EARTH CONNECTIONS CAMP 2023: CONNECTING CULTURES AND BRIDGING WORLDS THROUGH NATURE
Jonathan D. Mallory, BLM Utah
Earth Connections Camp welcomed students in Utah with the theme of connecting cultures and bridging worlds by intertwining Western science with traditional cultural wisdom. This three-day camp fosters relationships and resilience through STEM and Native culture. The camp is an indoor/outdoor classroom for American Indian youth (1st-12th grade) to connect with their natural and cultural heritage, as well as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Students learn about STEM which is combined with cultural traditions taught by Tribal members, state/federal agency experts and American Indian college students from across the Country. The students visited learning stations featuring entomology, medicinal sciences, mapping, flute-playing, ethnobotanical health, nature walks, mapping, and many other activities.
This educational camp provides opportunities for youth to connect with nature, learn more about the world around them, and explore potential career pathways in the outdoors.
At lunch, students eagerly gathered to listen to traditional American Indian music and dance. Guest speakers came in to talk with the students as they ate. At the end of the day the students gathered around in a “Talking Circle” and shared how they enjoyed connecting with each other throughout the day and what memories they enjoyed the most. These experiences are a beautiful example of how music and dance can bridge cultures and bring people together.
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 2023 Earth Connections Camp on our Flickr page.