Earth Connections Camp for Tribal Youth Connects STEM and Cultural Traditions
Story by Jeanette Shackelford, Youth Program State Lead. Photos by BLM Utah and the Bureau of Reclamation.
In June, Utah’s Earth Connections Camp welcomed about 45 American Indian youth for 2 full days of fun and learning in Salt Lake City. The day camp for American Indian youth emphasizes STEM and traditional cultural activities taught by tribal and agency experts. BLM-Utah is a founding partner along with the Utah State Board of Education, and has helped direct camp for the past five years.
The students visited outdoor learning stations featuring hydrology, Utah Tribal history, dam engineering, ethnobotany, health and medical sciences, soils, and flute-playing. At Thanksgiving Point Institute, the youth built circuits that powered robots capable of coloring pictures, and even controlling computers.
This year, the BLM-Utah’s Associate State Director, Anita Bilbao, was the keynote speaker. In her address, Bilbao encouraged Earth Connections Campers to embrace their culture, never stop asking questions, and say yes to new experiences!