April 2020 – present
Elk captured on a trail cam on Yakama Nation and seen by students at Yakama Nation Tribal School.
The Indigenous Forestry Mentorship Program began in April 2020 as a response to an emergent need identified by Tribal Forestry Workforce Development project partner Heritage University (HU) and Yakama Nation Tribal School to support the adaptation of planned in-person programming to virtual platforms. Ecotrust and HU developed a series of virtual Indigenous science and forestry-related lesson plans to support mentors and mentees along their research journey. All topics were related to Indigenous science and forests and utilized existing wildlife cams and other technology to engage with Yakama Nation forests virtually. This program is now in its third iteration with a cohort of matched mentor and mentee students.
During the process of developing lesson plans, Ecotrust and HU convened a network of Indigenous science and forest educators also seeking support in adapting in-person activities for social distanced or virtual engagement. Participants met for two virtual workshops for a total of six hours to share with each other curriculum materials and activities they use and adapt for forestry related lesson plans. Participants also discussed specific successes, challenges, and resources needed for distance learning. Future Indigenous science and forest educator convenings are being planned.
We are excited to continue our support and growth of the program and network to include Indigenous agroforestry practices as topics for the students and educators to explore together. HU staff and mentors continue to lead the Indigenous Forestry Mentorship Program.
A research poster by a student from Yakama Nation Tribal School.
ITC is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the management of natural resources important to Indigenous communities.
HU is a nonprofit, independent, non-denominational, accredited institution of higher education offering undergraduate and graduate education within Yakama Nation homelands.
ATNI-EDC is a separately-financed subsidiary from Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and provides financial and technical assistance in areas of community and economic development.
USET is dedicated to enhancing the development of federally recognized tribes, improving the capabilities of tribal governments, and assisting USET members and their governments.
—yakama nation tribal school student
Bringing together partners with similar goals in economic, natural resource management, research, and education to address urban and community tribal forestry workforce needs
As part of the Tribal Workforce Development Project, this culturally relevant online class connects Native students to urban forests.