Generations of Knowledge: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Environmental Science

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 to Monday, August 31, 2015
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Project Descriptions
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media, Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Professional Development and Workshops, Exhibitions, Museum and Science Center Exhibits
Middle School Children (11-13) | Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Adults | Families | General Public | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Ecology, forestry, and agriculture | General STEM | Social science and psychology
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Indigenous Education Institute

This project will engage underserved Native and non-native youth and adults in environmental science content and awareness through innovative exhibitions and hands-on activities. Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and western science will be communicated and promoted within culturally relevant contexts as valuable, complementary ways of knowing, understanding, and caring for the world. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), the lead institution, and its partner organizations, The Indigenous Education Institute (IEI), The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), the Tramastklikt Cultural Institute, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Hibub Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve (Tulalip Tribes) will work collaboratively to develop and deliver all aspects of the project. An estimated 1.5 million Native American and non-Native American youth and adults are expected to be engaged in the project\'s exhibits, website, and activity kits over the five year duration of the project. Native American and non-Native American youth (ages 11-14) and their families from the Portland area and visitors to national science centers, tribal museums, and members of Native American organizations and service providers will be targeted for participation in Generations of Knowledge activities. In addition, the Professional Collaborative component will bring professionals from the partnering organizations to share resources, professional opportunities, and document their collaborative process. OMSI, project partners, Native scientists, tribal museum partner, exhibit developers, advisors, and members of various Native American communities will work collaboratively to develop four integrated deliverables. Each deliverable will be interconnected and designed to accommodate a variety of venues and audiences. Project deliverables include: (a) a 2,000 sq ft traveling exhibition, (b) a small traveling graphic panel exhibition, (c) an online virtual exhibition, (d) an activity kit for Native youth in informal and formal settings, and (e) opportunities and resources for reciprocal collaboration between ISE and Native American partners through a professional collaborative initiative. IEI and advisors from RMC Research and Native Pathways will conduct the external evaluation using a mixed method, community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach. Formative and summative evaluative data will be used to monitor, assess, and inform the project and the extent to which project goals have been met and the intended impacts achieved. The anticipated project outcomes include (but not limited to): (a) an awareness and understanding of the interconnectedness of TEK and western science, (b) a recognition of the relevancy and value of TEK and western science for understanding and caring for the natural world, (c) intergenerational learning and discussions about related TEK and western science issues, and (d) an increased capacity, supported by evidence, among the project team and partners to facilitate reciprocal collaborative efforts. This project builds on a long history of successful NSF/DRL supported work led by OMSI and IEI. It also extends existing traditional ecological knowledge focused work through a culturally contextualized hands-on traveling and virtual exhibitions, a rigorous professional development component, highly visible national partners (e.g., NMAI), and a national reach to over one million Native American and non-Native American youth and adults over a five year period. The project\'s research and evaluation findings will add to the knowledge base on strategies that can be employed to communicate and promote TEK and western science as complementary, valuable was of understanding and caring for the natural world.

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Team Members

Victoria CoatsPrincipal Investigator
Lori EricksonLori EricksonCo-Principal Investigator
Nancy MaryboyNancy MaryboyCo-Principal Investigator
David BegayDavid BegayCo-Principal Investigator
Jill SteinCo-Principal Investigator

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