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sector_ico_Forestry_trans Forestry

Connecting Genomics with First Nations values and interests- Development of an educational tool with the Heiltsuk Nation

  • Project Leaders: Gary Bull, Stefania Pizzirani
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $50000
  • Program/Competition: Societal Issues Competiton
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Fiscal Year: 2018
  • Status: Closed

This project was a collaborative initiative that developed original multimedia online educational materials tailored to the British Columbia (BC) high school science curriculum on the topic of forestry genomics. This work was initiated to help address a gap in the availability of comprehensive resources on the topic of forestry genomics that could be understandable to broader audiences outside of the research community. This project focused on making connections to forestry, genomics and Indigenous culture. The overarching aim of this work was to place current forestry genomics research in the context of Indigenous traditional knowledge, forest industry, and a changing climate. The major outcome of this project was an online repository containing a variety of original and accessible educational materials. The materials are interactive, complex genomics content is distilled to a basic level, and navigating the online platform is simple. An interdisciplinary approach was taken by building content related to society, culture, ecology, and economy around audio clips of primary research from current researchers in the field of forestry genomics. The forestry genomics case studies covered share a common theme of improving forests to better adapt to climate change impacts and include topics such as host resistance to forest pathogens, assisted migration & assisted gene flow, and the genomic basis of drought tolerance in trees. In addition to the audio clips from interviews with current researchers, some of the main educational tools included in the content are interactive maps, animated videos, vocabulary lists, supporting resources, interview transcripts, and slideshows. All of the educational materials developed are available for free in an online repository and portions are made downloadable to enhance accessibility. The educational materials developed from this process will foster a greater community-level understanding of genomic-based applications in forestry in the context of Indigenous culture, forest industry and climate change by highlighting different ways of knowing and interconnectedness between disciplines. Genomics in Society’s resources are unlike other forestry genomics resources created to date and they will aid in furthering the field of forestry genomics by highlighting the importance of current research in response to a changing climate, making connections to Indigenous culture, and identifying knowledge gaps that require further research.