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The University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area and its community partners on the Flathead Indian Reservation recently received an honorable mention in the Noyce Foundation’s Bright Lights Community Engagement Awards competition.

The distinction honors spectrUM’s work with educators and scientists on the Flathead Reservation to orchestrate K-12 science, technology, engineering and math programming, including the Science Learning Tent at the 116th Arlee Celebration Powwow, which will take place Thursday through Saturday, July 3-5.

The Bright Lights Award honors U.S. science centers, children’s museums and natural history museums that excel at engaging with their local communities through STEM outreach activities. SpectrUM and the Flathead Reservation are one of nine nationwide museum partnerships recognized with this prestigious award. Nearly 100 partners applied for the recognition. The award carries a cash prize.

The annual Arlee Celebration Powwow serves as a cultural highlight for the three tribes on the reservation, and for visitors from around the country. The Science Learning Tent will feature interactive exhibits from spectrUM’s museum; hands-on science activities led by local “near-peer” high school students and college interns in the Confederated Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai TribesTribal Health Department’s Healthcare Warriors Camp program; and guided demonstrations with STEM leaders and role models from the Flathead Reservation and from UM.

Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, each day of the Science Learning Tent will include a different theme. The schedule is:

  • Thursday, July 3: health sciences and careers
  • Friday, July 4: environmental sciences and careers
  • Saturday, July 5: innovation and robotics

Tent hours will be from noon to 7 p.m. each day. The Science Learning Tent will culminate with an Astronomy Family Science Night from 9 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, July 5.

For more information about the powwow, please visit

Reach the Missoulian newsroom at @missoulian, at or at (406) 523-5240

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