Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 3:55 PM


SMYTHE, Wendy, Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction, Oregon Health & Science University, 20000 NW Walker Road, Beaverton, OR 97006,

Native students have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact in their tribal communities as well trained researchers, environmental planners, teachers, tribal leaders and Native role models. Outlined here is one of many mechanisms of bringing educational experiences full circle through outreach within tribal communities from one Native student’s perspective. Through collaboration between universities OHSU-CMOP and PSU and the local tribal government we formed an active learning community in partnership with tribal, state and local agencies with the goal of producing a generation of regional leaders in the field of environmental and community sustainability.

This geoscience program works closely with the Hydaburg School District, HCA (tribal government) and the Community of Hydaburg, in an effort to characterize the physical, chemical and biological processes of watershed ecosystems in Southeast Alaska. Study sites are located on rivers that are heavily relied upon both for their fishery resources and for the community’s drinking water. Natural processes and human activities contribute to seasonably and spatially variable water quality and salmon habitat. Due to this concentration of diverse aquatic and geologic settings, Hydaburg is ideally situated to illustrate the importance of surface, groundwater, and oceanic contributions to the local water cycle. Approaches integrate Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Western Science (WS) through exploration of relevant cultural uses of river systems.

Specific objectives of this project are to:

(1) encourage Native students to enter geoscience careers,

(2) foster a broad community appreciation of the value of TEK and the geosciences,

(3) revitalize our language through the development and use of science curriculum.

This project allows students to become active stewards within their community. They have gained a better understanding of anthropogenic impacts on local water and fishery resources. This project is made possible through the dedication of the elders, tribal leaders, teachers, students, and parents.