TRACKS Youth Program

TRent Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge and Science

What we do


TRACKS (TRent Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge and Science) is an educational program which provides hands-on experiences for youth interested in the intersections of Indigenous and western sciences. TRACKS is based out of the Indigenous Environmental Studies and Sciences Department (IESS) of Trent University, under the umbrella of the Kawartha World Issues Centre and supported by First People's House of Learning. TRACKS consists of two distinct but connected programs: Outreach & Education and Oshkwazin Indigenous Youth Leadership Program.  


TRACKS Outreach & Education runs a wide variety of educational programs throughout the calendar year. Outreach activities, in-school workshops and PA-day camps make up our school-year programming schedule. TRACKS also develops curriculum to share with other organizations, offering take-home resources and training opportunities for teachers and educators. Throughout the summer, TRACKS continues its outreach activities and workshops, while also providing week-long summer day camps. All of our programming is fun, hands-on, experiential, and combines Indigenous and Western scientific principles.

Through our Outreach & Education programming, TRACKS aims to:

  • Create an awareness that Indigenous ecological knowledge is essential to comprehensive scientific approaches to environmental issues
  • Provide youth with culturally rich, science-based outdoor education
  • Help students understand the interconnectedness of all living things
  • Introduce youth to diverse knowledge systems and fields of study
  • Connect youth with strong, motivated and dynamic mentors
  • Encourage youth to think about math and science skills as valuable skills in achieving their future goals

TRACKS Oshkwazin is a leadership program for Indigenous high school aged youth. Inspired by the mandate of IESS program, TRACKS Oshkwazin aims to empower Indigenous youth to utilize their traditional ecological knowledge to pursue careers in E-STEM fields. Oshkwazin provides a place for Indigenous youth to meet, discuss issues that matter to them, improve team building, gain volunteer experience, receive traditional teachings and learn about Indigenous issues. 

Please email oshkwazin@tracksprogram.ca to learn more about Oshkwazin Indigenous Youth Leadership Program


Watch this video to learn more about our Outreach & Education programming

TRACKS coordinators


Kelly King

Outreach & Education Coordinator

Kelly King has joined TRACKS as the Outreach and Education Coordinator. She is in charge of all outreach and education programming including summer camps, in-school workshops, PA day programming, tabling and more.

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Kristin Muskratt

Oshkwazin Coordinator

Kristin Muskratt is excited to join the TRACKS team as the Oshkwazin Coordinator. Oshkwazin is TRACKS' newest initiative providing youth leadership development opportunities to high-school aged Indigenous youth.

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Madison Laurin

Operations Coordinator

Madison Laurin has joined TRACKS as the Operations Coordinator, working to support the TRACKS Outreach and Education Program as well as the Oshkwazin Program. Contact her with inquiries regarding any of the TRACKS programming.

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Read on to learn more about our Outreach & Education workshops!

See below for descriptions of workshops we typically run for schools and camp programs. Invite us into your school, or if you are looking to deepen your TRACKS experience, consider booking your class for a half or full day program at Trent University, where the wetlands, labs and tipi are our classroom!

G’Chi-Nibi – Sacred Water


In this workshop, students will engage their heads, hands and hearts as they learn about the four types of water based on a small part of the Anishinaabe Creation Story. They will discuss and learn more about the reciprocal relationship that all people have towards G’Chi-Nibi as we discuss water conservation, protection, distribution and accessibility as well as brainstorm ways to strengthen our personal relationship with water. They will be introduced to some of the everyday uses of water, such as industrial, ecotourism, agricultural and sacred ceremony. Throughout this workshop we encourage students to get their hands wet to explore the physical properties of water!

The G'Chi-Nibi workshop can be done anywhere that we have access to water, be it running from a tap or running down the Otonabee River here on Trent's campus.
G’Chi-Nibi – Sacred Water

Ode-min – Strawberry


Ode-min Giizis is known as Strawberry Moon, and this term is how the month of June is referred to by Anishinaabe people in this area. Strawberries are the first fruit to grow upon Mother Earth, and through the traditional teachings and Creation story of the first strawberry, they teach us about growth, forgiveness, self-discipline and peace. We will explore and compare the varieties of strawberries we have available to us today and discuss the differences in growth rate and production methods. Students will have the opportunity to extract DNA from a strawberry, learn about the structure of DNA and how genetic information is passed through generations. We might even get a taste of this sweet traditional fruit!

Th Ode-min workshop can be done in any classroom setting, though we always appreciate the opportunity to make use of lab spaces here at the University.
Ode-min – Strawberry

Mishiikenh – Turtle


Did you know that the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee calendars are based not on twelve months, but on thirteen moons? Did you know that each of these moons is reflected in the thirteen scutes on a turtle’s back? Did you know that, typically, turtles have 28 outer scutes which represent the number of days in one moon? Do you happen to know what a scute is? We will learn all of the above, and more, in this very special workshop. The program combines storytelling, art, and an active game that will turn students into hatching turtles racing the tide, weather, and predators. This is a classroom favourite with an activity for every type of learner and will cover topics including adaptation, identification, hibernation and human-made challenges facing turtles.

The Mishiikenh workshop can be done anywhere as long as we have access to an open space, such as a gym or field, for an active running game about turtle conservation.
Mishiikenh – Turtle

Gitigaan – Garden


Gardening has always been an integral part of how people engage with land. Through this workshop, students will be invited to learn about how respect, humility and active listening help us to engage in the natural world in ways that sustain us and promote environmental health. The Gitigaan workshop gives students the opportunity to learn about both the science behind why certain plants work while together as well as traditional stories of how these plants came to be. This workshop covers topics such as the three sisters, nutrient cycles, sacred medicines, photosynthesis, pollinators and soil fertility and will expand our definition of what a garden can be!

