Wyss and Doris Duke Projects

Grand Canyon Youth Kinlani River Trip Project, 2011

One long standing priority within the Environmental Sciences and Policy program is to advance public understanding of environmental issues through outreach and education. In light of this directive, the 2009 graduate cohort reached out to the community in Northern Arizona and connected with an outstanding, local environmental education group, called Grand Canyon Youth (GCY). GCY hosts environmental education trips "along the rivers and canyons of the Southwest in an effort to promote personal growth, environmental awareness, community involvement, and teamwork among people of diverse backgrounds."

The educational river trips are offered to student groups based on academic merit, public service, and fundraising activities. One such group from the Flagstaff Bordertown Dormitory for Native American youth met all of the trip prerequisites, but was unfortunately unable to raise sufficient funds. These students belonged to the Kinlani for Community extracurricular club and had completed a considerable amount of community service through the club, but were regretfully going to miss out on the once-in-a-lifetime GCY Colorado River experience. Using outreach monies from the Doris Duke Foundation and Wyss Scholars program, our graduate students were able to fund the remaining balance and support the students' river trip in May of 2011. During the trip, Fellows and Scholars partnered with visiting natural resources experts to introduce students to field data collection and environmental conservation principles. All in all, the trip proved to be a wonderful success! 

After returning from the river, the 2009 graduate student cohort and the 2011 Kinlani for Community students co-produced a short film. The film, which follows the group along their trip down the Colorado River, details some of the lessons learned and memories that participants gained during the trip. To view the film, please click this link.


Environmental Leadership Workshop with Guest Speaker Daniel Kemmis, 2010

As part of an effort to increase dialogue around the topic of environmental leadership, Doris Duke Fellows and NAU students partnered with the Coconino County Sustainable Economic Development Initiative to co-sponsor an environmental leadership workshop. The symposium titled, "Leadership - Theory into Action" served as an excellent venue for graduate students and local environmental professionals to discuss pressing environmental issues and to evaluate the role of leadership across the public, private, and non-profit sectors. 

The express objective of the symposium was to "provide insight and training on leadership for environmental professionals and graduate students, and to build networks for environmental sustainability." In order to achieve this objective, participants attended presentations, contributed to small breakout groups, and attended a keynote address by Daniel Kemmis, former mayor of Missoula, Montana, and author of several books, including "Community and the Politics of Place."

Water Braiding Conference, 2009

In 2009 Doris Duke Conservation Fellows from the Environmental Sciences and Policy program had the great pleasure of providing sponsorship for the annual Water Braiding Conference. The conference, titled, "Black Mesa Trust Braiding Through Water - Weaving Traditional and Western Sciences and Knowledge" brought together internationally acclaimed experts in the fields of art, science, and teaching, to discuss the interface of traditional knowledge and western science in the resolution of emerging environmental issues.

According to the conference proceedings, the purpose of the conference was to, "enhance knowledge, [and] give shape to a more holistic vision of individual and global responsibility for ecological well-being" as well as to demonstrate to Hopi youth and the community at large, the unique expertise and valuable lessons that Hopi peoples possess with regard to the natural environment.


Water Landscapes Conservation Series, 2008 

Anticipating the change in national leadership, and acknowledging a shift in values and political will, a group of scientists, policy experts, and students assembled at Northern Arizona University in the spring of 2008 to address key issues facing the West. The issues mentioned, namely water resources, forest management, and tribally-relevant management imperatives, were discussed in detail during the series proceedings.

In addition to co-hosting and co-sponsoring the group's premier event, the "Western Landscapes Conservation Series," Doris Duke Conservation Fellows crafted a document which offered policy recommendations for the 2008-2012 presidential administration. The final document, "Western Landscape Conservation: Policies for a Sustainable West," provides readers with a synthesis of the conference proceedings and outlines appropriate legislative strategies to resolve natural resource challenges and tribal inequities that are pervasive in the Southwest.




Perspectives on Conservation Science and Community Values, 2007

In 2007, the Doris Duke Conservation Fellows organized a public lecture series featuring renowned experts on the subjects of conservation science and community values. The three presenters, Michael Collier, Vernon Masayesva, and Alan Hamilton, each offered differing, unique perspectives on the subject matter. To learn more and access the video please click this link.