Tribal ecoAmbassadors
   2011-2012 program
EPA and Tribal Colleges and Universities work together

to solve environmental problems in tribal communities.
              United States
              Environmental Protection

Front cover: TMCC ecoAmbassador student interns Ethan Martell and Roxanne Allery collecting water
samples at outdoor water spigot. Photo courtesy of TMCC.

                                         Message from EPA Leadership
Tribal ecoWVmbassadors
Environmental protection includes and affects everyone. With that in mind, the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks to strengthen partnerships with
local communities to implement innovative solutions to today's most pressing
environmental issues. Agency priorities under EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson
include cleaning up communities, strengthening state and tribal partnerships,
and elevating the national discourse on environmental issues. The agency is also
interested in reaching out to communities—in particular, tribal communities—that
have been disproportionately affected  by environmental health issues.

In the United States, tribal governments deal with vast unmet needs. According to
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Indian Health Service, about
one percent of Americans lack wastewater treatment services in their communities.
Among American Indians, that number is 13 percent. To address such great
environmental needs, EPA is now strengthening its partnership with the 37 Tribal
Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in the  United States, in addition to its strengthening
of partnerships with tribal governments.

TCUs serve as centers of knowledge and educational excellence; they also serve as
community centers and preserve tribal culture and Indigenous knowledge. TCUs
act as cornerstones for many American Indian and Alaskan Native communities.
Recognizing the importance of TCUs—and heeding President Barack Obama's 2011
Executive Order to better collaborate with tribal educational institutions—EPA  has
implemented the Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program.

The Tribal ecoAmbassador Program supports research in partnership with Tribal
Colleges and Universities. One or more TCU professors are selected to serve as project
ecoAmbassador, leading project staff and students in the use of funding and technical
support from EPA to solve environmental problems most important to their tribal
governments and communities.

As the inaugural year of EPA's Tribal ecoAmbassador Program comes to a close, this
report highlights the progress, successes, and challenges encountered by each  of the
eight Tribal ecoAmbassadors.

                           TOCC ecoAmbassador student intern sifting glass. Photo courtesy of TOCC.
          Table of Contents

          5   Collaboration with AIM EC            21  Little Big Horn College

          6   Partnerships                       23  United Tribes Technical College

          7   Tohono O'odham Community College  25  Cankdeska Cikana Community College

         10  Dine College                       27  Fort Berthold Community College

         14  Fort Peck Community College        29  Plans Moving Forward

         18  Turtle Mountain Community College   30  References
         "This group of Ambassadors represents an effective partnership where the
         tribal community can direct EPA resources to the most pressing environmental
         problems they face to develop solutions."
                                                   —Michelle DePass, EPA Assistant Administrator

                                                    Collaboration with AIHEC

  Founded in 1972 by the presidents of the nation's first six tribal colleges, the American
  Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) serves its network of member institutions
  through public policy, advocacy, research, and program initiatives to ensure strong
  tribal sovereignty through excellence in American Indian higher education.

  Through AIHEC, Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) have nurtured a common
  vision and united as a national movement. Today, AIHEC represents 37 colleges in the
  United States and one in Canada. AIHEC is celebrating 40 years as the collective spirit
  and unifying voice of the nation's TCUs. AIHEC also provides leadership and influences
  public policy  on American Indian higher education issues through advocacy, research,
  and program initiatives; promotes and strengthens Indigenous languages, cultures,
  communities, and tribal nations; and through its unique position, serves member
  institutions and emerging TCUs.

  Recognizing AlHEC's unique relationship and commitment to the 37 TCUs and the
  important role TCUs play within their communities, EPA has partnered with AIHEC to
  pilot the Tribal ecoAmbassador Program.

  AIHEC assisted EPA in disseminating the Tribal ecoAmbassador call for applications
  to all 37 TCUs. Applications were accepted and reviewed by a selection committee at
  EPA comprised of agency tribal program managers and  scientists. EPA selected the
  inaugural eight Tribal ecoAmbassador projects and identified TCU faculty members
  to serve as the project ecoAmbassadors, guiding staff and students in their individual
  research projects. The Tribal ecoAmbassadors at each TCU  received a financial
  award and technical assistance for a year-long initiative directed toward a pressing
  environmental issue.

  Throughout the inaugural year, AIHEC staff worked directly with the TCUs to promote
  and disseminate information about the program, respond to inquiries, provide
  project support, and  highlight the significant strides that each  of the eight Tribal
  ecoAmbassdor projects made in tribal environmental research.

  The Tribal ecoAmbassador program reached out to faculty  at TCUs, awarding financial
  and technical assistance to Tribal ecoAmbassadors for a year-long initiative directed
  toward a pressing environmental issue. Together AIHEC and the EPA aim to provide
  ongoing project support, promote environmental education, and find solutions to
  environmental problems in tribal communities.

