Urban Green Infrastructure and Civic Engagement: Understanding Influences on Ecosystem Services and Human-Ecological Health
Objective: The overarching aim of this research is to build community capacity for health promotion in an impoverished area of Syracuse, NY, through the provision of ecosystems services. We seek also to empower community members as active environmental stewards with the knowledge, resources and environmental concern to serve as champions for the ecological protection of their neighborhoods and the surrounding areas. Approach: This effort leverages an existing partnership between early career academics in Syracuse and a local community organization that is beginning a substantial green infrastructure (GI) construction effort on vacant lots in vulnerable communities where combined sewer overflows (CSOs) have been occurring. We employ a community-based participatory research (CBPR) methodology applied within a coupled social-ecological conceptual framework linking human and ecological outcomes. Methods will include both biophysical monitoring of green infrastructure effects and a social assessment of ecosystem services and human benefit. Results: Our efforts will produce actionable findings on how to implement community-based research on GI, ecosystem services, and the interrelationships between human and ecological well-being. It will also allow us to understand and measure the effectiveness of GI as a tool for stormwater management at ecologically vulnerable sites.
Funding for this project is supplied by the EPA: Integrating Human Health and Well-Being with Ecosystem Services, EPA-G2016-STAR-A2: Early Career Projects
Sowing Synergy: A graduate program to integrate indigenous and scientific knowledge for sustainability.
A collaborative project between ESF's Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, Salish Kootenai College, and Hope Mountain Native Science Fellows in Montana
The following project description is an excerpt from ESF's Center for Native Peoples and the Environment page(http://www.esf.edu/nativepeoples/sowingsynergy.htm): Sowing Synergy: A Graduate Program to Integrate Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge for Sustainability and Biocultural Restoration will meet an exciting, emerging need in natural resources education, and create a model for educational innovation in graduate programs. Native Americans are the most under-represented group in the American scientific community, and are "barely a presence in science" according to a report of the National Science Foundation. A 1991 study found a "consistent and nearly complete absence of American Indian faculty members in science and engineering". Our Sowing Synergy graduate program is designed to serve a growing number of tribal and non-tribal students who are poised to bring their talents, experience and perspectives into environmental problem solving. Over the last decade, tribal colleges and universities have dramatically increased the number of indigenous students completing degrees in natural resources and environmental science. However, this success has led to a significant unmet need for culturally relevant Master’s level education that welcomes, supports and integrates TEK and indigenous perspectives. The Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at ESF consistently receives inquiries from prospective students for graduate-level curriculum, research, and training opportunities that integrate TEK and scientific ecological knowledge (SEK). And today, in partnership with indigenous scholars, educators, students and communities we are creating just such a program
With support from a Higher Education Challenge award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the SUNY ESF Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, we are developing a new graduate program integrating indigenous knowledge with scientific knowledge in service to sustainability. "Sowing Synergy" is SUNY-ESF’s new collaboration with the Salish Kootenai College and Hopa Mountain Native Science Fellows in Montana. The Master’s level degree will be designed to incorporate research in the cultural and ecological landscapes of upstate New York where our college is located and the landscapes of our partners in western Montana. The program is collaboratively created, drawing on the wisdom and experience of tribal college educators.
The ProgramThe award will support an initial cohort of three new Native American graduate students with full tuition, stipend and research expenses, as well as undergraduate research apprenticeships. Biocultural restoration serves as the unifying theme for coursework and research. Biocultural restoration is the science and practice of restoring not only ecosystems, but human and cultural relationships to place, so that cultures are strengthened and revitalized along with the lands to which they are inextricably linked. Students are encouraged to build their research around the needs of indigenous communities, to serve the goals of biocultural restoration. The program includes new course development, publications, student enrichment and faculty workshops designed to link Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Scientific Ecological Knowledge in research, education and service to native lands and communities.
Funding for this project supplied by the USDA Higher Education Challenge Award