The Gitigaan workshop can be delivered here at Trent University, where we can visit any of three on-campus community gardens, or at Curve Lake First Nation.
Gitigaan – Garden

Mtigwaaki – Forest


The forest is the place where all of our traditional materials (for building, medicine, food, clothing, and so much more) once came from. For many people living traditionally, the forest continues to be a source of wonder and a way to make a living. Students will hear stories about how human beings share the forest with our animal relatives and will be exposed to a different way of understanding the reciprocal relationship we have with all the beings that reside there. Anishinaabe knowledge and stories will be used in conjunction with scientific principles to explain natural processes such as photosynthesis, tree sap production and ecosystem interactions between trees and insects.

The Mtigwaaki workshop must be done in a forested space, where we will have the opportunity to play some hands-on games and learn about some very special trees.

Mtigwaaki – Forest

Ishkode – Fire


Fire, like so many aspects of the natural world, warrants a special kind of respect and attentiveness. In this workshop, youth will have a chance to hear stories of how fire came into the hands of humanity and explanations of the role of the Firekeeper in today's modern context. The bulk of the workshop is a hands on experience where youth will work with multiple methods of fire creation, both modern and traditional in a safely guided space. As they build fires, students will learn the science of this craft, and the three elements needed to sustain a flame. After small groups try their hand at building a fire together, we will join together to cook some Indigenous food delicacies (in the past this has included bannock and Cedar tea)!

The Ishkode workshop requires access to a fire pit and for there to be no current fire ban in your location.

Ishkode – Fire

Mashkiig – Marsh


There is no ecosystem more critical to the health of the environment than wetland ecosystems. This workshop encourages youth to engage with and get to know the local amphibians and insects that do such important work for the greater environment. Stories about frogs, biodiversity, medicines and evolution will be shared to highlight the interconnected nature of our wetland systems. In addition, youth will aim to ethically catch, observe, identify and release local amphibian and insects in the marsh and our staff will share some Anishinaabemowin names for these local wildlife. This hands on dirty work, coupled with fun games, interactive simulations and art projects makes the Marsh workshop as multidimensional as the ecosystem it aims to teach youth about!

The Mashkiig workshop is best held on the Trent University campus, where we have plenty of access to wetland spaces.
Mashkiig – Marsh

Workshop Prices


One workshop
90 minutes / 1.5 hours
$150
Two workshops
180 minutes / 3 hours / half-day
$250
Three workshops
270 minutes / 4.5 hours / full-day
$375


Please note: Prices above are based on a standard workshop at Trent University. Prices will be adjusted based on size of group, travel, access to Knowledge Holders and materials required. All prices above are based on each single workshop being 1.5 hours. We are flexible with the timing of workshops and happy to accommodate your schedule. A full-day of programming is the equivalent of 4.5 hours of active programming, with a half-hour lunchbreak. 

Please contact us for a quote specific to your request.


Ready to book your workshop?

Request a workshop through our online form. Or if you would prefer, send us an email using the contact form below.

Contact us!


  • Trent University, Peterborough, ON, Canada

Testimonials


Actua Network


​TRACKS is a proud member of Actua. Actua provides training, resources and support to its national network of members located at universities and colleges across Canada in the delivery of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education outreach programming. Each year, these members engage over 225,000 youth in 500 communities nationwide. Please visit Actua to learn more. ​
Actua Network

Kawartha World Issues Centre


TRACKS is supported by the Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC). KWIC is a charitable Global Education and Resource Centre which promotes dialogue and understanding of world issues to enable people to engage in positive social and environmental change. Since 1989, KWIC has served Peterborough and the Kawartha region by organizing educational events and workshops, animating youth-led initiatives, facilitating working groups, supporting community research projects, internships and placements and sharing resources. Please visit KWIC to learn more.
Kawartha World Issues Centre

Blog


  • 11/10/2018 02:27 PM

TRACKS is a member of Actua, a National STEM network of 26 universities and colleges across Canada. Each Fall, Actua holds a meeting which gives the Directors of network members the opportunity to meet with one another, debrief on our busy Summers, and gear-up for the New Year ahead. Read on to hear about TRACKS's experience at this year's Fall Directors Meeting.

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  • 25/09/2018 12:28 PM

TRACKS Oshkwazin is a new youth leadership initiative run through TRACKS Youth Program. For two months this Summer, Oshkwazin spent time laying a foundation for the program. This past week, Oshkwazin held its first two youth group meetings which went great thanks to all the planning that happened this Summer. Read on to learn about all the work and inspiration that went into Oshkwazin's development and planning this Summer!

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  • 17/09/2018 03:00 PM

​Oshkwazin staff were fortunate enough to attend the Intertribal Food Sovereignty Summit at the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Reservation in Connecticut. This conference was a week long and full of incredible learning opportunities, delicious food and great company. Some of the theme highlights were food system change, decolonizing your diet, tribal farms, seed saving, food sovereignty initiatives and a feast that was prepared by Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman. Read on for Amber Pitawanakwat's refection on what she learned at these sessions!

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  • 10/09/2018 03:00 PM

TRACKS Youth Program came back strong this summer. After a bit of a hiatus and the hiring of fantastic new coordinator staff, this program returned to deliver critical programming to youth across North Central Ontario. Allow staff member Alex Roper to take you on a journey through our summer together!

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