MISSOULA – The University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area and SciNation, its community partner on the Flathead Reservation, will return to the Arlee Celebration with the popular Science Learning Tent on Thursday and Friday, July 2-3.
The annual powwow, which runs Wednesday through Sunday, July 1-5, serves as a cultural highlight for the reservation’s three tribes, as well as for visitors from around the country. The Science Learning Tent will feature interactive exhibits and hands-on activities led by role models in STEM fields and higher education.
Supported this year by the Noyce Foundation, the Science Learning Tent will feature themes that reflect the tribes’ workforce needs. Ecosystem Day on Thursday will include Salish Kootenai College’s Stream Table, spectrUM’s mobile ecoscience exhibits created with the Montana Institute on Ecosystems, and activities led by the Watershed Education Network. Visitors to the exhibit also will have the opportunity to meet with local STEM role models, including Whisper Camel-Means of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Wildlife Management Program.
Health Day on Friday will feature spectrUM’s traveling exhibits, “Hands on Health” and “Brain: The World inside Your Head.” It will include visits with STEM role models Jera Stewart, a clinical neuropsychologist for the CSKT, Lizzie Catudio-Garrett from spectrUM’s BrainLab, and high-school scholars in the tribes’ Healthcare Warriors program.
“Near-peer” role models from Arlee High School, Ronan High School and spectrUM’s high school Explainers program also will guide participants, and representatives from UM Admissions will provide information and answer questions.
SciNation, which steers spectrUM’s engagement on the Flathead Reservation, is an organization of STEM and education leaders from Tribal Health and Human Services, Ronan Elementary School, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Wildlife Management Program, and Salish Kootenai College.
With SciNation, spectrUM engages with the estimated 6,000 children on the Flathead Reservation through in-school pop-up science museums, a new Science Bytes program that brings hands-on STEM activities to free breakfast and lunch sites during the summer, and exhibits and activities at health fairs, camps and other community events.
With support from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, the Montana National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, the National Institutes of Health, and the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation, spectrUM’s mobile science program has now visited every K-12 school on the reservation.
In recognition of its innovative, community-based approach to rural and tribal engagement, spectrUM received two national awards in the past year: one from the Simons Foundation and one through the Noyce Foundation’s Bright Lights Community Engagement Awards competition.
Inspiring a culture of learning and discovery for all, the spectrUM Discovery Area is an interactive science center located in downtown Missoula. Annually, spectrUM serves more than 50,000 Montanans through in-museum and mobile programming. Since 2006, spectrUM has transported exhibits and educators to 71 schools and public libraries in 29 Montana counties, including all seven American Indian reservations.
SpectrUM’s additional sponsors and partners include UM’s Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience, the Jane S. Heman Foundation, NISE Network, SciGirls and the Western Montana Area Health Education Center.
In Missoula, the public can visit spectrUM’s museum at 218 E. Front St. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission costs $3.50 per person.
More information about spectrUM’s engagement on the Flathead Reservation is online at http://spectrum.umt.edu/outreach/mosse_k12/CommunityInitiatives/FlatheadIndRes.php.