Research Campus Tribal Engagement

Research Campus Tribal Engagement

School of Meteorology colleagues at the South Central Climate Science Center have made it their mission as an organization to focus on Native American tribal engagement throughout the entire south-central United States, and the School would like to honor their work during National Native American Heritage month.

The South Central Climate Science Center began in 2012, and in 2014 South Central CSC published its Tribal Engagement Strategy. As part of the strategy, they began to build tribal capacity in climate-related areas, invest in the next generation of tribal staff, and train climate researchers to invest in these relationships, among many other new goals. From 2013-2015 the team has had 28 total trainings, 554 tribal attendees, engaged 91 different tribes and nations, and has had 5100 contact hours with first nations.

The youth of the tribes have not gone unnoticed in the Tribal Engagement Strategy. From 2013-2016, 24 tribal youth events were held by the South Central CSC, and South Central CSC staff members mentored 16 Native American undergraduate and graduate students.

In only five years of existence, the South Central CSC has had tremendous success with inclusion and partnership with first nations. The South Central CSC has had the privilege of being able to engage with 61 of the 68 regional tribes or nations. Led by School of Meteorology alumna and adjunct associate professor (and DGES associate professor) Dr. Renee McPherson, the South Central CSC works “with natural and cultural resource managers to gather the scientific information and build the tools needed to help fish, wildlife and ecosystems adapt to the impacts of climate change”, according to their website. This important work is accomplished through “a collaborative partnership among USGS scientists, resource management agencies, and a consortium of academic institutions from across the region, including Texas Tech University, Louisiana State University, the Chickasaw Nation, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab.”

The School is proud to have colleagues and members working so closely with Native American tribes and nations on these crucial matters, and we congratulate Dr. McPherson on her exceptional work in this area.