Montana agriculture, such as the Extension Service Forestry program and the Montana Master Gardener program.
Marks is happy to be recognized but wants the focus to be on community involvement.
“This is a surprising and an exciting day. My drive is that it really belongs to the people, and it’s important to them, so that’s, so having my name on it isn’t as important as them really being part of this facility and using it,” Marks said.
The center is expected to have its first gardening program next summer.