Earth Connections Camp: Connecting cultures and bridging worlds through nature

Javonne Goodman

This week, the three-day Earth Connections Camp welcomed students in Utah with the theme of connecting cultures and bridging worlds by intertwining western science with traditional cultural wisdom. The day camp emphasized American Indian culture, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as traditional cultural activities taught by tribal elders and agency experts. The students visited outdoor learning stations featuring pollination, hydrology, Utah Tribal history, ethnobotany, health and medical sciences, flute-playing, a nature walk and many other activities. 

Four images of youth participating in learning activities and outdoor stations at the 2022 Earth Connections Camp in Utah.

This educational camp engages youth to connect with nature, learn more about the world around them and create pathways for future generations to pursue outdoor educational and career opportunities. The guided nature walk through Red Butte Garden had various plants and wildlife for students to observe then take notes in their nature journals.  

Four images with two images of youth writing in their nature journals and two photos of a butterfly and a bird on flowers at Red Butte Garden in Utah.

During lunch breaks, the students were excited to listen to traditional American Indian music and dance together. Many of the students positively reflected on these moments at the end of the day camp as they mentioned that they loved connecting with each other through dancing and making new friends. Their experiences are a beautiful example of how music and dancing have a powerful way of connecting worlds and people.

Three images of youth and the chaperone dancing at the Earth Connections Camp during their lunch break.

A special thank you to our partners for helping make the Earth Connections Camp a great success:  

  • Utah State Board of Education 
  • Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake 
  • Nebo/Alpine School Districts 
  • Red Butte Garden 
  • Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU) 
  • Thanksgiving Point Institute 
  • University of Utah - Native American Research Internship (NARI)  
  • University of Utah - American Indian Resource Center 
  • Bureau of Reclamation (BOR)  
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) 
  • USDA Forest Service  
  • Utah Division of Water Resources (UDWR) 

View more pictures of the 2022 Earth Connections Camp on our Flickr page.

Group photo of youth, teachers and partners for the 2022 Earth Connections Camp.