            TCU ecoAmbassadors and EPA Scientists
            "Strengthening Tribal partnerships
            is one of my top priorities." ~ EPA
            Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
                                                   Tribal ecoAmbassador group at the 2012 Summer
                                                    Tribal Science Council Meeting.Photo courtesy of
To further strengthen the TCU-EPA
partnership and promote knowledge-
sharing, each Tribal ecoAmbassador
partnered with an EPA scientist. The
partnerships supported the projects
and fostered further collaboration
with other EPA scientists, as well as with employees of other federal agencies. Each
Tribal ecoAmbassador produced quarterly check-ins and reports and completed final
presentations to EPA's Tribal Science Council, which includes EPA and tribal science

Throughout the inaugural year, eight Tribal ecoAmbassador projects engaged with
more than 60  students, many of whom have presented or plan to present project
results to their communities. Two online courses were developed, and many of
the Tribal ecoAmbassador projects can be developed for or transferred to other
tribal communities. Each of the eight projects has had positive impacts within their
respective tribal colleges and communities.

In addition to  the strengthened partnership between EPA and the eight participating
TCUs, the pilot year of the Tribal ecoAmbassadors program initiated several new
partnerships,  including with other federal agencies, NGOs, tribal governments, and
mainstream universities. Turtle Mountain Community College, for example, received
technical assistance for its water monitoring project from the Centers from Disease
Control and Prevention.  Dine College upgraded air quality monitoring equipment with
assistance from the University of Colorado - Boulder. And various research institutes
and scientific journals sponsored and published work from Fort Peck Community

                  Tohono O'odham Community College Summary
Tohono O'odham Community College (TOCC), Sells,
AZ ecoAmbassador—Dr. David Stone
                TOCC ecoAmbassador student intern Richard Pablo operating the glass crusher.
                                                     Photo courtesy of TOCC.
Dr. David Stone and two Tohono O'odham Community College students
worked to find a solution to the challenges of having too much waste,
too little building material, and a housing and job shortage. The Tohono
O'odham Nation's Solid Waste Facility transports 500 tons of waste each
month 65 miles to Tucson, and of this, approximately 50 tons is glass,
primarily bottles. By using this glass, along with other scrap metals,
they created a carbon-negative building product based on traditional
building materials.

Hoping to resolve the challenge of too much waste and too little building material,
the Tribal ecoAmbassador project at Tohono O'odham Community College (TOCC)
proposed taking a positive and holistic approach to seemingly separate environmental
issues by focusing on the central principle of materials management. TOCC was guided
in its effort by EPA's "2020 Vision" which promotes sustainable materials management
through a life cycle assessment of the entire material flow process, from raw materials
acquisition to the disposal of used products.

The Tohono O'odham Nation's Solid Waste Facility, in the center of the Tohono
O'odham Reservation, collects roughly 500 tons of waste each month, which must be
trucked 65 miles to a landfill south of Tucson, AZ. About 50 tons of the monthly waste
consist of glass, primarily glass bottles. TOCC envisions initiating a recycling program
that does more than just collect this glass waste, but instead uses the waste in a new
and permanent form as building materials.

The Tohono O'odham Nation also faces a chronic housing shortage that is aggravated
by the expense of transporting all building materials to the reservation. The nation's
vast land holdings include sand and gravel yards that are inactive, though not depleted,
and TOCC was once advised to construct a small cement plant. But traditional cement
manufacturing is energy-intensive, uses large amounts of fossil fuels, generates pollution,
and produces one ton of carbon dioxide for every ton of cement. Instead of following that
route, TOCC is pioneering alternative solutions.

         Pavers and blocks developed through Green Building Materials course. Photo courtesy of TOCC.
Dr. David Stone, TOCC Tribal ecoAmbassador, initiated a project to produce sustainable
building materials using glass waste from the Tohono O'odham Reservation. The building
materials consist of glass waste and steel particulates (also waste). Bound together, they
form a cement of iron minerals that aggregates into a solid mass. The hardening agent
used in Stone's product is carbon dioxide gas, which reacts with the iron and forms an
iron carbonate mineral. The final product traps a portion of the greenhouse gas making
it "carbon negative." TOCC is working to develop these building materials in a sustainable
and responsible manner.

Through the Tribal ecoAmbassador project, TOCC experimented with the most effective
formulas for iron-augmented adobe blocks, pavers, and other construction materials.
Then with partners at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, the tribal
college tested the different formulas for compressive strength, stability, weather
resistance, and other qualities.

As part of the project, Stone and his students collected glass waste found scattered across
the reservation. Initially they crushed bottles by hand to a consistency suitable for use
in the building material composite. Through the Tribal ecoAmbassador project, TOCC
was able to purchase a glass-pulverizing machine that can reduce more bottles to cullet
(glass aggregate) in one hour than student participants could crush by hand in an entire
day. The project also inspired collaborations with other organizations across the Tohono
O'odham Nation. The Solid Waste Department placed recycling bins for glass around the

community and the Tohono O'odham Environmental Protection Office and the Public Safely
Police Department have coordinated clean-ups with Stone and his students. All of these
cleanup efforts have helped foster community involvement.

As a part of the TOCC Tribal ecoAmbassador project, Stone also developed and taught a
green building materials course.

