Walking in Two Worlds: Engaging the Community and Future Native American Scientists in Environmental Science and Managing Natural Resources on Tribal Lands

September 1st, 2014 - August 31st, 2016 | PROJECT

Native Americans exert sovereignty over vast amounts of United States land and water resources, yet are underrepresented in the disciplines that train our nation's future land and water resource managers. Native American resource managers must walk in two worlds, accommodating both traditional and modern methods that may come into conflict. Building on an existing, NSF-funded Manoomin Science Camp, the Walking Two Worlds (W2W) project will employ a systems view of resource management in considering a broad range of resource management issues affecting the region (including its lakes and wetlands, fisheries, forestry, wildlife, and air quality), with the goal of engaging the entire community in environmental and resource management issues of immediate relevance to the community. W2W will incorporate both Western science concerning the physical, chemical, and biological worlds, and traditional environmental knowledge, culture, language, and the judgment of elders. This holistic approach will not only facilitate effective resource management for the community, it will also serve as a 'hook' for engaging students and the community in STEM. A partnership of the Fond du Lac Band (of Lake Superior Chippewa) and the University of Minnesota (UMN) planned collaboratively with the community, W2W will focus on community-inspired, participatory science research projects related to resource management and environmental science. W2W will be facilitated by local teachers, with former participants as mentors, researchers and resource manages as mentors, and UMN faculty as lecturers. W2W recognizes the critical importance of strong STEM education for natural resource management. Using a mixed-methods approach to external evaluation, the project will build knowledge on the contributions of the W2W holistic, systemic approach and theme of community resource management. This will provide the foundation for a future development project that builds a community of place-based learning and community-inspired research projects.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Emi Ito, Principal Investigator, University of Minnesota
Diana Dalbotten, Co-Principal Investigator, University of Minnesota


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: AISL, ITEST
Award Number: 1422917
Funding Amount: $296,856


Audience: Educators | Teachers | General Public | Middle School Children (11-13) | Undergraduate | Graduate Students | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Chemistry | Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Education and learning science | Life science | Physics
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Community Outreach Programs | Public Programs | Summer and Extended Camps