Kudos to Deborah Zak, regional director, northwest, who was instrumental in securing private gifts to support the 2013 White Earth Academy of Math and Science. The White Earth Tribal Council, Northstar AISES Alliance, and an anonymous donor provided $41,000 in support of the summer program. In addition, the Extension Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership provided a $5,000 grant to fund the portion of the summer program that will address the impact of aquatic and terrestrial invasive species that threaten the natural resources of the White Earth Nation. More than 50 kids are already pre-registered for the program which will be offered June 10-28.
The White Earth Academy of Math and Science, now in its 15th year, began when members of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe challenged the University of Minnesota to help engage struggling students in math and science. Extension and its partner colleges initially collaborated with White Earth representatives and the local Circle of Life School to produce a fun, hands-on, outdoor focused summer academy that builds powerful connections among academics, outdoor activities and the Ojibwe culture. The program has now expanded to include students from the Naytahwaush Community Charter School, Pine Point and Mahnomen Public Schools. Reservation elders, natural resource managers and University faculty and graduate students are all involved in teaching students that math, science and engineering are part of their daily lives. To learn more about the White Earth Academy of Math and Science, contact Deb at firstname.lastname@example.org.