Six students enrolled in the initial course and four student interns worked on the project.
Stone used scientific concepts and principles to teach students about building material
types, material characteristics and testing, building material functions, balancing costs and
functions,  life cycle assessments, leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED),
and sustainability. Using classroom lessons and hands-on experiences (including collecting
waste, crushing bottles, and experimenting with various materials and binding processes),
Stone and  his students created a single bench made entirely of the glass/iron composite
that enhances the TOCC campus and demonstrates the durability and functionality of the
building material.

Faculty members at TOCC incorporate himdag (culture) into all courses offered through the
college, and the green  building materials course naturally aligned with many traditional
teachings and practices. "For  a model of how to build on a large scale, we found our way
back to the ancient masters of desert architecture, the Hohokam ("those who are gone"),
the progenitors of the Tohono O'odham," says Stone. "The excavated ruins of their villages
at Snaketown and Casa Grande National Monument reveal that they too had expertly
practiced the same essential principles of optimal building in an arid environment just like
the Anasazi, the Mogollon, and the other ancestral desert peoples."

The TOCC Tribal ecoAmbassador project produced a sustainable material and explored
traditional architecture. While collecting and recycling glass—which consisted primarily
of empty alcohol bottles—project participants also confronted historical trauma and the
presence of alcohol abuse within the Tohono O'odham Nation. "/ remember the first day
that we went out picking glass bottles, there was so much just in one area that it
took a few days just  to clear it up," says Richard  Pablo, a TOCC Tribal  ecoAmbassador
student. "While  we picked up glass bottles, all kinds of thoughts started to develop
in my mind." For Pablo, collecting glass has had so  much more meaning.

The TOCC Tribal ecoAmbassador project is still in its early stages. As community groups
continue working in alliance with one another, project participants at TOCC hope glass
recycling will become routine on the reservation. Participants also hope their recycling
project will grow into a self-sustaining economic venture across the Tohono O'odham
Nation and also play an important role in alleviating several of the Tohono O'odham
Nation's serious problems, including unemployment, housing shortages, recycling and
waste disposal challenges, and the need for science education and technical training.
Beyond that, the  TOCC Tribal  ecoAmbassador project participants envision the revival of
an ancient desert architecture—an architecture that will be critical to the survival of the
desert people as the climate becomes warmer and drier in the decades to come.

Dine College Summary
           Dine College (DC), Tsaile, AZ
           ecoAmbassador—Dr. Mark Bauer
                        Portable air quality monitoring equipment, m-pod (interal view). Photo courtesy of DC.
           Air Quality
           Dr. Mark Bauer designed a program requiring students to wear personal
           air monitors over the course of several weeks to record levels of air
           pollutants in their immediate environment. By presenting their findings
           to family and friends, students will strengthen community education
           and improve community health. The project empowers students and
           local residents to monitor their community's air quality and public

           Dine College's Dine Environmental Institute (DEI) in Shiprock, NM, developed a Tribal
           ecoAmbassador project using portable air quality monitoring equipment, called
           "m-Pods," designed and provided by mechanical engineers from the University of
           Colorado - Boulder with design input from the National Center for Atmospheric
           Research (NCAR).

           Two large coal-fired power plants are located within 20 miles of Shiprock, NM, as
           are thousands of natural gas wells, each with a diesel engine. During the winter, air
           pollution is highly visible because thermal inversions trap particulate matter  and
           smog near the ground. The poor air quality is further exacerbated by the use of wood
           and coal stoves in residential homes (Bunnell, Garcia, Furst, Lerch, Olea, Suitt, Kolker,

Despite the community's rural setting, the rates of asthma and pulmonary diseases are
comparable to those found in highly populated urban areas. In fact, Shiprock Indian
Health Service Center sees five times the number of children with upper respiratory
health problems than other Indian Health Service Centers on the Navajo Nation.

Dr. Mark Bauer, Dine College Tribal ecoAmbassador, led project staff members Perry
Charley and Joni Nofchissey and several cohorts of students in the collection and analysis
of air quality samples using m-Pods.

In summer 2011, the initial student interns
traveled to University of Colorado - Boulder
for m-Pods training. The one-week workshop
included instruction on air sampling techniques
and sampling instrumentation for two projects

The first project consisted of a study of current,
regional-scale carbon dioxide fluxes in complex
terrain—specifically the Rocky Mountain West,
the southwestern United States (Navajo Nation),
and Kenya, Africa. In cooperation with Dine       intern wearing an mpod"
College and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, a   Photo COUretsy of Dine College
carbon dioxide analyzer was situated  on Roof
Butte in the Red Valley community of the Navajo Nation.

The University of Colorado workshop also enhanced the second project, the Tribal
ecoAmbassador project, by training students to effectively collect regional data  and
analyze the data to determine local and regional air quality in the Shiprock area.

During the 2012 spring semester, a third group of students received training on
collecting  baseline air quality data with the m-Pods and used logs to document
supporting qualitative data. The data  was uploaded daily  into NCAR's website using
Android smartphones.

Student interns from the spring semester presented their project goals and preliminary
results to community members and other environmental  organizations at the 2012
Nahasdzaan Nihima Baahaanfzin Green Awareness Day at Dine College - Shiprock North
Campus sponsored by Navajo Green Jobs.

