Heritage University is an affiliate of the EnvironMentors Program, founded by the National Council for Science and the Environment.
Since 2011 we have partnered with the White Swan High School and various Mentors from the Yakama Nation.
Each EnvironMentors chapter works to achieve the program's mission, “to mentor and motivate high school students underrepresented in the sciences as they conduct scientific research and acquire skills that will allow them to build careers and become active stewards of their communities and the environment.” While each chapter operates within a unique community, all chapters are guided by four core elements of the student experience. These elements have been identified by students as key factors that encouraged them to participate in and stick with the program.
- Mentoring: Environmental, science, and natural resource professionals, faculty and college students volunteer as mentors to high school students. Mentors not only support students in conducting rigorous research projects, but also serve as important role models, motivating students to pursue college degrees and careers in environmental and natural resource fields.
- Environmental stewardship: Throughout the EnvironMentors program year, students have multiple opportunities to engage in the local environment. For example, students participating in 2011-14 visited wildlife refuges, went on weekend camping trips, helped with habitat restoration or invasive species removal, and conducted water quality sampling.
- Experimental research projects: With the support of their mentor, students design and conduct an experimental research project based on an environmental topic based on their choice. After collecting and analyzing their data, students create a scientific poster and present at a chapter fair. Through the process students develop the critical thinking, analytic and communication skills vital to their success in college and future careers.
- College preparation: EnvironMentors provides students with a range of college preparation activities, including exposure to a college campus, labs, and library; assistance with college applications and financial aid; and an introduction to environmental and natural resource degree programs. Over 10 college scholarships are awarded to top students each year.
Upon completion of their chosen research projects, they develop lesson plans and present to an elementary school class, at local science fairs, as well as at the EnvironMentors National Fair in Washington, DC, where they have a chance to compete for college scholarships.
National EnvironMentors Fair - 2016
The Heritage University EnvironMentors Program led by CNHC Interim Director Dr. Jessica Black, competed for the fourth year by presenting research posters at the National EnvironMentors Fair in Washington D.C. White Swan High School Students Maria Ortiz, Sullyvan Piel and Judy Bergevin brought home the Chapter of the Year award while Sullyvan Piel and research partner (Venissa Williams) received the Award for Excellence in Forest Stewardship.
Congratulations to these students for their outstanding achievements in applying and presenting research, and a big thank you to their supporters the Yakama Nation Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Program and each of the mentors who assisted students with their research projects and posters; Anne Lynn Grove, Teresa Julian, Ed Mann, Doug Olney, Peggy Sanchey and Kazuhiro Sonoda.
We are continually seeking mentors for high school youth . Please contact Jessica Black at Black_J@heritage.edu if you are interested!
National EnvironMentors Fair - 2015
The EnvironMentors Program, led by CNHC Associate Director, Dr. Jessica Black, continued for the third year. In June of 2015, three White Swan High School Students competed at the National EnvironMentors Fair in Washington, DC! The photo below shows all of the students who competed at the National competition. We are so proud of White Swan students who competed at the National level: Maria Ortiz, Sullyvan Piel and Jesus Cervantes.
Thanks to all our supporters for this event, especially the Yakama Nation Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Program and all of the mentors who helped students with their research projects and posters. We are continually seeking mentors for high school youth, so please let Jessica Black know if you are interested! Congratulations to all our students who are learning to apply research in ways that will help them become the next generation of scientifically-trained caretakers of Mother Earth.