WHITE CLOUD, KANSAS – In August, the Iowa Tribes of Kansas and Nebraska was notified by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that it received a fully funded Natural Resource Development in Tribal Youth for the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska grant. The funding gives critical support for conservation and environmental awareness training for tribal youth on the Iowa Tribe Indian reservation in northeast Kansas.
Columbus-based environmental firm New Century Environmental (NCE) wrote the grant for the Iowa tribe. The grant will provide $50,000 to obtain biological information and provide training by NCE staff over the coming year.
The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska Indian Reservation is located in Brown and Doniphan Counties in northeastern Kansas and Richardson County in southeastern Nebraska. The reservation is located within the tallgrass prairie ecoregion. The immediate vicinity contains unique natural resources such as the forested bluffs overlooking the Missouri River which runs adjacent to the Reservation.
The goal with the grant application was to create awareness in Native American youth related to forestry and natural resource management. Getting any youth connected to nature that has not been exposed is extremely difficult and NCE wish to develop and propose a curriculum that will effectively mentor tribal youth in the direction of natural resource management.
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Primary tasks of the grant are to develop educational materials, to offer internships for experience, to discuss conservation and land use and to schedule an eco-camp for summer 2022.
The first task will be to develop a natural resource assessment for creating a syllabus to use as instructional materials for youth, junior high age through college age, on the reservation. The syllabus will have information related to all the flora and fauna on the reservation and the pollution problems related to their existence.
The next major activity that is unique in natural resource training is a week-long eco-camp which will emphasize survival, shelter and fire building, edible plants, animals, camp lore, outdoor cooking, knife building and sharpening and a variety of other outdoor life skills. The eco-camp is designed to connect all youth to nature in a natural setting. Native American history will also be overviewed during the camp.
New Century Environmental LLC, an environmental consulting business based in Columbus, Nebraska, employs a team of environmental and ecological professionals who provide quality environmental services across the Great Plains. It provides wetland science expertise, environmental training and a broad spectrum of environmental impact assessment services related to rare plant and animal species. Michael Gutzmer, Principal and owner of the firm, has been in business for 15 years in the Columbus and Great Plains area.