SpectrUM, SciNation to Host Science Learning Tent at Arlee Esyapqeyni

June 27, 2017

MISSOULA – The University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area and SciNation, its community advisory group on the Flathead Reservation, will return to the 119th Arlee Celebration with their popular Science Learning Tent on Friday from noon to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 30, and Saturday, July 1.

The annual powwow, which runs from Wednesday, June 28, through Tuesday, July 4, serves as a cultural highlight for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, as well as for visitors from around the region and beyond. At the powwow, the Science Learning Tent provides children and families with a fun, interactive place to learn, play and meet role models in STEM and higher education.

On Friday, the Science Learning Tent will feature the premiere of the Kwul ‘I’tkin Truck, a National Science Foundation-funded mobile makerspace co-created by spectrUM, SciNation and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Visitors to the Kwul ‘I’tkin Truck, which weaves together conventional and cultural making activities, will be able to explore 3D printing and laser cutter demonstrations and make their own beading patterns and drums with local drum makers Michael Hewankorn, Jeremiah Michel and Tyrone Burke and beading expert Jodi Hunter. Monica Elser, education liaison at UM’s Flathead Lake Biological Station, will lead a plankton race activity.

Saturday’s Health and Ecosystems Science Day at the Science Learning Tent will feature a selection of favorites from spectrUM’s traveling exhibitions, Salish Kootenai College’s stream table and “Science of Sports” activities created by GSK Science in the Summer. Role models Brenda Morton, Jessi Cahoon and Milissa Grandchamp of the CSKT Tribal Health; Chauncey Means, Whisper Camel-Means and Casey Ryan of the CSKT Natural Resources Department and Sherrill Brown and Kristian Stipe of UM’s College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences will lead hands-on activities throughout the day, along with “near peer” role models from Arlee High School.

“SpectrUM, SciNation and our community partners co-created the Science Learning Tent to inspire children on the Flathead Reservation about the bright futures that await them in STEM, higher education and the workforce,” said spectrUM Director Holly Truitt.

Each summer, the Science Learning Tent engages over 1,000 powwow visitors with role models and hands-on learning experiences that reflect the tribes’ workforce priorities. This year’s Science Learning Tent is powered by the U.S. Department of Education, the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and GSK Science in the Summer.

Inspiring a culture of learning and discovery for all, the spectrUM Discovery Area is UM’s interactive science center and mobile science program that serves 55,000 Montanans annually. Since 2006, spectrUM has traveled exhibits and educators to 73 schools and public libraries in 31 Montana counties and all seven American Indian reservations.

On the Flathead Reservation, spectrUM partners with its SciNation advisory group to co-create programming designed to inspire a homegrown, Native STEM workforce. SpectrUM and SciNation’s innovative, community-based approach to STEM engagement has garnered awards from the Noyce Foundation, the Simons Foundation, the Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science and the Montana Indian Education Association.

Information about spectrUM’s engagement on the Flathead Reservation is available at http://spectrum.umt.edu/education/outreach/mosse_k12/CommunityInitiatives/FlatheadIndRes.php or by calling spectrUM’s Head of Educational Programs Jessie Herbert-Meny at 406-243-4828.


Contact: Jessie Herbert-Meny, head of educational programs, spectrUM Discovery Area, 406-243-4828, jessie.herbert@umontana.edu.