Earth Connections

STEM teaching through nature


The Earth Connections Camp in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a program designed for Native American children to get involved with the community and empower them with a mix of cultural information and STEM topics about water, land, plants, animals, and indigenous people.

Here's the story.


Not too much.

Not too much.

The reason why we have this camp is twofold.

The first is to get the students involved in their education, to have a baseline in terms of what they need to learn and, you know, some of the challenges that they have in education.

And the other piece is the cultural piece, which is things that they need to learn of their background and where they came from and who they are.

So, we have a mixture of the cultural piece mixed with the STEM piece.

And, at the end of the day, hopefully they can mesh these two programs together.


So, like, yesterday, we had 100 pennies and we had to decide which, like, percentage of the water on Earth was, like, oceans, lakes, rivers, or streams and stuff.

That was fun.

Grab your pennies.

Well, we try to keep it really interactive.

We want the kids to not just listen, but do.

So we try to have them participate with the activities as much as we can.

We've brought our children up here to the Earth Connections Camp for almost eight years now.

A very great opportunity for our youth.

Most of our children for the Urban Indian Center -- they do have limited access to daycare or don't have access to programs that are designed for American Indian children.

So it's a great opportunity for our children to get involved with the STEM and get involved with understanding our cultural values.

[ Singing in native language ] I thought this was important from the very beginning because Indian tribes have ownership of many, many water rights and land rights on our native lands.

And it's important for our youth to be able to know how this impacts their community.

They have to know, legally, what impacts them as Indian nations.

And going into the future, we have so many of our natural resources -- water, land, minerals, oil, whatever it may be -- with all kinds of companies around us just waiting to get their hands on it.

We, as Indian people, need to be able to protect our rights to these natural resources.

So Earth Connection is a great way for our community to empower themselves.

We mix cultural information with STEM teachings about water, about land, about plants, animals, and indigenous peoples.

And the whole state of Utah -- We're right here.

This beautiful, beautiful place that we all share.

It's good for us to know the history of this place, who lived here.

[ Singing continues ]

Thread it from -- Still going backwards.

[ Singing continues ] [ Indistinct conversations ] ♪♪

It really makes me feel happy, 'cause, like, we were here and we helped make this country great.

This camp has helped me with, like, history classes, 'cause, like, when I go and learn about, like, Native Americans, like, I've already, like, known 'cause of this camp and, like, my grandma and stuff.

So it just, like -- I already know about it, so it's just, like, fun to, like, see what other teachers say about it.

It makes me feel, like, a ton better to, like, just understand, like, what it means for me and, like, my family and everything and makes my family happy and me happy.