Generous Hearts Triumph over Adversity

by Tamara Mullen — last modified Oct 29, 2012

Spirit Mountain Community Fund – Grant Award Celebration

Pictured from left to right: Sho Dozono, Board Chairman, and President and CEO of Azumano Travel/American Express, Carol, Tamara and Reyn Leno, Trustee and Tribal Council Vice-Chair, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

Pictured from left to right: Sho Dozono, Board Chairman, and President and CEO of Azumano Travel/American Express, Carol, Tamara and Reyn Leno, Trustee and Tribal Council Vice-Chair, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

IAE Board Member Carol Savonen and Development Coordinator Tamara Mullen, ventured north to the Grand Ronde Tribal Governance Center in Grand Ronde, Oregon, for the Spirit Mountain Community Fund Quarterly Check Presentation – a Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde celebration in which all grant recipient organizations were presented with their grant awards.

Members from the Board of Trustees and Tribal Council welcomed grantee organizations specializing in health care, education, child advocacy, cultural literacy, the arts, farming and the environment, as hearts and hands were extended in a celebration of giving and hope. The afternoon was highlighted by a video which offered a historical backdrop to the struggles and triumphs of the Grand Ronde tribes; followed by the check presentation. The spirit of the event was symbolic of tribal culture – generous souls succeed in the face of adversity.

We now have $10,000 in hand for our climate change research project on Kincaid’s lupine, a threatened species endemic to the prairies and oak savannas of the Willamette Valley, and host plant to Fender’s Blue Butterfly; and a joint education program that will bring nature into the lives of a special needs class at South Albany High School!

Inside the Spirit Mountain grant – giving butterflies and kids the chance to take flight…

Kincaid’s lupine serves as the primary host plant for the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly. Already stressed by a lack of habitat connectivity, gene flow and competition from exotic species, this lupine may have a reduced capacity to adapt to rapidly changing climates. This project involves growing Kincaid’s lupine plants from a diversity of populations in environments with manipulated temperature and precipitation to determine which types grow best when the climate changes. By determining how projected changes to climate affect this rare plant’s establishment and survival, we hope to increase the long-term viability of reintroduced populations and improve the chances for Fender’s blue to take flight!

IAE will bring an entire laboratory of skills, ideas and challenges to special needs students at South Albany High School through a unique inquiry-based outdoor learning experience. The students will gain practical problem solving skills and further develop their sense of place in the natural world, as well as an understanding of the importance of functioning ecosystems and the impacts of climate change. And studies show outdoor learning improves physical, cognitive and emotional health, helping young people thrive in life.

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde through the Spirit Mountain Community Fund fulfills their Native tradition of potlatch, a ceremony at which good fortune is distributed. The Spirit Mountain Community Fund’s focus is to improve the quality of life in Northwest Oregon through community investments that provide lasting benefits consistent with the Tribe’s culture and values.

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