Wednesday, August 25th, 2-3:30PM.
Session Presenter: Wendy F. K’ah Skaahluwaa Smythe, Ph.D. is Alaska Native of the Xáadas Nation of the Sdast’as clan, located in Hydaburg, Alaska.
Dr. Smythe is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth and holds a joint appointment between the Departments of American Indian Studies and Earth & Environmental Sciences. She was the 2019 Professional of the Year by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) for her interdisciplinary research in geoscience, Native Education, and policy, in 2020 she was elected to the AISES Board of Directors.
Dr. Smythe is a geoscientist and oceanographer whose research focuses on examining microbial ecology and molecular diversity, biogeochemistry, and biomineralization of groundwater ecosystems and the environmental and health impacts on coast ecosystems on tribal communities, promoting conservation efforts of tribal and state partners. In addition, she collaborates with tribal communities working to couple STEM disciplines with Traditional Knowledge in K-12 education by incorporating language and cultural values tied to environmental conservation.
Session Description: Dr. Smythe has worked with the Haida tribe in Southeast Alaska for the last 13 years on conservation issues that directly impact environmental and human health. She has collaborated with the school district to conduct research on issues around logging and impacts in fishery resources, and input of pollutants in local coastal ecosystems. The program has provided data from research projects by high school students to the tribal environmental planner and has resulted in local remediation projects, workforce development with students working for the tribe post-graduation, and emplacement of policies to ensure sustained conservation efforts. Dr. Smythe invited a discussion about ways in which watershed councils, conservation districts and land trusts might connect and engage with tribes on collaborative planning and projects.