Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Environmental Institute

The Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Environmental Institute’s programming focuses on sustainability, the environment and natural resources with an indigenous lens. Research, outreach, and ongoing education are coordinated by staff at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and Fond du Lac Resource Management. Fond du Lac Resources Management, University of Minnesota Extension, county resource managers, tribal officials, and citizen-groups all advise on the direction of the Environmental Institute’s programs and initiatives. Research opportunities that provide hands-on experience are available for college students and graduates through land grant science projects provided by the Environmental Institute.

Their sustainability initiatives not only strengthen community resilience, but also balance the social/ecological needs of the community. The Environmental Institute has resources on campus to teach green living through gardening, beekeeping, green energy, and forestry. To address food sovereignty within the region, they offer a Sustainable Food System Certificate for community members looking to pursue sustainable agriculture. Their Bimaaji’idiwin Ojibwe Garden Program, which in addition to offering a demonstration garden, hands-on gardening workshops, and seasonal outlooks, provides over 300 pounds of produce to community food programs. Through events, such as an annual bee symposium, Sustainability Awareness Week, and Earth Week, students, staff, community members, and practitioners are provided with professional development opportunities that improve their understanding of sustainability and help them to recognize the role they play as problem solvers. 

As a land grant college, education, research, and outreach are at the core of the Environmental Institute’s projects. They utilize a solar powered greenhouse on campus for hands-on learning in energy and ecology-focused courses. The greenhouse has become a testing ground for students to explore year-round planting methods, solar energy, and passive heating systems.

Other research projects conducted by the Institute have focused on mercury levels within the St. Louis River watershed, wild rice restoration, and conservation of culturally significant natural resources. The Environmental Institute hosts multiple camps throughout the year for youth, all with a focus on STEAM learning. Workshops are also offered through their Thirteen Moons program, which helps youth and adults to improve their agricultural literacy while enhancing food productivity, community vitality, public health, and personal well-being.

Photo Credit: Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Tribal College Extension  Bimaaji’idiwin Garden

Get involved

Now that you’ve learned more, the best way to create change is by getting involved! Donate your money or time, find support, and take action. Citizen climate action means a stronger, healthier, more vibrant Duluth!

Learn more at: https://fdltcc.edu/academics/outreach-programs/environmental-institute/. Follow them on Facebook to stay informed on their projects and initiatives. To contact the Environmental Institute, email Courtney Kowalczak at courtneyk@fdltcc.edu or call (218) 879-0862.