Founders of Rim Country
Carol S. McEvoy
Lawrence R. McEvoy
Meet the Volunteer Staff
The History of Rim Country Land Institute
The Rim Country Land Institute (RCLI) was first an idea and hope of Carol and Larry McEvoy, a family therapist and physician who noted in their professional practices that many of their patients suffered from a sense of disconnectedness, lack of meaning and depression. These patients mirrored the larger culture which, on observation, was seriously disconnected from the land and the cycles of the land. Aware of the rise of place-based education as a well studied and legitimate mode of education, they saw the possibility of helping people to connect to the land in ways that would offer new learning and better opportunities for relationships with each other as well. With a better developed sense of place, human communities and whole earth communities can move forward together, enriching their economic, social and ecological environments.
Together with two adult children, they purchased 2400 acres of mixed grass prairie, 14 minutes from the Billings City Center. The land is now under conservation easement. This location allows for convenient access for Billings area residents, can serve as a locus for satellite areas around the State, and is easily accessible to others outside Montana. In 2001, the couple quit their professional jobs and the family committed to the creation of RCLI, donating a home site for a future structure and agreeing to the use of the acreage for the Institute's programs. At present, the office is located in Clancy, MT where Carol and Larry reside but the land in Billings is the locus for all activities and the model for all future sites. The name, Rim Country Land Institute, was chosen to highlight the prominent natural features and the beauty of the Billings location.
While RCLI is in an early developmental stage, we have already received considerable interest, encouragement and support from a variety of sectors in Montana and from donors across the US who supports the founding principles. To date, we have received 2134 hours of volunteer time and in-kind services. We have initiated fund raising activities, and will continue to work toward financial sustainability. We have collaborated on planning with members of other community organizations, with the education community in Billings and at MSU and with the Native American Communities from the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations. We have conducted inventories of the land with respect to birds, mammals, grasses, plants and cultural history. We have sought input from members of the community about their economic, social and ecological vision for the future of their region and for all communities throughout our country and culture.