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U of M, Crookston Organizes Ninth Annual Educational Program with White Earth Reservation
June 13, 2007

Contact: Deborah Zak, regional campus director, 218-281-8684 ( Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director of communications, 218-281-8432 ( Kathryn Webster, assistant director of communications intern, 218-281-8432 (

CROOKSTON, Minn. (June 13, 2007)- A collaboration between the University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) and the White Earth Indian Reservation is giving students the opportunity to learn more about math and science during the annual 4-week White Earth Academy of Math and Science. The nine-year partnership with the University of Minnesota helped create the White Earth Academy of Math and Science in order to build a strong relationship between the U of M and increase learning in these critical areas in education.


UMC faculty will teach classes in introduction to Global Positioning Software (GPS), navigation using GPS, bird identification and bird wingspan. Other themes throughout the program include language, culture, natural resources, traditional food, and Native crafts. Students will be touring the UMC campus, including the equine center, athletic facilities, horticulture buildings, the airport and the Natural History Area. The students will also be staying overnight in Skyberg Hall on Thursday, June 14.


There are 58 students enrolled in the 2007 summer program.  Schools included within the program are Circle of Life School in White Earth; Naytahwaush Charter School in Naytahwaush; Pine Point School in Ponsford and the Mahnomen Public School. The number of students attending this year is more than double the number that attended last year. Over the next few weeks, faculty from the University of Minnesota will be on hand to teach students at the school. The hands-on approach they provide gives meaning and purpose to the learning.


Using a place-based curriculum, students are engaged in informal science discoveries that demonstrate parallels between indigenous and Western science knowledge. The reservation partners bring culture and traditions of the elders to the learning process, while the University instructors bring the hands-on educational experiences to the youth. An outdoor, informal science program is ideally suited to American Indian youth on reservations, as they live on lands with abundant natural resources. All classes will be delivered to communities on the White Earth Reservation, with the exception of field trips to State Parks, National Wildlife Refuges and to the UMC campus.


 “The partnership has given the Reservation more connections to the University so they can encourage their students to consider enrolling at the University once they graduate from school,” explained Deb Zak, UMC Campus Regional Director for Extension.


Grants fund the educational programs, so there are no fees charged to the participants.


The University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs and 50 concentrations, including online degrees, in agriculture; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; math, science and technology; and natural resources. UMC is dedicated to helping students and the region aim higher, reach further and dream bigger dreams. To learn more, visit