Students investigate the headwaters of the Bad River Watershed at Caroline Lake. Their “follow the drop” exploration began here and ended at the Kagagon Sloughs in the wild rice beds on the bad River Reservation.

Students investigate the headwaters of the Bad River Watershed at Caroline Lake. Their “follow the drop” exploration began here and ended at the Kagagon Sloughs in the wild rice beds on the bad River Reservation.

What Is Indigenous Arts and Sciences?

Indigenous Arts and Sciences (IAS) is rooted in the values of respect, relationship, reciprocity, and responsibility. By partnering with Native tribes throughout Wisconsin, IAS addresses the need for culturally relevant science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning experiences and career exploration in the context of restoration-based education.

For a relevant and enriching education, Native children and all young people need to understand the value of Indigenous knowledge as well as integrate it with western STEM knowledge. Earth Partnership’s IAS initiative is a collaboration with Native communities that share a common vision of engaging youth in science and the natural world. By learning about their cultural heritage and Indigenous ways of knowing, Native youth are encouraged to explore STEM and environmental careers to meet future workforce needs.

Partnership with Wisconsin Costal Management Program

With funding from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Earth Partnership has launched a program that integrates watershed science with Indigenous Arts and Sciences: Indigenous Coastal Education (ICE). ICE offers new strategies for developing effective coastal watershed restoration and engaging communities to improve the sustainability of their natural resources.

IAS-ICE institutes engage educator-youth mentor teams in video production, citizen science, and service-learning projects to explore watershed issues and restoration from indigenous ecological perspectives.

Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling is a powerful way for youth to learn more about the environment, identify issues of concern, and advocate for awareness and solutions. Youth have explored a variety of subjects through this medium, under the instruction of Professor Patty Loew and Reynaldo Morales of UW–Madison. We’re excited to share these videos with you!

Earth Partnership Rain Garden. Learn about plans for a rain garden at the Bad River casino that will provide wildlife habitat and purify stormwater runoff.

Iskigami (Sugarbush). Listen to the legends, stories, and methods behind Great Lakes Ojibwe maple syruping.

Sacred Ones. Native youth from the Bad River and Red Cliff Nations, Madison, and Chicago participate in citizen science data collection on the Bad River.

Potato Bugs. These youth aren’t afraid of the “bugs” that they find while macroinvertebrate sampling in the Potato River on the Bad River Reservation, Odanah, Wis.

Seining on Gichigami. A group of Bad River and Red Cliff youth and elders participate in seining on Lake Superior and discuss the importance of keeping harvesting traditions alive.

Follow the Drop

“Follow the Drop” through the Bad River Watershed with this series of films:

Caroline Lake, headwaters of the Bad River. Investigate the importance of the Bad River Watershed and issues affecting it with Cyrus Hester, Environmental Specialist, Bad River Natural Resource Department.

Understanding Penokee Range Geology. What’s the attraction with these rocks? Explore it with Tom Fisk-Geologist, Northland College.

Take a Trip to Harvest Camp. Get some new perspectives of the importance the Bad River watershed to Native American communities.

Kakagon Sloughs Wild Rice Tour. Where does all that water go and why is the Bad River watershed so important? Find out with Edith Leoso, Bad River Tribal Historic Preservation Officer.

Water Monitoring. What can we learn from the water? Kris Stepenuck, UW–Extension Water Action Volunteers (WAV) Coordinator, explains what we can discover.

IAS Partners

Aldo Leopold Foundation (Baraboo, WI)
American Indian Center (Chicago, IL)
American Indian Science and Engineering Society
Ashland Schools (WI)
Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe
Bad River Watershed Association (Ashland, WI)
Bayfield Schools (WI)
Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (Odanah, WI)
Ho-Chunk Nation
Kickapoo Valley Reserve (LaFarge, WI)
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College
Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Madison Metropolitan School District
Native American Research Centers for Health
Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center (Ashland, WI)
Organic Valley (LaFarge, WI)
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
University of Minnesota Duluth
Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center
USDA Forest Service
UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
UW–Madison Curriculum and Instruction Department
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
Washburn Schools (WI)
WI Department of Public Instruction
Wisconsin Indian Education Association


Thank you to the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and NOAA for letting youth voices be heard through this digital storytelling project.

Thank you (miigwech) also to our other partners on this project: Bad River and Red Cliff Bands of Lake Superior Chippewa in collaboration with USDA Forest Service, UW–Extension, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Northland College, and the Bad River Watershed Association.