Tribal Collaboration Spreads Knowledge of Invasive Plants
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