Use the filter menu and interactive map to explore the past competitions offered and grants awarded through the Environmental Literacy Program.
To learn more about project findings and outcomes, view the summaries of our grantees’ summative evaluation reports.
Aquarium-wide Climate Change and the Ocean Initiative: Public Engagement from Awareness to Action
As part of its on-going commitment to engage, inform, and inspire visitors around issues of critical importance to ocean conservation, the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened the nation's first live aquatic animal exhibition on climate change and the ocean. This award supports a comprehensive and integrated suite of associated informal educational activities, designed to extend the exhibit experience and allow visitors to explore this critically important topic in more depth during their visit and after leaving the Aquarium. These activities include: community engagement events, virtual reality auditorium programs using Google Earth, musical theater presentations, and exhibit interactives that allow audiences to discuss solutions to ocean issues. Over the course of three years, this initiative will reach more than 4.5 million people and: 1) raise public awareness about the connection between climate change and ocean health; 2) demonstrate that public actions do have an impact on climate change (and therefore ocean health); and 3) encourage meaningful action to address climate change.
Aquarium of the Pacific's Ocean Science Center (SOS): Ocean-Earth Stories Connecting People, the Ocean and Climate Change
The Aquarium of the Pacific is creating an immersive exhibit for exploring the role of the ocean in climate change and its responses under different scenarios. The center of the experience is NOAA's Science On a Sphere (SOS), a proven platform for displaying a rich variety of earth system datasets that reveal global and large scale region processes and phenomena that are easily grasped by the general public. Combining SOS with a system of linked plasma screens allows additional local and regional stories that bring global messages down to a more personal level. Two programs are being developed initially focusing on: (1) implications of sea level rise, and (2) marine ecosystems. Both explore how the vulnerability of systems can be reduced and their resiliency enhanced through mitigation and adaptation.
A National Coalition of Aquariums Educating About Climate Change
This collaboration led by three major national aquariums - Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBAq), National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB), and New England Aquarium (NEAq) - is developing a leadership initiative to build capacity within aquariums and related informal science education institutions nation-wide, enabling education staff to engage and inspire millions of visitors to take action about climate change and the ocean. The project increases climate literacy among informal science educators by: 1) creating a national network for training, resource sharing and support; 2) developing climate change activity carts to support exhibit interpretation; 3) providing training for youth interpreters; and 4) hosting regional and national summits to strengthen collaboration and showcase and disseminate model programs. Outcomes for educators include increased knowledge of climate change science; knowledge of strategies, tools and materials for educating about climate change; and confidence in their ability to communicate about climate change.
Visualizing Change: Training and Tools to Support Informal Educators
A consortium of Aquarium of the Pacific, National Aquarium in Baltimore, New England Aquarium and Seattle Aquarium will build educator capacity in the aquarium community and informal science education field to more effectively communicate about climate change and its impact on coastal zones and marine life. The project will utilize NOAA datasets and visualizations in providing interpreters with training and strategic framing communication tools based on the best available social and cognitive research. The objectives of the project are to: (1) develop and test four exemplary interpretive “visual narratives” that integrate research-based strategic communication with NOAA data visualization resources; (2) test the application of the visual narratives in a variety of geographic regions and institution types (aquarium, science center, etc.) using multiple technology platforms; (3) build a professional development program for climate change interpretation with data visualization; and (4) leverage existing networks for dissemination and peer support. Other key partners include the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory (VisLab), the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the Ocean Explorium in southern Massachusetts, FrameWorks Institute and New Knowledge Organization.
Carbon Networks addresses the disconnect between scientific evidence and the public’s understanding of the impacts of ocean acidification and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It brings together three diverse, informal education partners – the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the Waikiki Aquarium in Hawaii, and the Pacific Science Center in Seattle – in a collaborative project to co-design and implement professional development for staff and local educators, as well as create educational programs and activities for museum visitors to better understand the evolving narrative and impact of ocean acidification and climate change.
Advancing Climate Literacy through Investment in In-service and Pre-service Science Educators (ACLIPSE)
The ACLIPSE project leveraged NOAA assets including the NOAA-funded Ocean Sciences Sequence for Grades 6–8: The Ocean–Atmosphere Connection and Climate Change, data from NOAA-supported ocean, estuarine and atmospheric observing networks, and NOAA-affiliated scientists. ACLIPSE developed strategies for incorporating real-time ocean observing data into climate and ocean science education; designed and implemented an undergraduate curriculum in climate science for pre-service (student) teachers at multiple universities (http://mare.lawrencehallofscience.org/college-courses/ACLIPSE); offered a variety of workshops for teachers and educators across the country and at National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRs); and developed materials specifically designed to provide professional learning and instructional materials for middle and high school teachers to use with their students and other learners (http://mare.lawrencehallofscience.org/curriculum/climate-data-aclipse-a…). The professional learning workshops for local teachers and NERR Education Coordinators and research staff (i.e., System Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) Technicians) were located at five NERR sites representing different regions of the US, including the Pacific Northwest (Kachemak Bay NERR, Alaska and Padilla Bay NERR, WA), central West Coast (San Francisco NERR, CA), Southeast (GTM NERR, FL), and Northeast/Mid-Atlantic (Jacques Cousteau NERR, NJ). Resources and instructional materials focused on climate and ocean acidification were provided to all participants for learning about and teaching these important and relevant content areas, and as the context for teaching about and applying current teaching and learning research. Emphasis was placed on helping the teacher audiences to becoming more expert on how to use NOAA monitoring data in the classroom in authentic and engaging ways to build teacher and student data skills. NERR educators and their local in-service teachers were provided with professional learning opportunities and a collection of activities providing online data, place-based, locally relevant observing data, NGSS teaching and learning pedagogy, and climate change topics. The project built capacity of formal and informal science educators by providing (1) opportunities to become knowledgeable about global environmental change and real-time data; (2) exposure to place-based connections with the ocean through technological observing systems; and (3) materials and expertise to apply their learning to teaching practice in a long-term, sustainable manner. ACLIPSE instructional materials are based on the principle that real-time environmental data is a valuable tool for providing students with opportunities for self-directed exploration of the natural world. Students engaging in these activities gain a deeper understanding of carbon cycling, ocean acidification, and other phenomena related to climate change. These activities were designed with the three-dimensional approach to teaching in mind (e.g. NGSS-designed), and also use a data literacy framework to build educators and their learners’ skills in using data visualizations. The materials for informal educators and grades 6-8 teachers can also be accessed from the NOAA Education site, Classroom- Ready Data Resources, Climate & Data ACLIPSE Activities at https://www.noaa.gov/education/resource-collections/data/classroom-ready. Partners in the project included Rutgers University, Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Florida State University, California State University East Bay, Louisiana State University, and multiple NERR sites and Education Coordinators across the country and their local secondary teachers.