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Environmental Institute

Environmental InstituteFond du Lac Tribal and Community College created the Environmental Institute concept on campus to actively promote the educational and cultural growth of the community in studies covering natural resources and the environment. Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College uses the Environmental Institute as the vehicle in environmental resource areas to follow all points of the College’s mission and coordinate ongoing education, research, outreach, and other activities

This emphasis also allows Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College to fulfill its status as a United States Land Grant Institution by “being a people’s college and solving problems which benefit people.” A campus team coordinates programs and initiatives of the Environmental Institute and is advised by staff from Fond du Lac Resources Management, University of Minnesota Extension, resources within the community including local science teachers, and county resource managers, tribal officials, interested individuals, public officials, and citizen-groups.

A variety of related land grant science projects have been successfully completed or are ongoing through Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College’s Environmental Institute. Our research projects have provided hands-on experience for students and graduates in resource-oriented fields.

Past projects have included:

  • The Wild Rice Lake Restoration research project. Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College students worked with Fond du Lac Resource Management and University of Minnesota Natural Resources Research Institute scientists to collect field data to help determine best management practices to restore wild rice on regional lakes.
  • The Woodlands Wisdom project focused on increasing American Indian involvement and education in human nutrition, specifically as it relates to alleviating the issues related to Type II diabetes.
  • The Great Lakes Northern Forest Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit, a collaboration designed to provide research, technical assistance, and education to federal land management, environmental and research agencies and their potential partners.

Currently, the Environmental Institute has three Tribal College Extension programs that serve the Fond du Lac Band and greater regional community.

Thirteen Moons Ashiniswi giizisoog

The Thirteen Moons program connects Fond du Lac Band members and surrounding community members to natural resources by increasing awareness of and knowledge about traditional and other resources; to social knowledge networks by providing new opportunities for social interaction and education in the context of traditional and other natural resources; and to Ojibwe culture by highlighting and honoring the importance of natural resources in the traditional and contemporary Ojibwe lives and livelihoods and the skills that will allow these lives and livelihood strategies to endure. Visit the Thirteen Moons Website or view current events at the 13 Moons Facebook page.

Bimaaji’idiwin Ojibwe Garden Program

The Ojibwe Garden is a new program developed by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in partnership with Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, University of Minnesota Extension Service, and the United States Department of Agriculture. The aim of the program is to preserve and promote traditional Ojibwe cropping systems as well as educate the greater community about contemporary strategies for organic food and medicinal plant production. There are several strategies in place to accomplish this goal, including a demonstration garden, weekly hands-on gardening lessons, bimonthly gardening workshops, a weblog, seasonal outlooks, and garden interns who are available to make house calls to help Fond du Lac community members with their gardens. To follow the garden news and to learn about new events visit the Ojibwe Garden Blog.

St. Louis River River Watch Program

The St. Louis River River Watch program is a youth-based water quality monitoring program that focuses on the St. Louis River watershed and the Lake Superior Basin. This project, aimed at secondary school students, promotes and inspires stewardship of the largest U.S. tributary to Lake Superior and other nearby waterways. Currently, an estimated 800 students and teachers in 25 public, private, tribal, home, and alternative schools enthusiastically gather chemical, physical, and biological data twice per year at river sites located throughout northeastern Minnesota. Since 1997, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College has coordinated this monitoring effort with the support of the USDA. Check us out on our Facebook page!

Environmental Institute Report Card

The Environmental Institute Report Card newsletter is available for reading and as a printable pdf, please click on the issues below.

 Environmental Institute Report Card August 2013