In the summer of 2015, I visited the Arlee Celebration where spectrUM at the University of Montana had a science learning tent. It was one of the defining moments of my Science Festival Alliance career and gave me a new perspective on what it means to have impact in a community. I blogged about it and even talked about it on Montana Public Radio, and now I’m extremely excited to share with you the first spotlight where we talk to Holly Truitt who’s been working alongside the group SciNation to bring this tent and other activities like it to tribal communities in rural Montana.
What was important to me when talking to Holly was capturing not only the experience of being at the celebration, but also what it means to carefully build meaningful relationships with a community. One thing that has always stuck with me about the relationship between spectrUM, SciNation, and the local Native American tribes is the level of mutual respect they have for one another, and that this wasn’t something that was created overnight. When they set out to work together, it was with purpose and each stakeholder was willing to put the work in to make it not just a one-off experiment, but to generate a lasting bond.
The results are incredible, so here’s a small taste of that with a promise of more to come.