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Osage youth learn about Ecology during summer camp

The Osage Nation Education Department hosted a four-day Ecology Summer Camp the week of May 23-26.

Various Osage Nation departments partnered to give the students a unique experience on the Bluestem Ranch. The Education Department, Environmental and Natural Resources Department, the Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center, the Osage Nation Historic Preservation Office and the AmeriCorp staff all pitched in to create a two-day curriculum that taught youth about the ecology on the ranch.

Students from Hominy, Skiatook, Prue, Avant, Anderson, Barnsdall, Pawhuska, McCord, Osage Hills, Bowring, Wynona, Shidler and Fairfax attended the camp.

During the camp the students learned to build an Osage lodge with the help of the Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center staff John HorseChief, Sammy Lookout and Herman Sleeper, as well as Preservation’s Kilan Jacobs. The students were taught about what an Osage lodge was and then worked as a team to construct the sides with limbs and sinew.

“My favorite part was wrapping the Buffalo Sinew around the poles at the lodge,” said student Ella Wallace.

The students went on a nature walk with ENR’s Craig Walker and Cameron Chesbro, where they got to explore and look for tracks, berries, search for bones and enjoy the beauty around them. They found a buffalo skull and a few other skulls and bones as well as bug traps.

“My favorite part was looking in the owl pellets for bones. It was fun,” said Nathan Dreadfulwater.

Owl pellets are regurgitated food from owls and contain bones from the animals that the owl has eaten but not able to digest. The kids found jaws and bones from field mice, pocket gophers, shrews and birds, as well as rats and moles. The kids were given baggies so they could take their findings home to show their parents.

Day two of the camps were at Bird Creek Farm where the youth went on a tour and one-meter plot identification and mussel drawing activities. The group on Friday’s trip got to plant milkweed for the Monarch Butterfly project and see the new hive of bees that arrived at Bird Creek Farms. They also visited the Nation’s Aquaponics operation and held catfish.


Tara Madden

Original Publish Date: 2017-06-12 00:00:00


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