Training Yakama Nation Tribal Educators in Project Learning Tree Lessons
Using PLT to Engage Tribal Communities in Forest and Natural Resource Education
Why this Project Matters
The Yakama Nation values engaging their youth in outdoor, natural resource management opportunities. The field of forestry and natural resources creates opportunities for their youth to combine their culture with the preservation, protection, and enhancement of the environment. The Pacific Education Institute (PEI) will partner with Yakama Nation Tribal Forestry to provide natural resources staff and educators with Project Learning Tree (PLT) workshops and a forest tour. This will include hands-on experiences and access to educational resources. This project will also offer opportunities for youth to investigate green career pathways that could help them stay in their community. PLT is an initiative of SFI.
How the Project is Linked to Current Education and Workforce Development efforts
The Yakama Nation is taking an active role in engaging, inspiring and mentoring its next generation of sustainable forestry leaders. Yakama forestry professionals are involved with after school programs that take youth into the forest to teach them about ecosystem health. Young leaders are encouraged to become land managers, grow through experiential learning under established professionals, and assume greater responsibilities in service to the Yakama Nation. These efforts will ensure the Yakama Nation leaves a legacy of healthy forests into the next millennia, while supporting the growth and prosperity of the entire nation.
The SFI Community Grant Program is supporting this project. By supporting Tribal staff with resources, suggested activities, and inspiration, their outreach delivery and messaging will be more intentional and impactful. Additionally, by offering a forest and natural resource professional development opportunity for formal educators, students will benefit from their increased knowledge, experiences, and content-specific resources. Workshops will include awareness of the conservation outcomes that demonstrate the contribution of SFI’s footprint to overall ecosystem health and sustainability.
How this Project Builds SFI Community Engagement
The Yakama Nation and PEI understand that continued stewardship and management of natural resources will rely on an educated, well-trained and motivated workforce. Investing time, energy and other resources into developing and encouraging tribal youth to pursue natural resources as a career option is recognized as extremely important. Engaging educating youth will also help to develop the next generation of community leaders.
This partnership includes Tribal leaders and educators, researchers, conservationists, SFI certified organizations, and forestry professionals.
The Pacific Education Institute (PEI) is committed to advancing science literacy and deepening student engagement by empowering educators to take students outdoors to learn integrated real-world science. PEI was founded in 2003 by a consortium of leaders from the Washington Forest Protection Association, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Association of Washington School Principals, the Washington Association of School Administrators, and the Washington State School Directors Association. Recognizing a lack of real-world, career-connected, locally relevant, outdoor-based education in the state, they established teaching frameworks to guide this kind of education grounded in Washington State’s educational goals, the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Learn more.