Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: RAPID: Ethnobotany of Northwest Alaska: Preserving Traditional Knowledge and Engaging Alaska Native Students in STEM (Award# 1546438)

PI: Ickert-Bond, Stefanie M (
Phone: (907) 474.6277 
Institute/Department: U of Alaska, Fairbanks, Museum of the North 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ASSP
Program Manager: Dr. Anna Kerttula (
Discipline(s): | Social and Human Sciences |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
This is a small RAPID project, co-funded with the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program, EHR Directorate, to utilize the extensive video footage and qualitative data collected through Elder interviews and participatory ethnography in 2013 and 2014, for the production of a series of short topic oriented films on the ethnobotanical knowledge of Alaska Native peoples. This extensive ecological knowledge is at risk of loss as the pressures of globalization affect food sources and food choices by Alaska Native peoples. The ethnobotanical knowledge recorded through this project is one key to long-term food security in the Arctic. In addition, the films will support the teaching of science as interdisciplinary knowledge embedded in cultures and issues in the real world. These methods have been shown at Tribal college programs to support STEM learning, which increases the success of Native American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students in science. The knowledge that is embodied in the above mentioned interviews is in danger of being lost with the passing of the current generation of Elders, and the film series that will be produced will not only preserve this knowledge but will also make it accessible to younger generations of Alaska Natives interested in their heritage knowledge, to scientists interested in accessing and analyzing ethnobotanical knowledge, and to the general public. In addition, the applicant will engage Alaska Native students in interdisciplinary science through the production of videos on this knowledge. Although video production is not a novel way to engage young scientists, the participants will be working with a unique set of interdisciplinary data of ethnobotanical information from their own cultures. In addition, the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUPS) has supported ethnobotony programs as a means of supporting STEM infrastructure at Tribal Colleges. These videos will be utilized to introduce interdisciplinary scientific methods to Tribal College students through TCUPS programs at the Rural Colleges of Alaska and Tribal Colleges in the continental U.S. In addition, the videos will be available to museums for the public to gain a better understanding of Alaska Native knowledge and tradition.

Logistics Summary:
Beginning in 2015, this one-year project will utilize extensive video footage and qualitative data collected in 2013 and 2014 by the CO-PI through interviews and participatory ethnography for the production of a series of short topic oriented films on the ethnobotanical knowledge of Alaska Native peoples. Distribution of these engaging videos that showcase Inupiat Elder traditions will provide many educational uses for Alaska Native youth. It will contribute to both preserving sustainability of native culture and traditional ways of life before it is forgotten, as well as increasing success of Alaska Native students. There is no fieldwork associated with this project.

Generated from:
Parameters used to generate this report:, Grant# = "1546438", IPY = "ALL" 
     Number of projects returned based on your query parameters = 1