Urban native youth environmental education
Outreach to urban American Indian youth is important for raising environmental awareness, engaging neglected voices in natural resource management discussions, and developing cadres of future natural resource professionals. One of the largest urban American Indian populations in the United States is in the Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota. In 2014, the Twin Cities Native Lacrosse Club was established to foster a life-long sustainable appreciation of Native lacrosse and to promote resiliency and well-being through lacrosse. Participation in the club enables American Indian youth to claim their cultural, physical, and spiritual strength as leaders and athletes through both modern and traditional wooden-stick lacrosse. Recently, the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, and Region 9 partnered with Twin Cities Native Lacrosse and Wilderness Inquiry to provide members of the lacrosse club with a chaperoned trip to the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota. During the three-day camping trip, youth were trained in wilderness camping skills and participated in several field trips to learn about ash ecology, emerald ash borer ecology, and tribal natural resource management. The group of 15 youth also visited the Fond du Lac Tribal forest, were taught how to make traditional wooden lacrosse sticks, and learned about natural resource careers.