Center Scientists Conduct 2nd College-prep Field Course in Conservation Biology & Global Health for Native American Youth


For 25 years, Prof. Randy Kyes, in partnership with his international colleagues, have conducted annual field courses focusing on conservation biology and global health for university students and professionals in several countries including Indonesia, Nepal, China, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Condo, Thailand, and Mexico.

More recently, he and his colleagues have begun providing similar programs locally. “Given the growing national calls for greater STEM-based education in the U.S., and a desire to engage and inspire our own “local” indigenous youth, we have begun to expand our training programs here at home for students in the tribal secondary schools” notes Kyes.

Two years ago (June 2012), Prof. Kyes along with colleague Dr. Pensri (“Elle”) Kyes conducted their first “mini” field course, entitled “college-prep Field Course in Conservation Biology & Global Health: At the Human-Environment Interface,” for 18 middle and high school students at the Quilluete Tribal School in La Push, WA. Earlier this month (June 2014), they conducted their second cp-Field Course for 14 middle and high school students at the Chief Leschi Tribal School in Puyallup, WA. The cp-field course is modeled after their successful university-level field courses and is designed to give students a “big picture” of the close relationship between environmental and global health.

The three-day field course consists of daily lectures and related field and lab exercises. Lecture  material is presented at an advanced (college-prep) level to expose the students to college-level lectures. Students are introduced to topics such as conservation biology, field study methods, management and conservation strategies, primatology, aquatic bioindicators, the human-wildlife interface, issues in global health, animal research and translational science. Polly Olsen, Community Relations Director of the UW Indigenous Wellness Research Institute along with UW undergraduate Cassie Halls also partnered in the recent field course providing lectures and hands-on demonstrations of local ethnobotany and traditional medicines. Based on the success of these initial cp-field courses, Kyes plans to expand this outreach education program to other tribal schools in the area.

Prof. Kyes is Director of the Center for Global Field Study and Research Professor in Psychology and adjunct in Global Health. He is also Head of the Division of Global Programs at the Washington National Primate Research Center. Dr. Elle Kyes is Affiliate Scientist in the Center for Global Field Study.