Our team focuses on climate solutions that are ecologically, culturally, and economically just. We search for win-wins that can help solve problems that needed to be addressed regardless of the changing climate. The Tribe is focused on climate-change mitigation and adaptation efforts that will build resiliency into the Nez Perce Lands.
Climate Change Vulnerability
Wildfire is part of healthy ecosystems, but larger, hotter fires during droughts are changing ecosystems in the Nez Perce Homelands.
Climate Change Adaptation Planning
Climate Change staff are working to prepare maps, data, and summaries to assist tribal resource managers who are already coping with the impacts of climate change.
Climate and Culturally Smart Conservation
Climate and Culturally Smart Conservation Projects are culturally focused conservation projects that honor traditional knowledge, through the study, protection, and restoration of culturally relevant ecosystems, wildlife, plants, and practices. The Restoration Toolkit for Ecological and Cultural Resilience provides a tool to include climate change and culture in wetland and riparian restoration planting design.
Camas to Condors Climate Change Adaptation Project
The Camas to Condors Climate Change Adaptation Project is a Landscape Level Conservation Project designed to increase connectivity, resilience, and resources for tribal members from the Blue Mountains to the Bitterroots.
Stefanie is the Climate Change Coordinator for the Nez Perce Tribe working to develop tools that will help planners and biologists at the Tribe apply climate science to daily planning. This work includes a Vulnerability Assessment, Adaptation Plan, Climate and Culturally Smart Restoration Toolkit, climate smart agriculture, and a landscape scale adaptation and conservation project.
Stefanie developed a love of nature growing up in the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico. She received a Master’s degree in Ecology from the University of Michigan in 2005 and traveled the world to learn first-hand about birds, wildlife, ecosystems, and people. When she is not working, she enjoys fixing up her old house and spending time outdoors with her family.
Thomas is currently a Climate Change Specialist and enrolled Tribe member. He has a B.S. in Fish & Wildlife from Salish Kootenai College and is working towards a Hydrology and Water Security Master’s degree at the University of Oklahoma. Previous to joining the Climate Change Program, he was a Fisheries Biologist and Watershed Specialist at the Tribe and served as the Chairman of the Nez Perce Tribe’s Fish and Wildlife Commission. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and attending native gatherings.
Andrea (AJ) Whiteplume (Hin-mah-toe-we-nun-my), is of the Niimiipuu, Warm Springs, Wasco, Yakama, Colville, Umatilla and Northern Arapaho Tribes. She is a full time college student attending at The Northwest Indian College in the Bachelor’s of Native Environmental Science program. While working for The Nez Perce Tribes Water Resources Department as a Wetland Tech and a member of the Climate Change adaption team. Her most important and prized work comes from caring for her four children. With her Husband she takes pride in their family by living the Niimiipuu way of life by gathering traditional foods, fishing, hunting, tanning buckskin. By doing so they are teaching their children through traditional ecological knowledge systems that have been passed down for generations.
Meadow is a descendant of the Nez Perce Tribe who grew up in the Willamette Valley of Oregon and developed a passion for environmental conservation through Corps service. She is currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the Climate Change Program assisting with climate adaptation, policy, and resilience planning efforts. One day she hopes to continue her higher education at the University of Idaho.
Eric is a Research Assistant Professor at the Univ. of Idaho that collaborates with the Tribe as a Climate Change Specialist. He started working for the Climate Change Program in 2017 and has successfully collaborated on two grants in an effort to aid the Tribe in addressing climate change and agriculture vulnerabilities and opportunities.
Amber is a former employee who made invaluable contributions to the Climate Change Program. She co-authored the vulnerability assessment, was instrumental in conducting research related to socioeconomic vulnerability measures, developed an assessment tool for cultural resources, successfully wrote grants, and built lasting relationships among the many stakeholders involved in the project.
Climate Change Education Resources
At the 2018 Idaho Environmental Education Association Conference in Lewiston, we presented information about teaching climate science for educators. The link below will be to the materials presented at that conference (coming soon!). Quality resources for teaching young children about the global climate system, how it relates to our daily weather, and our quality of life abound, but there is misinformation out. Climate change is complicated and can be confusing. We put together a resource list for teachers that provides the best information available. We hope to be able to provide quality resources for any age to learn more.
For Adults and Tribal Members the best easy resource to learn more about future projections is the Tribal Climate Change Toolkit created by the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group Tribal Climate Desk.
For young children here are just a couple of suggestions for outside resources. Of course, the best local resource is elders and community members who can tell stories about how the weather used to be like, and what the timing of events of nature used to be like. However, there are some good resources.
NPTEC Climate Change and Energy Subcommittee
In 2019, the Tribe formed a Climate Change and Energy Subcommittee under NPTEC in order to focus on mitigating the impacts of climate change on the Tribe, Tribal enterprises, and Treaty Reserved Resources. The subcommittee is currently chaired by Casey Mitchell and is working to bring sovereignty, resiliency, and sustainability in relation to energy systems, food systems, and cultural aspects of life. The committee is committed to seeking funds for meaningful projects to support Tribal priorities and tribal members dealing with climate change.
The Tribe’s Resilience Program would not be possible without the support of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal Resilience Program and the Environmental Protection Agency.
In addition, many partners, scientists and friends have helped us along the way. The University of Idaho, the UW Climate Impacts Group, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, the BIA Tribal Resilience Support, and many staff and tribal members have helped this project and have our partners. Thank you!