This West Is OUR West

EPA Administrator Announces 2015 Tribal ecoAmbassadors

For Immediate Release October 27, 2014

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the agency’s 2015 Tribal ecoAmbassadors, tribal college and university professors who work in partnership with EPA scientists to improve environmental conditions and public health in tribal communities, at the National Congress of American Indians’ annual convention in Atlanta, GA. The ecoAmbassadors program funds research at tribal colleges and universities, bringing environmental improvements to schools and neighborhoods.

“Through the Tribal ecoAmbassadors program, we are strengthening an important partnership between EPA and tribal communities in addition to supporting research to combat climate change and improve public health,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This program allows EPA scientists and tribal professors to work side-by-side to improve public health and the environment in tribal communities.”

EPA’s Tribal ecoAmbassadors, along with their students, will participate in training, conduct research, and share proposed solutions with tribal partners.

At the end of this academic year, EPA’s Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program will have invested over $1.4 million in tribal communities, and provided 20 tribal college and university professors, and 150 students, the opportunity to work with EPA scientists.  In addition, the program has produced several transferable online courses, a viable construction business opportunity, and forged dozens of new partnerships to sustain the program’s work.

EPA is committed to supporting the implementation of federal environmental laws consistent with the federal trust responsibility, the government-to-government relationship, and EPA's 1984 Indian Policy of federally recognized tribes.

This year’s recipients are:

* Fond Du Lac College, Cloquet, MN – Dr. Courtney Kowalczak: To conduct research on using dragonfly larvae to monitor mercury bioaccumulation in tribal waters.

* Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM – Dr. Annie McDonnell: To create a living, GIS map of sustainability projects on campus and educate the community on major environmental issues, including climate adaptation and climate mitigation.

* Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, WA – Ane Berrett, in partnership with AmeriCorps: To conduct several projects, including model garden and landscaping plan creation, to help build a model of food sovereignty for the Northwest Indian College and Lummi communities.

* Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, MT – Dr. Robert Kenning: To enhance the effectiveness of local camas restoration efforts on the Flathead Indian reservation by enhancing knowledge of soil moisture and competition from invasive species.

Information on Tribal ecoAmbassadors or to apply: http://www.epa.gov/ecoambassadors/tribal/index.html

Information on EPA EcoAmbassador programs: http://www.epa.gov/ecoambassadors/index.html

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