In 1998 the Yellowstone River Parks Association, in conjunction with the City of Billings, acquired 55 acres of land on South Billings Boulevard from the Long Family Trust, adjacent to the Yellowstone River and Norm Schoenthal Island. YRPA committed to develop this land into a conservation education center for students of the Greater Billings area to study the relationships among the physical , chemical , and biological elements. YRPA is committed to this long range project, dedicating the center in perpetuity for studies in conservation education, knowing some elements will take decades to reach maturity. In 1999 a group of teachers formed a consortium to develop a curriculum, policies, and infrastructure for the center. In 2004, YRPA formed a partership with the Montana Audubon Society to further the development of the center and promote its visibility and longevity. In 2008-2009, YRPA built the Norm Schoenthal Field Lab for students to have access to an onsite classroom to enhance the outdoor experience. Montana Audubon has also staffed the building.