IYSA students learn about graphic design from Corey Begay, lead artist and graphic Designer at the multicultural publishing company, Salinas Bookshelf, Inc.
On June 6th, 2019, Flagstaff Open Space was awarded a $5,600 grant through Kahtoola for the People. Grant funds will allow the Indigenous Youth STEM Academy (IYSA) to work with an additional educational partner beginning in fall 2019. Kahtoola is a local Flagstaff business committed to building quality winter traction gear. Kahtoola for the People grants 1% of Kahtoola’s annual sales to help fund projects that preserve and enrich indigenous cultures worldwide. Since 1999, over $200,000 has been awarded to programs that improve communities, healthcare, education, resources, and the environment.
IYSA was created in 2017 to provide indigenous youth with the opportunity to learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) related fields in conjunction with traditional culture, community, and environmental stewardship. Through the program, students participate in STEM related learning sessions led by Indigenous professionals. So far, IYSA sessions have covered ethnobotany, astronomy, natural resources, land management, and archaeology. Over 150 Native American students from the Flagstaff area have benefited from the program.
IYSA students make their own natural toothpaste during an ethnobotany session led by Mayan traditional knowledge scholar, Marina Vasquez
This new educational partnership will involve a Title 1 elementary school within the Flagstaff Unified School District (FUSD). Title 1 schools are schools with 40% or more students eligible for free or reduced lunch, and typically include a higher percentage of Indigenous students than other, non-Title 1, schools. Funding will cover the full cost of programming for the educational partner to participate, which includes four educational sessions over the course of two semesters. Each session involves an in-class learning component followed by a field trip to an Open Space property. Classroom sizes typically range in size from 20-25 students, which means that 40-50 students will have the opportunity to meet with a STEM professional and participate in a hands-on learning experience in the field.
We are incredibly excited and thankful for this opportunity to impact the lives of young people. Big thanks to Kahtoola for supporting amazing projects in our community!
Written by Kaeli Wells.