Finally, six summer DEI interns received training in "Air Quality Detective Work"  and
m-Pod use from the University of Colorado team. Two of the students developed a
preliminary sampling protocol that will decrease variability in sampling conditions. An
additional intern gave a presentation  entitled "Air Quality: Contributors to Unhealthy Air
Quality on the Navajo Reservation" in Shiprock, NM, and Cove, AZ.

During the course of the project, students collected data concerning nitrogen dioxide


          (N02) levels in homes on Navajo Nation.
          Nitrogen dioxide (N02) is produced when natural gas or other fuels undergo incomplete
          combustion. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) 2011
          Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality, the recommended level of N02 over a period of 24
          hours should not exceed 0.05 ppm. Each of the three residences tested exceeded the
          recommended healthy levels of 0.05 ppm for the entire three hours sampled.

          Further testing showed high levels of carbon dioxide (C02) in homes. High C02 readings
          may indicate elevated levels of other pollutants or indicate a structure is not well-
          ventilated. According to the IDPH Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality, the recommended
          range of C02 concentration indoors is 600-1000 ppm.  In one of the three homes, the
                         CO2 Measurements for March 26,2D12 12:00-3:00 AM


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          readings were more than five times the maximum recommended healthy range set by

          The Dine College Tribal ecoAmbassador project faced delays due to the short battery
          life of the m-Pods and other minor project inhibitors such as an intermittent wireless
          connection to upload data.  But the project's preliminary results allowed researchers
          to identify which areas in the Shiprock region of the Navajo Nation require additional
          monitoring using state-of-the-art equipment.

          By testing the use of m-Pods, program participants are assisting the m-Pod design
          team at the University of Colorado - Boulder in identifying issues to address before the
          technology can be more widely used.

          Bauer and the Dine Environmental Institute will continue this project by offering student

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interns additional opportunities for further training with the University of Colorado and
NCAR. They will continue training students in data consistency and quality and digitizing
files—and complete the project report for community use. The Institute will also design
a lab course that explores air quality using the m-Pod technology.

As students continue analyzing data and sharing its implications with the community,
the Dine College Tribal ecoAmbassador project will give Dine community members in
the Shiprock area a better understanding and awareness of air quality issues. The project
participants provided insight to the developers of the m-Pod technology on how to
improve the air quality  monitors—and stressed  the importance of exploring alternative
heating sources (such as solar, wind, and biomass) to improve residential air quality.
                Dine student analyzing air quality data logged by an mpod device.

Fort Peck Community College Summary
           Fort Peck Community College (FPCC), Poplar, MT
           ecoAmbassadors—Renee Dufault and Zara Berg
                                      Tribal Science Council meeting speaker John Crawford (FPCC).
                                                     Photo courtesy of Erica Newland, AIHEC.
           The Fort Peck Community College Tribal ecoAmbassador project
           resulted in a transferable online course focused on the impacts mercury
           and other toxics have on human health. Toxics exposure in tribal
           communities tends to be very high because of high fish consumption
           rates and the presence of local contaminated sites.

           Fort Peck Community College (FPCC) developed a Tribal ecoAmbassador project to
           determine if an online macroepigentics course might serve as an effective intervention
           tool in reducing student risk of insulin resistance, a risk factor for developing Type-2

           Macroepigenetics is an analytical approach to understanding how environmental and
           dietary factors interact to regulate genes that protect health or make an individual
           more susceptible to disease.

           FPCC ecoAmbassadors Renee Dufault and Zara Berg modified the Food Ingredient
           and Health Research Institute's introductory Macroepigenetics Nutrition Course
           and created an online course for FPCC students, titled Nutrition 270, Applied
           Macroepigenetics. Nutrition 270 is offered through the Food Ingredient and Health
           Research Institute website, and is the first online class offered at FPCC. Eleven tribal
           college students successfully completed the course.

During the course, students learned the role environmental factors, such as food, play in
regulating genes that protect health or lead to disease. To measure changes in student
knowledge about how toxic substances in the food supply impact gene regulation, diet,
and health status, the FPCC Tribal ecoAmbassador project administered online surveys
before and after the completion of Nutrition 270.

The survey results indicate that the class improved the students' knowledge of toxic
substances in the food supply and that students also made significant dietary changes—
these changes resulted in a reduction in the mean waist-to-hip ratio by the end of the
course period.

That the FPCC Tribal ecoAmbassador project observed a reduction in the mean waist-to-
hip ratio by the end of the course suggests that the online delivery of macroepigenetics
nutrition education may be a viable method for delivery of structured diabetes
prevention programs. The online survey included questions designed to determine  if
student knowledge of toxins in food ingredients and the food supply  increased over the
period of the course. The pre- and post-survey results indicate that students significantly
increased their knowledge of toxins in food ingredients and the food  supply.
                                                                Pre       Post
                                                              Course    Course
 Percentage of students who were able to correctly identify salt compounds
 that add to their risk of developing hypertension
 Percentage of students who were able to correctly identify which toxic
 elements may be found in some common food color additives
 Percentage of students who were able to correctly identify a food ingredient
 related to the development of both autism and ADHD
 The percentage of students who were able to correctly identify sources of
 mercury in the American diet
The pre- and post-survey results also indicate that students changed their diets by
the end of the intervention course. Specifically, more students said they avoided
consumption of harmful food ingredients associated with the development of heart
disease and insulin resistance, and more students said they were eating foods known
to improve health. For example, students increased their fish consumption in an effort
to increase their omega-3 fatty acid intake. They also reduced their sugar and fructose
intake by reducing consumption of sweet snacks and sweetened beverages. They
decreased their intake of salty snacks, reduced their consumption of red meat, and
increased their consumption of fresh vegetables.

