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 Friday and Saturday, July 1-2.
The annual powwow, which runs Wednesday through Monday, June 29-July 4, serves as a cultural highlight for the reservation’s three tribes, as well as for visitors from around the region. The Science Learning Tent will feature interactive exhibits and hands-on activities led by role models in STEM fields and higher education.
“These are all key ingredients that research has shown inspires the next generation about the opportunities that await them in higher education and beyond,” said Holly Truitt, spectrUM director.
Supported this year by the Simons Foundation, Bonneville Power Administration, the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the Science Learning Tent will feature themes that reflect the tribes’ workforce priorities.
Health Science Day on Friday will feature spectrUM’s traveling exhibits, “Hands on Health” and “Brain: The World Inside Your Head,” as well as Tribal Education’s “In Body” exhibit. It will include visits with STEM role models Lizzie Catudio-Garrett from spectrUM’s BrainLab, UM pharmacy students, and scholars in the Tribes’ Healthcare Warriors program.
Ecosystems Day on Saturday will include Salish Kootenai College’s Stream Table, spectrUM’s mobile eco-science 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, Stephanie Gillin, Chauncey Means, and Casey Ryan of the CSKT Natural Resources Department.
“Near-peer” role models from Arlee High School also will guide participants, and admissions representatives from SKC and UM will share 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, Ronan School District, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Wildlife Management Program and Tribal Education.
“SciNation’s mission is to build pathways on the Flathead Indian Reservation that foster passion for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics learning while promoting and respecting tribal cultural values,” said LeeAnna Muzquiz, physician at CSKT’s Tribal Health and SciNation committee member.
Each year, spectrUM and SciNation share hands-on STEM learning with the Flathead Reservation’s 7,800 youth through in-school pop-up science museums, a Science Bytes program that brings hands-on STEM activities to free breakfast and lunch sites during the summer, and showcases exhibits and activities at health fairs, camps and other community events.
In recognition of its innovative, community-based approach to rural and tribal engagement, spectrUM has received national awards from the Simons Foundation, through the Noyce Foundation’s Bright Lights Community Engagement Awards competition and from the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science.
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 55,000 Montanans through in-museum and mobile programming. Since 2006, spectrUM has transported exhibits and educators to 73 schools and public libraries in 31 Montana counties, including all seven American Indian reservations.
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/education/FlatheadIndRes.php. For more information or to book a school visit, call spectrUM STEM Education Program Manager Jessie Herbert at 406-243-4828 or visit http://www.spectrum.umt.edu.