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Monday, April 7, 2014
Roundtable discussion sparks discussion about outdoor learning on the Wind River Indian Reservation
"We must teach
our children To smell the
Earth To taste the
rain To touch the
wind To see things
grow To hear the sun
rise and night fall To care”
~ John Cleal
In a spacious
meeting room at the Frank B. Wise Business Plaza in Fort Washakie, Wyoming, a
group of educators, community members and tribal leaders met with
Wyoming-EPSCoR to discuss science education on the Wind River Indian
Reservation (WRIR). This is the second community-driven “Roundtable” hosted by
Wyoming-EPSCoR, and one of many meetings and conversations this EPSCoR office
has had with partners over the last year. The goal? To
determine science education needs and expand learning opportunities on the WRIR
about water-science topics such as hydrology and watershed health.
sat in-the-round conversing about science education needs, a key theme emerged:
children need to learn outside. Many in the room stressed the need for an
“outdoor classroom” that students and educators on the WRIR could use for
water-science and natural resource education.
Meeting on March 27, 2014.
This need was
fully understood by Wyoming-EPSCoR staff. Education, Outreach, and Diversity
Coordinator, Liz Nysson, stated, “By learning outside, students will be able to
gain hands on experience and begin to view science as something that is all
education is not a new notion on the WRIR. 4-H educator, Jennifer Wellman,
regularly takes groups of students outside for educational lessons. However,
limited teaching resources and restrictions on access to outdoor spaces have
limited some educators from being able to create and implement outdoor lessons.
discussed at the meeting coincided with outdoor education including creating
science resource boxes for teachers, hosting community events about water, and
working with partners to create internships in water-related fields for
teenagers and young adults.
Notes from Meeting.
will help Wyoming-EPSCoR develop an education plan that is informed by needs
and desires of the WRIR community.
“It is important
to EPSCoR that programs are community driven and supported by educators and
community leaders,” Nysson said on Thursday March 27, immediately following the
meeting. “Wyoming EPSCoR will continue to build partnerships and programs to
expand educational opportunities for students on WRIR.”
information about Wyoming-EPSCoR and WRIR community partnership, please email
Liz Nysson at firstname.lastname@example.org.