           Students reporting that they never eat freshly caught fish

           Students reporting that they eat canned salmon once a week
           Students reporting that they drink sugar sweetened beverages [not diet]
           such as Coke, Pepsi, Kool Aid, Hi-C, Fruit Punch, Gatorade several times a
           Students reporting that they eat "sweet snacks' such as candy, cookies,
           popsicle [not diet] several times a week decreased from






          "This class has definitely changed my diet for sure. I think I am way
          healthier now than I was back then. I actually feel better with the choices I
          have made and the changes as well" explained one of the students.

          "As for my family, some of them went on the wagon with me—my younger sister is a
          health nut now! There are a few family members that didn't quite go into it. We have
          no MFCS [high-fructose corn syrup] ketchup in our house now, along with a few other

          Overall, the FPCC Tribal
          ecoAmbassador project assessment
          survey was a successful tool in
          determining student achievement
          based on the course standards.

          Waist-to-hip, height, and weight
          measurements were also taken
          for each student before and after
          the course. This data indicates
          there was a small decrease in the
          mean waist-to-hip ratio among
          the students. The World Health
          Organization considers a waist-
          to-hip ratio above 0.90 for males and above 0.85 for females to indicate risk for the
          development of diabetes and heart disease (World Health Organization, 2008). A mean
          decrease in  waist-to-hip ratio from 0.92 to 0.90 occurred during the course. Should
          students continue their dietary changes, their waist-to-hip ratios may decline further
          as their health status continues to improve. "I have learned more than I expected. The
          knowledge in the new area of macroepigentics has put me on  a course to little or no
Pre Waist-Hip
Ratio (WHR)
Post Waist-Hip
Ratio (WHR)

MFCS, and reading labels for salt, and sodium in my diet," said another student. "It has
also helped me look at what is incorporated into my diet in a critical eye,
and to start to ask the difficult questions."

Nutrition 270, Applied Macroepigenetics is the first course to be offered on the topic of
macroepigenetics nutrition at FPCC. While enrolled in the online course, students used
their research skills to mine and interpret data and then discussed their findings with
their classmates.

Employing macroepigenetics to look at gene-environment interactions is a new
approach—and one only recently published by ecoAmbassador Renee Dufault and  her
colleagues (Dufault, Lukiw, Crider,  Schnoll, Wallinga, & Deth, 2012).

The FPCC course contributed greatly to the body of knowledge in the epigenetics
field. The FPCC Tribal ecoAmbassador project demonstrated that the concepts of
macroepigenetics can be taught within a nutrition course and can also lead to dietary
changes among  students that may improve their health.

The project had  a positive impact on students. It provided them with opportunities to
conduct their own research and to correctly interpret their findings and apply what they
learned about nutrition to their own lives.

Tribal ecoAmbassador Renee Dufault continues her work in the field of macroepigenetics
and is building community awareness around this emerging field. "Nutrition education
needs to include information on food toxins and how they create conditions for
the development of disease," she says. "Students want to understand why certain
food ingredients are harmful. Nutrition education provided in the context of gene-
environment interactions gives the reasons why."

Dufault was recently invited to serve as the keynote speaker at the 2013 Learning
Disabilities Association of America forum. She will discuss how toxic  exposures, nutrition,
and genes interact to affect brain development. Both Dufault and Berg intend to follow
this project with a more in-depth study focused on correlating environmental toxins and
student biomarkers.

Turtle Mountain Community College Summary
           Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC), Belcourt,
           ND ecoAmbassador—Dr. Deborah Hunter
               TMCC ecoAmbassador student interns Roxanne Allery and Ethan Martell collecting water samples.
                                                                Photo courtesy of TOCC.
           The Turtle Mountain Community College Tribal ecoAmbassador project
           tested the water quality of private wells on and surrounding the Turtle
           Mountain Reservation, and helped to educate the community on the
           need for such water quality testing.

           Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC) developed a Tribal ecoAmbassador
           project to investigate the quality of drinking water from private wells in and around
           Turtle Mountain tribal lands.

           There are currently more than 100 private wells in use throughout this area. Although
           the EPA has established guidelines to regulate the quality of drinking water from
           public water facilities, drinking water from private wells is not regulated under federal,
           state, or tribal laws.

           The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has conducted water quality testing
           from  test wells within two aquifers: the Shell Valley aquifer, which is now the primary
           source of rural drinking water for the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, and the Fox
           Hills aquifer system, which underlies all but the eastern townships in Rolette County
           and includes the Turtle Mountain Reservation and surrounding lands. The results of

the Fox Hill aquifer testing indicated the water was of poor drinking water quality and
the USGS recommended the Shell Valley Aquifer be used to supply rural drinking water
to the reservation (Strobel, 1997, Randich & Kuznlar, 1984).

