Since the nearest library was 12 miles away, the girls decided to design a study hall built primarily out of straw. Their plan was to give students a quiet place to do homework, and to give parents new ideas about housing.
First, they had to prove scientifically that building with straw was an ideal solution. They discovered that putting stucco over the straw bales blocked out the oxygen, making them waterproof and fireproof. The girls used a blowtorch to prove that their wall would be fireproof. Their wall passed the test whereas a regular wall would have burned in five minutes!
The successful experiment won the top prize, a $25,000 grant, at the Bayer/National Science Foundation championship. The girls beat out students from all over the country. Their tribal leaders back in Montana were also inspired. The girls are breaking ground on their study hall this summer.
When the Angel Network heard that the "Rez Protectors" needed help to complete and furnish the study center, they surprised the girls with a gift of $25,000!
- If you'd like to help build up Native American communities, organizations like Robert Young's Red Feather Development Group are looking for people like you.