The Land Grant Office of Diné College
The Mission of the Land Grant Office is to increase the knowledge capacity of the Navajo Nation as well as other Native Americans in order to strengthen partnerships intended to empower people and foster communities of learning; therefore, generating healthier tribal communities and environments.
Land Grant Office Vision:
• Expertise available to all stakeholders
• Healthy community-land and water, to include agriculture and livestock
• Communities of learning
• Art based-multimedia (landscaping, etc.)
• Academics are embraced
• Healthy lifestyles
• Healthy social skills and interactions
• Blending of tradition and new knowledge
Land Grant provides internship opportunities for Diné College students throughout the regular academic year. Students interns are encouraged to conduct projects during their internship, which can include research opportunities.
A highlight for the interns for the summer of 2008/09 was being able to mentor at the Annual Chuska Environmental Youth Camp. This week long event was very exciting and the participants had nothing but good things to say about the event.
The first two days were spent on the Diné College campus and the students participated in ice breaker activities and presentations about basic science, environmental science, and hydrology. As the camp embarked on a three day and two night camping trip, excitement grew, and the students were able to learn about the subjects at hand, also about themselves and one other. Overall, the camp was a great success and provided a enormous learning experience for both students and Camp staff.
- Demonstration Farm
Land Grant student interns design the layout of the Tsaile demonstration farm. They test soil and research types of crops to be planted. They also choose the type of irrigation system to be used. The students plant various crops based on their interest from their research. In recent years, interns have implemented a drip irrigation system to practice water conservation. The coming 2009 season will have some challenges, such as limited local weather sources, the unusual weather patterns. Things are still looking good as the interest for the internships increases and an awareness of farming increases with all ages within and around the community.
- Demonstration Orchard
The Land grant Office is also responsible for the demonstration orchard in Shiprock, NM, which has six varieties of apples, peaches, apricots, and cherries. The orchard is meant to be self-sustaining, meaning within the orchard, there is a water catchment system that transports water to a pond where it is then pumped to the orchard.
Hoophouses (green house variation) were built on the campus with the help of Del Jimenez, Agriculture Specialist from the New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Program. The Hoophouses are utilized as a tool in helping students learn greenhouse maintenance and broaden their knowledge of supervising plant growth in a controlled setting.
- Native Landscaping
Students will continue sprucing up the college with more native plants, additional setting designs such as arbors, tables, and benches.
- Range Monitoring
This project will conduct a systematic collection, classification, and description in both the English and Navajo languages of the flora in our specific geographic region and will be a prime resource in addressing our need to develop instructional materials that are based on local resources. Cataloging will emphasize indigenous science, and develop a herbarium collection that can serve the academic community, and enhance students’ experiential learning.