Saguaro in the foreground with the Arizona-Sonoran desert on the horizon

Planet Forward and UArizona have partnered to launch the Indigenous Correspondents Program (ICP). The goal of the ICP is to empower the next generation of Indigenous scholars to share environmental stories and resilient solutions of relevance around the world.

Photo Credit: Kevin Bonine

Planet Forward, a project of the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, in collaboration with AIRES Education Initiatives and the Indigenous Resilience Center (IRC), will now support greater participation by Indigenous students in a program that centers their voices and brings broader perspectives to the successful Planet Forward platform.  

The Indigenous Correspondents Program will support 10-12 Indigenous graduate and upper-division undergraduate students from across the United States interested in environmental storytelling through a year-long professional development, communication skill-building, and community-generating program led by Indigenous mentors in fields ranging from environmental journalism to podcast production. 

Application materials and
information Forthcoming

Students that are interested can share preliminary information.

Jarrette Werk 3-byJoReeLaFrance.JPG

Indigenous dancers being filmed while performing.
Photo Credit: Jarrette Werk

Reporting about science and the environment has not always been inclusive nor respectful of Indigenous communities and knowledge systems. Work remains to make journalism and storytelling accessible and equitable for Native people. Although Indigenous communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change and global biodiversity loss, only a very small percentage of scientists, professors, and science journalists at U.S. universities and news organizations are Indigenous. This lack of representation influences the coverage and perspective around issues of environmental justice, climate adaptation, and environmental policy. 

As we work to identify and disseminate environmentally friendly solutions that “move the planet forward,” we need everyone, regardless of their background, to be part of the communication efforts. The UArizona and Planet Forward Indigenous Correspondents Program will create a more equitable space for Indigenous voices and perspectives to be heard - on their own terms -  amid this truly global effort. The long-term goals of the Indigenous Correspondents Program are to increase participation in Earth and environmental science communication and related fields among Indigenous students and to increase the quality and quantity of Indigenous stories in media across the U.S.

Participants in Planet Forward’s 12-month Indigenous Correspondents Program will periodically meet with members of their cohort (~10-12 students) and Indigenous activists, journalists, and scientists to advance their storytelling and communication skills while building their professional and community networks. Participants will also receive one-on-one mentorship and guidance in creating and publishing a final environmental communication piece (e.g., essay/article, multimedia story, podcast, video documentary, etc.) and a Certificate of Completion. Throughout the ICP, participants will focus on four main goals: 

  1. Personal growth (reclaiming your narratives and voice, telling personal stories, healing through creative expression, and connecting with the land and our communities)
  2. Skill building (science communication strategies and storytelling techniques, multimedia technical skills (as applicable), publishing and pitching content)
  3. Networking/community building (one-on-one mentorship with Indigenous speakers and Planet Forward editors, informal cohort gatherings, access to the Native American Journalists Association, Indian Country Today, National Museum of the American Indian, etc.)
  4. Publishing (a final project will involve either a podcast, music piece, exhibition, multimedia, or written piece showcasing the participants’ communication skills on an issue of their choice)

Graduate students and upper-division undergraduate students with an interest in environmental science and knowledge generation, resilient solutions, and effective storytelling in media spaces are encouraged to apply for the 2022-23 cohort of the Indigenous Correspondents Program. 

Application materials and additional information will be available soon.
Students that are interested can share preliminary information.
Review of applications will begin in May 2022.