Collaboration with PSU Indigenous Nations Studies
In recent years UGI and has pursued initiatives to diversify the conservation community. UGI helped form and continues to actively support The Intertwine Alliance, which has fostered new initiatives and nonprofit startup’s serving diverse youth in conservation, the outdoors, environmental education, and active transportation. UGI has served as fiscal sponsor for and led a series of projects to bring Native American voices into The Intertwine Alliance community and address conservation needs highlighted by the Regional Conservation Strategy.
These efforts include the Sense of Place, OakQuest and KelipiCamas projects, which engaged Portland State University’s Indigenous Nations Studies Program and Native American Youth and Family Center. Under OakQuest, three emerging Native women leaders were employed and mentored in conservation science, leading an effort to map Oregon white oak across the region. As part of the ongoing KelipiCamas effort, Native youth explore traditional ecological stewardship practices at natural areas, as means to assist with site restoration and strengthen community within the urban Native American youth community.
In 2015 UGI helped ViveNW launch and continues to serve as fiscal sponsor. This is UGI’s latest manifestation of this work to diversify the regional conservation community.
As the Portland-Vancouver region diversifies, there is a growing need to cultivate environmental leadership and stewardship within underserved minority communities in a culturally appropriate manner. Although a variety of conservation and outdoor recreation organizations serve diverse youth populations, there is a deficit of diverse and bilingual youth mentors. The cultural disconnect between predominantly white, privileged conservation/outdoor mentors and the non-white youth mentees hinders development of diverse next-generation conservation leaders. Latino/a youth need Latino/a adult mentors to model in their personal and career development.