UA SRP Pilots Tribal Mining Modules

The University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) has been developing educational modules in collaboration with Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC). Led by UA SRP investigator Dr. Karletta Chief and director Dr. Raina Maier, a team of graduate students and UA SRP personnel have been partnering with TOCC faculty to develop and pilot modules related to mining on tribal lands. The mining module format is based on the successful Promotora transferable training module series that has been developed by the UA SRP, but modified for a unique audience. This spring, the UA SRP held a series of events to pilot test new module components at TOCC.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, the tribal mining module team developed three new themes for the series: 1) sociocultural impacts of mining; 2) mining remediation; and 3) environmental impacts of mining. The modules have been developed by graduate students Carime Koch (American Indian Studies), Kimberly Danny (Soil, Water and Environmental Science), and Shelby Rader (Geosciences). In addition, UA SRP Training Core Fellows Christopher Olivares, Juliana Gil, and Nazune Menka joined the team to fulfill their required participation in a research translation/community engagement activity.

By April 2014, draft versions of the modules were complete and ready to pilot with TOCC faculty partners. On April 16th, Kimberly Danny and Juliana Gil delivered a lecture on mining remediation lecture to Dr. Adrian Quijada’s Biology 105: Environmental Biology class. In addition to the lecture, Danny and Gil led a hands-on activity demonstrating the economics of mining, titled, “Fruit Cake Mining.” On April 22nd, Christopher Olivares and Carime Koch partnered to provide Dr. Teresa Newberry’s Chemistry 101 class with a lecture and practical demonstration on the chemistry of acid mine drainage. The TOCC students became very engaged in the hands-on activity when they witnessed the power of acids and bases using different types of candy. On April 29th, Carime Koch, supported by UA SRP Community Engagement Core Coordinator Denise Moreno Ramírez and Dr. Karletta Chief, presented the sociocultural impacts of mining lecture as well as a cultural survival activity to Dr. Quijada’s Biology 101: Biology Concepts class. Dr. Quijada’s students were not the only ones interested in this theme; additional TOCC personnel peeked in and joined the class to learn more about how mining impacts the tribal community. 

We’ll be sure to announce when the modules become available on the UA SRP website!