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USGS Continues Collaboration for Native Youth in Science—Preserving Our Homeland

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For the fourth consecutive summer, the Native Youth in Science—Preserving Our Homelands (NYS–POH) summer science camp was presented by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Office of Tribal Relations and the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center (WHCMSC) in collaboration with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s (MWT) Departments of Education and Natural Resources, the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (WBNERR), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Northeast National Marine Fisheries Science Center.

Wayne Baldwin demonstrates the use of geologic and topographic maps.
Above: Wayne Baldwin demonstrates the use of geologic and topographic maps. [no larger version available]

Serving Mashpee Wampanoag students from grades five, six, and seven, this year’s camp followed the format of previous years, taking place weekly during the month of July at various locations around Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Each day focused on a different topic of marine biology, geology, or environmental science relevant to the Mashpee Wampanoag homelands. In addition to the Western science perspective, Mashpee Wampanoag tribal culture keepers Earl Mills, Jr., Tony Perry, Melanie Roderick, and George “Chuckie” Green, Jr. (Assistant Director of the Tribe’s Natural Resource Department) provided traditional ecological knowledge, tribal language lessons, and discussions relevant to each day’s topic. Renee Lopes-Pocknett, Director of the Tribe’s Education Department, coordinated and presented activities designed to reinforce each day’s lessons.

Ben Gutierrez and Dann Blackwood (WHCMSC) kicked off the program with a mapping unit, followed by a discussion of rocks and minerals, geologic time, and Cape Cod geology. They also discussed the sand and gravel composition of the lands in the Mashpee, Massachusetts, region and how they relate to the glacial outwash origin of this portion of Cape Cod. Gutierrez and Blackwood also demonstrated how these outwash sediments impact the local groundwater system, allowing for rapid groundwater transport—an important factor in nitrogen loading in Cape Cod waters. Tony Perry and George Green, Jr. (MWT) provided lessons on traditional seasonal burning practices, and how they promote indigenous species habitats, fostering their continued survival. They also emphasized how reinstituting these burning practices has contributed to the recovery of the eastern cottontail rabbit. Christina Stringer, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Forest Service, conducted units on the hydrologic cycle, water quality, and the significance of water quality for the health of local waterways that are vital to traditional Wampanoag food resources such as herring and shellfish. Wayne Baldwin (WHCMSC) conducted a day focused on exploring geologic and topographic maps to help understand Cape Cod geology. In particular, Baldwin focused on how glaciers shaped Cape Cod and contributed to the genesis of the Mashpee homeland waterways. Earl Mills, Jr. presented tribal stories about Maushop, the traditional cultural hero, and how he shaped the contours of the Mashpee Wampanoag homelands. Jim Rassman (WBNERR) led a hike along the Quashnet River, one of the waterways river herring use to migrate from the ocean to breeding grounds in local lakes and ponds. Rassman discussed the impacts of invasive species on the indigenous flora and fauna in Waquoit Bay marshes, and Earl Mills, Jr. identified plants traditionally utilized by the Tribe for food, medicine, and material culture. They gave students first-hand experience in contrasting developed, undeveloped and recently restored regions of the Quashnet watershed, which include natural settings, a golf course, and an abandoned cranberry bog. Stephanie Madsen of WHOI and a group of WHOI interns conducted a unit on salt marsh geology, identifying different grass species in marshes and showing how marshes build up over time by examining marsh core samples. Madsen and her interns also discussed how storms can transport sand eroded from barrier beaches.

Related Sound Waves Stories
“Native Youth in Science—Preserving Our Homelands” Completes Year Two
Nov. / Dec. 2013
Native Youth in Science—Preserving Our Homelands
Nov. / Dec. 2012

Related Websites
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians
Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians
Welcome to the Northeast Fisheries Science Center
NOAA Fisheries Service

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in this issue:

cover story:
Sampling Atlantic Margin Methane Seeps and Plumes

USGS Completes Second Expedition for Atlantic Submarine-Landslide Studies

Spotlight on Sandy
“Team Delmarva” Completes Seafloor Mapping off Delmarva Peninsula

Pathways to the Abyss

USGS Residual Oil Research Presented at Two Public Seminars

USGS Hosts USF Oceanography Camp for Girls

USGS Continues Collaboration for Native Youth in Science

USGS Assists in Another Year of Woods Hole Partnership in Education

New Production Team for Sound Waves

Oct. / Nov. Publications

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