As the students finished packing up at Heritage University they look ahead to their two week course called "People of the Big River."
"It's a field class opportunity to go around the Northwest to the Columbia Plateau tribes and talk with them about what kind of environmental issues, natural resource issues they're having and how they are addressing them," said Cialita Keys who is going on the trip for her second time.
For the college students, the trip is a requirement for the environmental science and studies degree program. The younger students get an early chance to look at a potential area they may want to study in college.
Once they are out on the trail they will be fully submersed in the area they are researching.
"Its the real experience sometimes you have to do a research project and you're out in the field for days you live out there you do the best you can to shower out there, you get along without the amenities of internet but we'll keep track of our blogs on word and copy and paste them in," said Keys
Blogs are requirements during this course so that the students can easily track their findings and post them to the web. This isn't one big camping trip--at each location the students will be completing certain research projects to help the different tribes they travel to.
Michael Pierre is experiencing the trip for the first time. He is from Toppenish and tells me he doesn't get a chance to leave town often.
"For starters..I get to travel--through the region basically so that alone sounds exciting," said Pierre
The goal of the trip is to go beyond the research and allow the students to network with professionals and have the younger high schoolers learn from the college students. Michael hopes others will soon take advantage of opportunities like this one
"If you got stuff that you're interested in- go for it- cause you only got one life and you dont want to hold yourself back, grow old and be regretful."
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