The water quality of the drinking water from many of the private wells in the area has
not been tested since the wells were first constructed, or has been tested infrequently.
              TMCC ecoAmbassador student interns Ethan Ethan Martell and Roxanne Allery in the lab.
                                                             Photos courtesy of TMCC.
Now, the TMCC Tribal ecoAmbassador project is testing a selection of private wells and
sharing the results with the EPA and community members.

The Turtle Mountain Reservation is located in Rolette County, ND. In 2012, Rolette
County ranked 44 out of 46 in health outcomes in the state of North Dakota (University
of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, 2012). According to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, the presence of contaminants in water can lead to health issues,
including gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). Although it is currently unknown
how poor quality drinking water contributes to the poor quality of health and high
mortality rates among tribal members, the TMCC Tribal ecoAmbassador project has
investigated the status of water quality on and around the Turtle Mountain Reservation.
Additionally, the project results are helping educate community members on the
importance of water quality, and these results will be available as a resource for future
researchers investigating water quality and community health.

Under the direction of Dr. Deborah Hunter, TMCC Tribal ecoAmbassador, and Ms. Audrey
LaVallie, participating students identified, collected, and tested  water from more than 40
privately-owned wells on the Turtle Mountain Reservation and adjacent tribal lands.

          "My experience with the ecoAmbassador project has not only been educational
          but a good experience within our community. I have found that people are willing
          to participate in our project willingly and with good faith/' says Roxanne Allery, a
          TMCC ecoAmbassador student intern. "A simple phone call, a short explanation, and a
          friendly gesture were the only requirements needed for their cooperation. The Tribal
          ecoAmbassador project not only opened the door for me in regards to career choices
          but has also given me a newfound respect for my community."

          Students collected the well water samples and tested for pH, conductivity, biological
          oxygen demand, nitrates, nitrites, total chlorine, total organic chemicals, fluorine, iron,
          lead, hardness (calcium), orthophosphates, aluminum, turbidity, and coliforms. In
          addition, students used an atomic absorption spectrophotometer to test water samples
          for lead, sodium, cadmium, silver, iron, and nickel, and other metals. Fifteen of the 40
          water samples are also being tested for organic contaminates using a gas chromatograph
          mass spectrophotometer equipped to test for thousands of different chemicals.

          The TMCC results  indicate many of the wells have higher sodium concentrations and
          higher iron levels than recommended by the EPA.

          The TMCC Tribal ecoAmbassador project has had a  positive effect on the local
          community. Not only have project participants tested drinking water wells in the
          community, they have also educated community members about the need for water
          quality testing. Two of Dr. Hunter's students designed a brochure that explained the
          collection and testing process and the need for drinking well tests across the reservation.

          In addition, all student participants gained valuable research experience. "The students
          have developed good lab note-taking skills, have gained confidence and interest in
          learning new scientific methods to determine chemicals present in the water samples,
          and actually enjoy analyzing and comparing the data  results," says Hunter. "The
          students are proud of their work and it shows. It makes me proud to be a
          part of the students' research experience."

                                        Little Big Horn College Summary
Little Big Horn College (LBHC), Crow Agency,
   LBHC ecoAmbassador research student Thane Gray is preparing equipment to record physical water
                        quality parameters of the Little Big Horn River. Photo courtesy of LBHC.
The Little Big Horn College Tribal ecoAmbassador project tested sites
along the Little Big Horn River to assess the water quality of the river
which is used for many purposes. Final results of the water quality
testing will be shared and discussed within the local community.

Little Big Horn College (LBHC) developed a Tribal ecoAmbassador project to assess
the water quality of the Little Big Horn River system on the Crow Reservation.
Impairment of drinking water sources and recreational waters is a great concern to
the community. Microbial contaminants in area waters come from both point and
nonpoint sources.

The Little Big Horn River is used for recreation, drinking water, and ceremonial
purposes. The quality of its waters, therefore, impacts community health and is also
culturally significant to the Crow tribe.

Under the direction of Sara Plaggemeyer, LBHC Tribal ecoAmbassador, students
enrolled in the Field Water Quality Laboratory course conducted a water quality
monitoring research initiative aimed at identifying pollutants and sources of pollution.
Though the course's field laboratory experience, students learned about the
hydrological cycle, water chemistry, water quality parameters, ecological impacts, and
societal impacts. The project monitored sites on the Little Big Horn River to identify

          nonpoint sources of coliform that are seriously impacting water quality in the lower
          stretch of the river. Previous water quality monitoring of the Little Big Horn River has
          shown significantly higher fecal coliform and E. co//counts in the lower area of the river
          during the summer months; at times, E. coli levels exceed those recommended by EPA
          for safe recreational use.

          Trisheena Kills Pretty Enemy,  a student working on the LBHC Tribal ecoAmbassaor
          project, understands the community impact this project will have. "I think that it will
          make a good impact for the community," she says. "/ come from a traditional
          family and the river plays a big part in our everyday lives. We use the water
          for the sweat lodge, the sundance, and peyote meeting."

