Southern Utah University's Dr. Jacqualine Grant is working to build an outdoor classroom at the Paiute Indian Reservation in Cedar City, Utah with a submission for a Governor's Office of Economic Development Outdoor Classroom Grant.
Dr. Grant is an associate professor of biology at SUU, director of the Garth and Jerri Frehner Museum of Natural History, and the 2018-2020 Provost Faculty Fellow for Parks and Partnerships. Together with the SPARC pre-award team, she recently submitted a grant request for a project called the Paiute Outdoor Classroom and Veterans Memorial.
The goal of this project is to build an outdoor classroom consisting of a small plaza with a shade structure and stone benches engraved with Paiute names for numbers 1-10 in the Hindu-Arabic numeral system, along with the English names for those numbers. In this innovative setting, students will learn about natural history and its relation to Paiute traditions while reflecting on the sacrifices of the tribe’s veterans. The space will facilitate STEM learning for tribe members and local schools.
The Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) Outdoor Classroom Grant was a new offering by the Governor's Office this year. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many children were limited in how they could participate in school. The GOED Outdoor Classroom Grant was created to help develop more outdoor learning spaces that can be used come rain, shine, or pandemic.
“Some of the challenges of working on this grant were being unable to meet face to face with my Paiute colleagues," said Dr. Grant. "So we did all of our work through Zoom meetings, email, and phone calls.”
One of Dr. Grant's top takeaways from the grant project is the connections made, including the opportunity to also meet Shane Parashonts, Tribal Administrator, and some of the folks in FourPoints Health.
While SPARC awaits the decision on this proposal we look forward to this continued connection with our Paiute friends—one that proves a pandemic can sometimes produce an unexpected silver lining.
Jacqualine Grant Associate Professor of Biology / Museum Curator
Conservation biologist whose work focuses on green infrastructure and organismal biology.