Upcoming events: Youth Day and R Short Course at Salish Kootenai College – May 3-5, 2018

The Native Waters on Arid Lands (NWAL) team is pleased to announce two events that will take place May 3-5, 2018 at Salish Kootenai College (SKC) on the Flathead reservation in western Montana. The events include:

  • May 3, 2018: Youth Day with SKC and NWAL faculty and high-school students from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT).
  • May 3-5, 2018: Short Course on R for Environmental Analysis (view flyer) focusing on environmental data and analysis on the Flathead reservation and targeted towards SKC faculty, students, and CSKT resource managers.


Event Details


Thursday, May 3, 2018 — SKC Youth Day

Organized by Meghan Collins and Virgil Dupuis

Modeled after a highly successful Youth Day held at DRI in November, 2017, the SKC Youth Day will consist of a full day of activities around the themes of landscape, environment, and sustainability. Participants will be from the EAGLES—Environmental Advocates for Global and Ecological Sustainability—a grades 10–12 student club organized by the CSKT. EAGLES students will engage with SKC faculty and NWAL scientists in activities that connect traditional values and knowledge to sustainability and resilience.

Currently scheduled sessions and session leaders include:

  • Geo-cultural landscape of the Flathead basin — walk and look around tour on SKC campus (Tony Berthelote, SKC)
  • Tree-ring records for climatology, fire history, and forest health (Rick Everett, SKC)
  • Climate Myths versus Facts (Meghan Collins, DRI)
  • The importance of values in debating carbon draw-down strategies—in-ground composting for sustainable gardens demonstration/participation (Scott Goode/Anna Eichner, DRI/Nourishing Systems)
  • Native plants and restoration — participation in a native plant restoration project on SKC’s campus (Virgil Dupuis, SKC)


Friday & Saturday, May 3–5, 2018 — Short Course in R for Environmental Analysis

Organized by Kyle Bocinsky, Tracy Bowerman, and Christine Albano

This three-day, intensive short course will focus on transferring environmental knowledge and skills to SKC faculty, students, and CSKT resource managers. Conversations with SKC staff have revealed a need for training in open-source tools for GIS and environmental analysis, and for the dissemination of knowledge about where to retrieve environmental data for their local communities, and the skills necessary to process and analyse those data. The short course will be an introduction to the R statistical language and its geospatial and geostatistical capabilities. Participants will learn how to import, manipulate, and graph tabular data in R; calculate summary statistics for those data; import spatial data including point, line, polygon and gridded data; perform basic geospatial information system actions like cropping, masking, and dissolving geometries, and calculating statistics about spatial objects; and visualizing spatial data using interactive web maps. Participants will be introduced to several publicly available environmental datasets including the USDA-NRCS SSURGO soils data; elevation, hydrography, landcover, and boundary data from the US National Map; and the NorWeST stream temperature database which is especially important for monitoring fisheries on the Flathead reservation and across Montana. Short course participants will receive a set of training scripts tailored to the Flathead reservation for analyzing these environmental data. Dr. Tracy Bowerman, professor of Wildlife and Fisheries at SKC, will co-develop the short course with NWAL team members Kyle Bocinsky and Christine Albano. Due to Dr. Bowerman’s initiative, we expect to be able to offer this short course to SKC students for college credit, and we are planning for broad participation of 20–25 people.