          Four previously-monitored sites were selected for updated water quality data, as
          were five newly-established sites identified during the project. Sites were monitored
          for both  physical and biological parameters, including dissolved oxygen, conductivity,
          pH, coliform enumerations, and E. coli enumerations. A specialized probe measured
          all these parameters simultaneously. In addition, water samples from each site were
          processed in the LBHC laboratory for turbidity, total suspended solids, coliform, and E.
          coli enumerations. The bacterial tests of each water sample were conducted by student

          Five student participants received microbial and  molecular training. Each week, students
          collected and processed the physical parameters and biological parameters of the
          river, and are working on the analysis of data and the distribution of the results to the
          community.  Water quality is a very big issue here in my community so I do
          enjoy learning about it and knowing what's going on/' says Melarie Pretty
          Paint,  a student participant.

          Participants in the LBHC Tribal ecoAmbassador project continue to collect and analyze
          water  quality testing results. Tribal ecoAmbassador, Sara Plaggemeyer explains that
          preliminary results show that the E. coli enumerations exceed the EPA standard for
          recreational waters on the  lower reaches of the river.

          "We are  still in the process of collecting samples, and will be utilizing those results
          to get  a final assessment of the water quality of the river during this summer," Says

          "Once the final assessment is done, the results will be presented to the community
          through student presentations at a community- based environmental steering
          committee meeting, to students in the community through a curriculum developed
          around the work done this summer, and through Little Big Horn College."

                           United Tribes Technical College Summary
United Tribes Technical College (UTTC), Bismarck,  ND
ecoAmbassador—Dr. Jennifer Janecek-Hartman
     UTTC student Deleft Siegfried (left) and Jamie White Mountain of the UTTC Housing Department.
                                                       Photo courtesy of UTTC.
The United Tribes Technical College Tribal ecoAmbassador project
provided energy efficiency updates and energy efficient appliances to
students in married or family housing at UTTC. The project continues
to educate students on how to reduce their carbon footprints by
"greening" up and reducing their energy use.

The United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) Tribal ecoAmbassador project is based
upon a successful pilot project that helps students in married or family housing at
UTTC reduce their carbon footprints by "greening up" and reducing their energy use.

Under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Janecek Hartman, UTTC Tribal ecoAmbassador, the
program has selected six houses to be retrofitted with appliances and other "green"
or sustainable items to help reduce their overall carbon footprints. Students selected
for this project are competing against one another to "Green Fit" their homes.
Initially, student participants were given the opportunity to choose from a list of
energy-saving options to apply to their home ranging from the installation of Energy
Star appliances to insulating crawl spaces.

In addition to the selected housing upgrades, students will participate in four
workshops designed to help them reduce their carbon footprints. Students will
learn about energy-saving tactics such as installing low-flow shower heads, lowering
the thermostat when  not at home, and switching from incandescent light bulbs to

          fluorescent bulbs. "We are so excited that the Tribal ecoAmbassador project allowed us
          to expand our Green Fitting project." Says Dr. Jennifer Janecek-Hartman.
          "Reducing the carbon footprint of our campus is so important and allows
          us to set a good example in the community of Bismarck. We hope the
          students continue when they leave our campus as well/1
           Installation of upgraded and energy efficient appliances in UTTC student housing. Photo courtesy of UTTC.
          UTTC will monitor the utility use and expense for each home over a three-month period.
          That data will be aggregated based upon a percentage of change as the home and
          family size varies. The winner of the competition will have demonstrated the largest
          overall energy savings. The UTTC Tribal ecoAmbassador project demonstrates how easy
          everyday changes within the home can significantly reduce a family's carbon footprint.
                                       Tenant Choices for House
                               (choices need to add up to $1,900 or less)
                                    Modification Choices
                       Insulate Attic
                       H2O Saving Clothes Washer
                       Energy Efficient Lights
                       Sealing Windows (plastic over interior windows)
                       Toilet Change-out (water efficient)
                       Insulate Crawl Space and Pipes

                Cankdeska Cikana Community College Summary
Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC), Fort Totten,
ND ecoAmbassadors—Rachel Brazil, Heather Ibsen
           CCCC student Leslie Guy estimating plastic water bottle waste. Photo courtesy of CCCC.
a Campus
The Cankdeska Cikana Community College Tribal ecoAmbassador
project encourages students and college staff and faculty to create a
recycling infrastructure throughout the college campus.

The Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC) Tribal ecoAmbassador project,
titled, "Encouraging Community Recycling through Campus Sustainability," is designed
for student participants to research, identify, and implement a plan of action for
enhancing Sustainability on campus.

Located on the Spirit Lake Reservation in North Dakota, the CCCC campus requires
a sustainable recycling program. Without infrastructure for a sustainable recycling
program, CCCC discards tons of recyclable material each year. Throughout the
reservation, waste management continues to affect the health of the community and
the environment.

