Karen Francis-Begay, Assistant Vice-President,Tribal Relations, University of Arizona
The tribal water conference was a success in bringing water resource experts together with tribal leaders and communities to address water management. I appreciate the record turn out, which demonstrates how important this issue is to Arizonans. I moderated a panel on The Next Generation of Tribal Water Use: Our Youth Represent the Future, and was impressed with the work of the panelists, Stetson Mendoza, a K-12 teacher at Gila River Indian Community; Clifford Pablo, a teacher at Tohono Oodham Community College (TOCC); and Janene Yazzie, a consultant with the Little Colorado River Watershed Chapters Association. They demonstrated a passion and devotion to working with youth and tribal communities on water conservation and management. I was most moved by Ms. Yazzie pointing out how much water is wasted daily, using an example of the conference pre-set luncheon tables being pre-set with glasses of water and that many of the glasses of water werent consumed. Where does that water go? Mr. Mendoza shared how he engages youth in aquaponics, a system of that blends aquaculture and hydroponics. Mr. Pablo brought students from TOCC to the conference to talk about their interest and research on water conservation. It was promising to learn about these best practices where youth are actively involved in promoting sustainable water practices.