210 Implementing Climate Literacy at a Tribal College

Monday, 11 January 2016
Rebecca R. Edler, Sustainable Development Institute, College of Menominee Nation, Keshena, WI

The College of Menominee Nation's (CMN) Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), located in Keshena, Wisconsin is committed to advancing Indigenous peoples capacity to plan for climate change. CMN is an accredited, four-year community college serving the Menominee Nation, neighboring tribal nations and surrounding communities. In 1993, at the conception of the college, SDI was established as part of CMN as a response to community need. SDI dedicates its efforts to examining sustainability issues and applying them to Menominee theoretical model of sustainability.

The Menominee model is a six dimension, community based model, which examines issues from place, or from the land itself. The six dimensions include; Land and Sovereignty, Natural Resources, Technology, Institutions, Economic, and Human Perception and Activity. Each dimension is understood to be dynamic, both in respect to its internal organization, and in relationship to each of the other five dimensions. It is understood that if change in one dimension occurs the other dimensions will be impacted. SDI uses this model to explore climate change issues.

My experience at the Climate Studies Diversity Project Workshop proved to be very educational and eye-opening. Learning alongside of diverse educators, and taught by renowned experts, allowed me to greatly expand my knowledge of climate and weather. The tours provided during the workshop were absolutely amazing and they greatly increased my knowledge of opportunities and careers related to weather and climate. This experience allowed me to learn how to access climate information that can be used in the classroom, and connected me with professionals in the area of climate and weather information.

The out of workshop time spent with other attendees and networking was very beneficial as well. I took the opportunity to speak with many of the attendees about their work and exchange information about the work they do, jobs and careers in their area of studies, and simply learn about them and the place they were from.

While I was familiar with some of the information provided at the workshop, a considerable amount was new to me. For example, Dr. Julie Palais, Program Director, of the Antarctic Glaciology Program provided a wonderful presentation of her work, much of which I was unfamiliar with. In addition, this was my first opportunity to see NOAA and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. I was aware of these institutions, but to experience them first hand, and hear from the people working in this capacity, greatly enhanced my knowledge and understanding of them. In addition, it improved my ability to share information about these astounding places. With this experience, and as the Sustainability Coordinator at the Sustainable Development Institute, I am now tasked with the responsibility of applying the information and materials from the 2015 Climate Studies Diversity Project at CMN. After speaking with Chad Waukechon, Dean of Letters and Science, and faculty members, the following plan will be followed.

1. I will review all materials from the 2015 Climate Studies Diversity Project to see how to best supplement the information into the existing course, Introduction to Sustainable Development (SDE100). 2. I will research possible contacts and information from the Northeast Climate Science Center, our regional climate science center to see how to include regional efforts and information. 3. I will explore how to include Sustainable Climate Risk Management (SCRiM) into the lesson plans. 4. I will meet with select faculty, students, and community members to develop two lesson plans based off of the Menominee Model of Sustainability. 5. The lesson plans developed with be included into SDI100. 6. The content selected and lesson plans will be ready for the 2016 Spring Semester.

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