UW News

October 5, 2015

UW workshop basis of national climate-science training for tribes

UW News

A workshop on climate science, developed at the University of Washington and delivered for five years to scientists in this region, will become the framework for a new national workshop for early-career tribal members from across the country.

The program, announced in September by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Idaho, will be held for the first time in June 2016 at the campus in McCall, Idaho. It will involve scientists and educators from across the U.S. who are members of tribal groups.

The curriculum will be developed and presented by the Northwest Climate Science Center, a regional center operated since 2000 by the U.S. Department of the Interior, of which the UW is one of three academic partners.

The new National Tribal Climate Boot Camp will bring together early-career professionals for a week-long intensive educational experience to learn about climate impacts, with a specific focus on issues connected to tribal needs and concerns.

It will be modeled after a UW-developed program that has run for five years in the Northwest. The most recent regional Climate Boot Camp was held in August at the UW’s Pack Forest Conference Center. It included 32 graduate students, early-career professionals and tribal members from this region. More than 30 experts in climate science and policy shared their expertise with the group.

people in canoes

Participants in one of the previous Climate Boot Camps, which have run for five years in the Northwest region.NW Climate Science Center

“The Northwest Climate Science Center and the UW have led nationally in the development of climate-change education programs,” said Eric Salathé, director of this year’s workshop and an associate professor of climate science at UW Bothell. “The traditional Climate Boot Camp focused on the Northwest and was directed to graduate students. This new event will allow us to tailor the curriculum better for tribal groups across the country.”

The new workshop aims to address the tribes’ climate concerns, including in-depth immersion in climate science, indigenous/traditional ecological knowledge, policy and management issues, and science communication and outreach. The program will include case studies of climate change issues most relevant to tribes, and field trips to visit collaborative adaptation efforts. Faculty at the UW, the University of Idaho, Oregon State University and other institutions will work with tribal leaders to develop the curriculum.

“Being able to provide this unique educational opportunity is one of the most meaningful contributions the Northwest Climate Science Center can make to the Native American community at large,” said Gustavo Bisbal, a U.S. Geological Survey staff member and director of the Northwest Climate Science Center, in an announcement. “Training tribal early career professionals may have a lasting effect that can influence how a large number of tribes respond and adapt to the challenges of a changing climate.”


For more information, contact Salathé at 425-352-3226 or salathe@uw.edu, Bisbal at 541-750-1020 or gbisbal@usgs.gov, or Northwest Climate Science Center communications manager Lisa Hayward at 206-795-8843 or lhayward@uw.edu.