2019: Ksik Stakii Project in Review

2019 was a year of growth for the Ksik Stakii Project.  Our field season expanded from 2 to 4 weeks and we were able to work at two project sites including on a private ranch near Cut Bank, MT.  Thanks to the hard work of the Native Science Field Center Fellows and the Piikani Lands Crew we were able to construct 12 new beaver dam analogues during July and August of 2019!  

As the year winds down, we’d like to share some of our favorite memories from the past year:

Iinni Initiative

The Ksik Stakii Project was invited to present at the Experiential Learning Day during the Iinii Days Encampment. Helen Augare-Carlson and Termaine Edmo with support from project staff discussed how the Ksik Stakii Project is working to increase climate resilience in Blackfeet Nation. 

Native Science Fellows Field Program

The summer field season kicked off with a two-week field program with the Blackfeet Community College.  Thirteen Native Science Fellows from the Blackfeet Community College Native Science Field Center participated in a hybrid field and classroom program. They spent half of each day building beaver dam analogues (BDAs) and the other half learning about climate change adaptation and resilience.  Several fellows from the 2018 field season returned in 2019 providing an opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and mentorship.  

Fellows performed maintenance at the 2018 project site, repairing dams damaged by runoff and collecting debris from the area. 
Fellows completed the first BDA on private land on a ranch near Cut Bank MT.

Piikani Lands Crew Field Program

This year, the Ksik Stakii Project partnered with the Montana Conservation Corps’ Piikani Lands Crew.  The Piikani Lands Crew consists of young adults from the Blackfeet Nation who work on various conservation projects. Their projects consist of trail maintenance, wildlife surveys, habitat restoration, fencing, facilities maintenance, and much more. The crew works to make a lasting positive impact in Blackfeet Country and nearby ancestral lands. This season they have partnered with local and neighboring organizations including the Iinnii Initiative, Glacier National Park, the Nature Conservancy, and the Montana Wilderness Association.  The Piikani Lands Crew joined the Ksik Stakii Project for two weeks, constructing 8 beaver dam analogues!

The Piikani Lands Crew observed a water quality assessment at the 2019 project site.  Pictured here, staff from the Blackfeet Environmental Office Water Quality Program perform fish shocking to identify species living in the water and assess the quality of the water.  

Taken in sum, the Ksik Stakii Project had a great field season and is looking forward to continuing to educate the community about climate change, beaver mimicry, and how natural water storage contributes to climate resilience!  To learn more about the 2019 field season, our field report is available here.

Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent

This past September several field program participants including fellows Lia Rattler and Savanna Arellano from the Native Science Field Center, and Candance Still Smoking from the Piikani Lands Crew joined project staff at the Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent.  Termaine Edmo of Blackfeet Environmental discussed how the Ksik Stakii Project is an example of how climate adaptation can serve multiple purposes including bringing the community together, strengthening relationships, and increasing climate awareness and preparedness.  Lia and Savanna also shared their experiences as fellows in the program and advocated for more youth engagement in conservation.

Pictured here, Termaine Edmo, Lia Rattler, and Savanna Arellano staff an informational booth at the Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent Conference.

Beaver Mimicry Guidebook

This fall, the Ksik Stakii Project wrote and published our first comprehensive guidebook to beaver mimicry in Blackfeet Nation.  This guidebook will be used to inform members of the community about beaver mimicry and to introduce the methods and techniques our BDA builders use.  To read the guidebook and learn more, click here.

Looking Forward to 2020

2019 was a huge year for the Ksik Stakii Project and we can’t wait to do even more next year!  Make sure to stay up to date by following our Facebook page. Here’s to 2020!

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