NE CASC Offers "Indigenous Knowledge on Climate Adaptation Science" Course for Five College Consortium Students

Friday, January 15, 2021

A new spring course hosted by the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (NE CASC) will highlight Tribal speakers to discuss climate adaptation science. The course, Geology 497K: Indigenous Knowledge on Climate Adaptation Science, will be held virtually on Thursdays from 4:00 - 5:15 PM and is open to undergraduate and graduate students within the Five College Consortium (UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and Hampshire College).

Hosted at UMass Amherst, NE CASC is a federal-academic partnership comprised of an eight-member university consortium spanning the Northeast and Midwest.  The Center delivers actionable science to help fish, wildlife, water, land and people adapt to a changing climate. One of NE CASC's main priorities is to engage with Tribal and Indigenous Nations to accomplish the following:

  • Co-develop climate adaptation tools and information to serve Tribal communities 
  • Support Tribal youth in education and career development in STEM fields
  • Train non-Tribal scholars in ethical engagement with Tribal and Indigenous partners

Dr. Jonathan Woodruff (NE CASC), Dr. Michelle Staudinger (NE CASC), Addie Rose Holland (NE CASC), Dr. Kelsey Leonard (University of Waterloo and Citizen of Shinnecock Nation), Dr. Casey Thornbrugh (NE CASC Tribal Climate Resilience Liaison and Citizen of Mashpee Wampanoag), and Asha Ajmani (NE CASC Fellow) were awarded a Five College NAIS Mellon Mini-Grant to develop the course for spring semester. The Five College NAIS Mellon Mini-Grant opportunity aims to build a model of collaborative teaching and learning for Native American and Indigenous Studies centered in the Northeast region but with ties to a global Indigenous network by infusing Indigenous knowledge across disciplines.

Offered as a webinar and hosted by Woodruff, Staudinger, Holland, and Ajmani, the seminar will engage and partner with scholars and elders from Tribal Nations to explore the following areas:

  • Indigenous knowledge and climate adaptation science
  • Models for collaboration on diverse knowledges in scientific research
  • The co-creation of best practices for resilience and adaptation to the rapidly changing climate 

Each 3-week module will focus on a particular climate-related topic including water, forests, coastlines, and wildlife and matched to the particular expertise of the module’s invited Tribal Elder and Scholar pair:

  • Week 1: Presentations by the modules’ Tribal participants
  • Week 2: Panel discussion with the same Tribal participants
  • Week 3: Synthesis via an internal discussion on topics between course participants and UMass faculty leads.

Please enroll in SPIRE or contact Jonathan Woodruff ( for more information.