||July 12, 2013
||Bonnie Hughes, Communications Officer, 509-865-8588 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Heritage University, the Yakama Nation and the United State Forest Service
Team-Up to Lead People of the Big River Field Class
Toppenish, WA — Seventeen high school and college students from the Yakima Valley are hitting the road for science. For two weeks in July, they are traveling more than 1,500 miles visiting tribal lands in Oregon and Washington for a class that is one part scientific field experience and one part cultural exchange.
The course, Lead People of the Big River, provides concentrated exposure to environmental science and natural resource management through intergenerational learning. Students will visit tribal lands of people that once lived on the Columbia River or one of its tributaries. They will meet with tribal elders who will share their traditional lands, ecosystems and cultures to help to bridge the gap between Western science and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). Guided by a team of Heritage professors and scientists from the tribal and US Forest Service lands visited, the students will apply their new perspective as a means to understand the common goals surrounding natural resource management and sustainability.
“Our students will apply the scientific method to every aspect of what they learn,” said Jessica Black, Ph.D., assistant professor of Environmental Science at Heritage. “They will keep field notebooks and post to blogs daily so parents and the community can follow them at every step of this real world application and integration of STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] and TEK related course work.”
The daily blogs as well as photos of the students’ work in the field will be posted online at heritage.edu.
Black stresses that the program will expose participating students to the wealth of career options available to them in the realm of environmental sciences.
“The high school students not only have the opportunity to learn from tribal elders,” she said, “but also from Heritage students just a few years older than they are who are majoring in environmental science. This opens them up to the educational opportunities available to them right here in the Valley.”
“This is a great learning opportunity that also required a tremendous logistical effort,” said Dr. Kazuhiro Sonoda, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Heritage. “Phil Rigdon, deputy director of the Yakama Nation Department of Natural Resources, has been key to making this all come together, coordinating the opportunities to meet with natural resource managers from the Yakama, Nez Perce, Colville, Umatilla and Spokane tribes.”
The class will depart from Heritage University on Monday, July 15 at 8:00 a.m. and return on Sunday, July 28. The course was developed through an American’s Great Outdoors: Connecting Youth to the Outdoors grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation. It is being presented in partnership with the university’s Center for Native Health and Culture.
For more information about the event, contact Jessica Black at (509) 840-3847 or via email email@example.com