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Individual Highlight

Tribal Collaboration Spreads Knowledge of Invasive Plants

Photo of Native American student interns identify plants during inventory at the Penobscot Experimental Forest in Maine. Kevin Brusie, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Native American student interns identify plants during inventory at the Penobscot Experimental Forest in Maine. Kevin Brusie, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : In a unique collaboration aimed at training the next generation of natural resource professionals, the Forest Service partnered with the University of Maine, Wabanaki Center, Maine tribes, and others to support an internship program for Native American youth. Over 2 years, the project supported eight student interns and resulted in a new interpretive trail for professionals and community members, highlighting negative effects of nonnative invasive plants and demonstrating mechanical and chemical control.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Kenefic, Laura S. Muñoz Delgado, Bethany
Research Location : Penobscot Experimental Forest, Maine
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1167

Summary

As part of the Forest Service’s commitment to supporting diversity in natural resource professions, the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station partnered with the Wabanaki Center at the University of Maine to provide internships and meaningful work experiences to Native American youth in Maine. Over the past 2 years, eight high school and college interns from the Penobscot Nation and Passamaquoddy Tribe have worked with Forest Service scientists and others on a nonnative invasive plant identification and control project at the Forest Service’s Penobscot Experimental Forest in Maine. As part of this work, a number of mechanical and chemical control treatments were applied and outcomes were documented by students. They constructed an interpretive trail and composed leaflets and signage to inform diverse publics about the work, and celebrated with a community trail opening during the summer of 2016. This project, which is part of the Wabanaki Youth in Science (WaYS) program run by the University of Maine, provides students with science mentors and creates opportunities for interaction with cultural knowledge keepers. This integrative approach helps Native American youth see the relevance of their academic training to their cultural heritage, and supports recruitment and retention into science fields.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Forest Stewards Guild
  • Maine Audubon
  • Maine Natural Areas Program
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
  • Penobscot Nation
  • The American Chestnut Foundation
  • University of Maine, School of Forest Resources
  • University of Maine, Wabanaki Center

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