The Northwest Tribal Climate Change Summit

By JoVonne Wagner and Shawn Davis, Climate Change Interns, Blackfeet Environmental Office

For this summer internship, each of us Climate Change Intern had a requirement to plan, create, and present a poster on what he or she learned or experienced throughout the program. Based on where each of us was placed during the program, our posters summarized the work we did for our assigned department under the Blackfeet Tribe and Blackfeet Environmental Office (BEO).

Tribal Departments and programs hosting us included:

  • Agriculture
  • Fish and Wildlife
  • Forestry
  • the Buffalo Program
  • the Native Science Field Center
  • the Environmental Office
  • the Tribal Historical Preservation Office

At the end of the summer, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes hosted the Northwest Climate Summit at Salish Kootenai College (SKC) in the Flathead, where we presented and displayed their posters. This event allowed the us the chance to show the hard work we had done. Members of the summit and audience explored the poster display and conversed with us, asking questions and sharing ideas. Each of us had the opportunity during this time to introduce ourselves and what they study and incorporate that into describing the knowledge they gained during the course of the internship.

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Termaine Edmo presenting her poster on Climate Change and Water Quality at the 2017 Summit at SKC

Termaine Edmo who interned with the Blackfeet Environmental Office, assisted in the creation of the Youth Communication Plan along with two other interns. She also worked on independent projects throughout the summer, one which she dedicated to her poster, entitled, “Impacts of Climate Change on Water Quality”.

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Sierra Mason presenting her poster on forestry and climate change

During the internship, Sierra Mason was placed at the Agriculture Department. Her poster consisted of the effect of climate change on agriculture in the Blackfeet Nation and showed what she learned about climate change during the summer.

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Interns Shawn Davis and JoVonne Wagner presenting their summer’s work at the 2017 Summit on Climate Change Awareness

Shawn and JoVonne discussed the health impacts of climate change on the Blackfeet Reservation. They also talked about their communications plan to address climate change to Blackfeet youth. Their main goal was to raise awareness with the general population on the Reservation.

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Sandra Guardipee & Rusti Loring presenting their poster on the impacts of Climate Change and Culture

Sandra and Rusti worked with the Native Science Field Center and their poster focused on how climate change affects Blackfeet culture and heritage. Sandra was able to shadow the Blackfeet Community College’s summer program where youth are taught the cultural significance of plants and animals to the Blackfeet.

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Chastedy’s poster focused on the Blackfeet Tribe’s Iinnii Initiative (Buffalo Initiative).

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Blackfeet Environmental Director Gerald Wagner on stage with some of the Climate Warriors (Blackfeet Climate Change Interns) and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ EAGLES (high school climate change leaders) at the Climate Change Summit
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