The CCCC Tribal ecoAmbassador project conducted background research on the
process of recycling, gathered data to determine the composition of waste at the
tribal college, and conducted a campus-wide inventory of recyclable items. During
implementation of this project, CCCC organized several teams dedicated to supporting
and providing leadership in this effort. The CCCC Green Team includes faculty and staff

          who are interested in enhancing campus sustainability. Four students are participating
          in the CCCC Tribal ecoAmbassador project. Two students will be leading efforts to
          create recycling infrastructure on campus and two students will be leading efforts to
          address the potential for composting and solidifying connections between the college
          greenhouse and the  college cafe.
              CCCC student intern Leslie Guy assessing newspaper waste at the Valeria Merrick Memorial Library on
                                                                campus. Photo courtesy of CCCC.
          The project began to gain momentum as the CCCC Green Team documented the
          composition of waste at the tribal college. Using resources from the EPA and the North
          Dakota Solid Waste and Recycling Association, the CCCC Green Team conducted a facility
          walk-through to identify current resources and specific needs and gather input from
          staff, faculty, and students.  Data from the facility walk-through will be compiled and
          analyzed to develop a work plan to guide the Tribal ecoAmbassador, CCCC Green Team,
          and CCCC student participants in establishing the infrastructure necessary for an on-
          campus recycling program.

          The project has been extended due to a change in staff, and the CCCC Tribal
          ecoAmbassador continues to work with regional EPA staff to assist with that transition
          and carry out implementation  of the project. Moving forward, the CCCC Tribal
          ecoAmbassador will lead student participants  in interpreting and presenting the data
          collected during the facility walk-through, making contact with recycling centers and
          potential vendors to establish a recycling route, and disseminating research findings and
          the developed plan of action to the community.

          This project also closely links to the OnCampus ecoAmbassadors program that works
          with school representatives and fellow students to implement projects from EPA
          programs to help green their campuses,  promote environmental awareness, and carry
          out the EPA's mission to protect human health and the environment. CCCC, with EPA's
          help, will develop a sustainable recycling plan that can be easily transferred to other TCUs.

                       Fort Berthold Community College Summary
Fort Berthold Community College (FBCC), New Town,
ND ecoAmbassador—Dr. Kerry Hartman
         FBCC ecoAmbassador student interns with Dr. Hartman in the lab. Photo courtesy of FBCC.

The Fort Berthold Community College Tribal ecoAmbassador project
is designed for students to collect and test groundwater samples from
rural wells on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

The Fort Berthold Community College Tribal ecoAmbassadors project was designed to
train students on approaches and procedures for sampling rural wells and transferring
groundwater samples to a laboratory for chemical analyses from rural wells on the
Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

Fort Berthold Community Center (FBCC) developed a Tribal ecoAmbassador project
involving the field collection and chemical analyses of groundwater samples from 13
rural wells across the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

Under the direction of Dr. Kerry Hartman, FBCC Tribal ecoAmbassador, two lead
students mentored ten additional students in the development of a sampling strategy
for selecting rural wells for sampling, procedures for sampling, preparation of samples
and evaluation of analytical data obtained from a laboratory.  Once shipped to an
analytical laboratory, groundwater samples were analyzed for numerous constituents
including dissolved gases, metals and selected cations and anions.

         Groundwater sample results were summarized into final reports that will be
         incorporated into posters and presentations by students to present at the AIHEC student
         conference and other scientific opportunities.

         Dr. Hartman is hopeful that 'this project will produce some initial observations
         about the quality of groundwater on Fort Berthold, and that more
         importantly, students have obtained additional knowledge and field
         experience regarding the sampling, analysis and data interpretation of
         groundwater samples collected from rural wells"
                                             Groundwater wells. Photo courtesy of FBCC.
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                                                    Plans Moving Forward
Tribal ecoAmbassador Program Sustainability
         Richard Pablo, TOCC ecoAmbassador student intern sifting glass. Photo courtesy of TOCC.
The EPA looks forward to building on the results of the inaugural Tribal
ecoAmbassador projects, and to expanding the program to include not only TCUs, but
also non-tribal colleges and universities that have large tribal enrollments.

A primary goal of this program is to develop approaches that can serve as models
for other communities, and as a result, can be replicated to address similar
problems. To ensure the success and sustainability of the Tribal ecoAmbassador
Program, the EPA has established an Alumni Corps comprised of former program
professors, students, and their EPA partners. This allows former and current Tribal
ecoAmbassadors to share information, provide support, and collaborate to strengthen
tribal environmental research at TCUs. The Alumni Corps strengthens the EPA-TCU
relationship, and supports the development of future environmental champions.

 "This project is a way for me to give back, and has helped me decide
 that I want to study science and make it part of my life." "Richard
 Pablo, Tohono O'odham Community College student

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                approach used to identify the factors likely responsible for the autism epidemic in the
                United States. Clinical Epigenetics, 4:6. Retrieved from http://www.
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                Department of Public  Health Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality. Retrieved from http://
           Randich, P.G. and R.  L Kuznlar. (1984) Ground Water Resources of Bottineau and Rolette
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                North Dakota. U.S. Geological Survey: Water Resources Investigation Report 97-4291.
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                  Recoverable Oil Assessed in North Dakota and Montana's Bakken Formation—25 Times
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 ohono O'odham Community College
 line College
Fort Peck Community College
"Jrtle Mountain Community C
Little Big Horn College
United Tribes Technical College