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Salish Kootenai College receives NASA grant

NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) awarded nearly $3 million in new cooperative agreements to four Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) across the United States to enhance learning through the use of the agency’s Earth science resources.

The award is made through the NASA Innovations in Climate Education-Tribal (NICE-T) activity. The selected institutions are:

   • Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Mont.

   • College of Menominee Nations, Keshena, Wis.

   • Turtle Mountain Community College, Belcourt, N.D.

   • Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Cloquet, Minn.

The awards, which have a 3-year period of performance and range in value from approximately $413,000 to $1,009,000, support tribal colleges and their partners as they improve teaching and learning about global climate change on their campuses. The winning proposals illustrated innovative uses of NASA content to support elementary, secondary and undergraduate teaching and learning. There is a strong emphasis on engaging students using NASA Earth observation data and Earth system models, as well as providing climate-related research experiences for teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, particularly in the TCU community.

Salish Kootenai College will receive just over one million dollars, which will be used to improve climate literacy and knowledge about climate change in tribal high schools and colleges and within tribal communities, while emphasizing the changes a warming climate will have on tribes, their cultures, lands, and the plants and animals.

Specifically, the grant will fund the development of an introductory college-level climate change course with a lab and a remote sensing course, both of which utilize NASA climate data analysis, modeling, and visualization tools to enable students to analyze data and interpret models to see and predict changes in the climate and the likely impacts of those changes on their lands and cultures. It will also fund the creation of a high school Learning Unit on climate change and companion social software tools that will utilize and adapt NASA-developed curriculum, learning tools, and information by placing them within a local geographical context and integrating cultural content and perspectives. It will utilize and build upon existing networks to distribute the college course and Learning Unit to tribal colleges and high schools across the country.

The grant will also fund the development of innovative, relevant place and culture-based climate science and climate change educational resources and a social network to engage students and inspire them to consider careers in climate science and other STEM disciplines. It will also create mentoring relationships between NASA climate scientists and exceptional tribal students and SKC students and reservation high school students to further encourage careers in climate science.

The cooperative agreements are part of NASA’s strategic emphasis on engaging the Tribal community. For a list of selected organizations and projects’ descriptions, click on “Selected Proposals” and see the entry for “2013 NASA Innovations in Climate Education -Tribal (NICE-T),” visit: http://nspires.nasaprs.com

For more information regarding this project please contact Germaine White, DFWRC Information & Education Specialist at 675-2700 or Adrian Leighton, SKC Natural Resources Department Head at 675-4800.

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