First-Ever National Climate Boot Camp to Address Tribal Needs and Concerns Related to Climate Change

Release Date:

Climate change has a direct and evident impact on Native American tribal communities by disrupting local economies and traditional cultures. Members of tribes from across the United States will convene at the University of Idaho’s McCall Field Campus in June 2016 for the first-ever National Tribal Climate Boot Camp.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Climate change has a direct and evident impact on Native American tribal communities by disrupting local economies and traditional cultures. Members of tribes from across the United States will convene at the University of Idaho’s McCall Field Campus in June 2016 for the first-ever National Tribal Climate Boot Camp.

The Northwest Climate Science Center, in which UI is a partner, will model the event after its annual Climate Boot Camp that prepares graduate students and early-career professionals to understand and adapt to climate change. 

“Being able to provide this unique educational opportunity is one of the most meaningful contributions the Northwest Climate Science Center can make to the Native American community at large,” said Gustavo Bisbal, NW CSC director. “Training tribal early-career professionals may have a lasting effect that can influence how a large number of tribes respond and adapt to the challenges of a changing climate.”

The National Tribal Climate Boot Camp will bring together early-career professionals from among the 83 member Tribes of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and United South and Eastern Tribes for a week-long intensive educational experience to learn about climate-related impacts, with a specific focus on issues connected to Tribal needs and concerns.

The camp will address the Tribes’ climate-related needs, including in-depth immersion in climate science, indigenous/traditional ecological knowledge, policy and management issues, and science communication and outreach. It will include case studies of climate-change issues related to the Tribes and field trips to experience firsthand the collaboration needed to successfully plan for adaptation. Faculty at UI, Oregon State University, University of Washington and other universities, along with tribal leaders, will collaborate to develop the camp’s program and training. 

“University of Idaho faculty and students are excited to collaborate with and support tribes in our region and across the United States,” said Steven Daley-Laursen, Climate Boot Camp director and a faculty member in the UI Department of Natural Resources and Society. “We are honored to host this first-ever camp of its kind at our university’s beautiful lakeside campus in McCall.” 

The event is part of a recently announced bi-coastal tribal climate change initiative, a collaborative effort of the two Tribal organizations, the Institute for Tribal Government, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Northwest Climate Science Center. 

“The Affiliated Tribes of NW Indians organization is strategically partnering with the NW Climate Science Center and the Universities to implement a national priority with the Obama Administration and Tribal governments,” said Don Sampson, ATNI’s climate change coordinator. “Tribal communities are the most impacted communities in the United States and this effort will help build the Tribal capacity to address climate impacts.” 

The Northwest Climate Science Center is one of eight regional Climate Science Centers initiated by the DOI to understand and address changes in climate and adaptation, addressing the full range of natural and cultural resources. The NW CSC was established in 2010 as a partnership between the Federal Government, Department of the Interior and an academic consortium led by OSU, UI, and UW.

The University of Idaho is one of only 72 land-grant research universities across the country. Home to nearly 12,000 students, the UI is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. UI is home to the Vandals and competes in the Big Sky Conference and Sun Belt Conference.