• Research methodology: community input regarding air-quality curriculum for rural Alaska

      Hnilicka, Julia Autumn; Black, Jessica; Meckel, Kathleen; Mao, Jingqiu (2020-05)
      During the summer months in rural Alaska, poor air-quality due to wildfire smoke and gravel road dust can have negative impacts on respiratory health, disproportionately affecting Elders and youth who have weakened respiratory systems. After conducting initial research during the summer of 2019, after visiting twenty-nine communities in the Interior and Southcentral regions of Alaska, the research found that more community involvement is needed to bolster engagement in understanding the impacts of air-quality and implementing steps to mitigate those impacts. This research was in response to those findings, targeting schools and the educational system to drive community engagement and interest in air-quality. Qualitative research was conducted in five communities, employing face-to-face interviews and thematic analysis. The results illustrate the complex and unique relationships that communities, schools, and educators have in rural Alaska. The conclusion of this research finds that integrating air-quality as an important curriculum component will take long-term dedication from educators and the communities alike.