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.
- Project lead: Pacific Education Institute
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- Yakama Nation Tribal Forestry (SFI‑certified organization)
- Washington SFI Implementation Committee
SFI Promotes Indigenous Rights, Respect and Engagement
Forestry-based STEM Professional Development for Teachers in Washington State
Educating shishalh Members and Forestry Practitioners through the Identification, Mapping and Protection of Cultural and Medicinal Plants
Creating Boreal Forest Field Experiences for Rural and Indigenous Youth
Incorporating Tribal Values in Minnesota Project Learning Tree Curriculum
Center for Native Peoples and the Environment: Exploring Forest Sustainability with Indigenous Youth
Cree First Nation of Waswanipi: SFI Is Supporting the Transfer of Scientific and Traditional Knowledge to Cree Youth in Waswanipi