Educating the Next Generation of Conservationists and Community Leaders
Providing Leadership and Opportunity in STEM Education
The Department of the Interior has been leading collaborative efforts to provide opportunities in STEM Education and to pave STEM career pathways.
Environmental Education and Service-Learning Programs
Interior’s bureaus have a long history of engaging over 30 million youth each year in meaningful environmental education and service-learning programs. Parks, refuges and Interior programs throughout the nation offer opportunities for youth to learn about our lands, our waters, and our cultural heritage. These programs turn Interior lands into outdoor laboratories where students and teachers can experience firsthand the science lessons they learn in the classroom. Environmental education and service-learning programs are helping to educate the next generation of biologists, land managers, engineers and conservationists. As part of Hands on Lands, Learning Landscapes, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hosts a number of field classroom sites across the country. In Oregon, BLM works with 8th grade students from Glide and Roseburg Middle Schools to collect water quality data at five sites in the Little River Watershed. Hydrological and Geographic Information System specialists train students in the use of monitoring equipment and help teachers develop classroom exercises based on the data students collect.
Historic/Cultural Preservation and Service-Learning Programs
Interior’s bureaus have been working to engage thousands of youth in meaningful historic preservation and service-learning programs every year. From the struggles of First American communities in Indian Country to the role of the Civil Rights Movement in revitalizing our democracy, Park units and Interior staff work with youth to learn about the contributions diverse communities have made to the fabric of our nation. Historic preservation and service-learning programs are helping to educate the next generation of historians, landscape architects, archeologists, and curators. Togiak Refuge works in cooperation with three School Districts, and a number of Traditional Village Councils to sponsors the Cape Peirce Marine Science and Yup’ik Culture Camp. The Camp participants learn about marine mammal and seabird biology by helping field biologists conduct monitoring and behavioral studies of walruses, harbor and spotted seals, black-legged kittiwakes, and common murres. Village elders are invited to teach traditional ecological knowledge about Cape Peirce and its plants and wildlife. Students, elders, and Togiak Refuge staff share knowledge of Yup’ik uses of seabirds, marine mammals, and plants, and traditional conservation and survival skills. The camp has been taking place since 1995.
Bureau of Indian Education
The Bureau of Indian Education serves over 42,000 First American students, in Bureau-funded elementary and secondary schools located in 23 states across America. Of the 184 BIE schools, 59 are BIE-operated and 125 are tribally operated under BIE contracts or grants service. The Bureau also funds or operates off-reservation boarding schools and peripheral dormitories near reservations for students attending public schools. Over 270,000 First American students are the beneficiary of BIE grants and services. The BIE also serves 9,300 young adult First Americans and Alaska Native postsecondary students through higher education scholarships each year. Over 24,000 young adult First Americans also attend 26 BIE tribal colleges and universities each year. BIE is helping to educate the next generation of First American leaders throughout our country. Beyond school, Interior supports programs like the Women, Water and Wilderness program, in which 7-10 Native American young women are brought to Glacier National Park for four days of kayaking, leave-no-trace camping and personal empowerment.