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From Mt. Rainier to the Pacific Coast: Fostering Resilient Climate Leaders, Communities and Coastal Ecosystems

Funding: 
$298,713
Year: 
2015

Nisqually River Foundation with partners (South Sound GREEN, Chehalis Basin Education Consortium, and Mount Rainier Institute) with support from NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region implemented their project, “From Mt. Rainier to the Pacific Coast: Fostering Resilient Climate Leaders, Communities and Coastal Ecosystems,” over 3 years, from 2016-2018. Our region faces the climate change threats of sea level rise, receding glaciers, extreme weather/flooding, ocean acidification and impacts on humans and important local resources, such as surface and groundwater, salmon, forests, and shellfish.

Nisqually River Foundation with partners (South Sound GREEN, Chehalis Basin Education Consortium, and Mount Rainier Institute) with support from NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region implemented their project, “From Mt. Rainier to the Pacific Coast: Fostering Resilient Climate Leaders, Communities and Coastal Ecosystems,” over 3 years, from 2016-2018. Our region faces the climate change threats of sea level rise, receding glaciers, extreme weather/flooding, ocean acidification and impacts on humans and important local resources, such as surface and groundwater, salmon, forests, and shellfish. Together we engaged more than 120 teachers and their 3,000+ students from the Nisqually, South Puget Sound and Chehalis watersheds to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts. We held three Summer Teachers Institutes to bring teachers connect teachers with local science experts in climate change impacts in the Pacific Northwest. Our 2017 Institute was held in partnership with Mount Rainier Institute, who also hosted Climate Resilient Youth Leadership Programs for 350 12-18-year olds. Participants generated and participated in Community Resilience Action Projects to conserve local ecosystems and increase resiliency in their communities to extreme weather events and changing climate. These projects included: riparian habitat restoration in the Nisqually, Chehalis, and Deschutes basins; creating recycling and composting programs on school campuses; eliminating Styrofoam from school cafeterias; creating a Migration Parade event to explore climate impacts on migratory species; the “Pick a DOT- Do One Thing - What’s your thing?” on-line videos; and the creation of high-impact environmental education art installations, to name a handful. Students also monitored local stream flows, temperatures, and water quality, building on a previous Targeted Watershed Grant from the EPA and a data set that goes back to 1992. NOAA’s mission of Service was supported as teachers and students shared their knowledge in their classrooms, with school districts, at community meetings, and through social media. NOAA assets used included the NW Marine Fisheries staff, Data in the Classroom, CoCoRaHS, NOAA-NASA Cloud Watcher Chart, NOAA’s Climate Literacy Principles, Beat the Uncertainty game, Game of Floods, Thermal Expansion label, the Marine Mammals of the US West Coast, and more. Other local contributing partners include the Nisqually Indian Tribe, the Squaxin Tribe, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Nisqually Land Trust, Thurston Conservation District and Capital Region Educational Service District 113.

Competition: 2015: ELG for Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events and Environmental Changes
Award Number: 
NA15SEC0080007
Grant Dates: 
04/01/2016 to 07/31/2019
PI: 
Mr. Justin Hall
State: Washington   County: Thurston   District: WA10 
Partners:   National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) / West Coast, Chehalis Basin Education Consortium, South Sound GREEN (Global Rivers Environmental Education Network), Mount Rainier Institute, U.S. National Park Service / Mount Rainier National Park, Nisqually Land Trust, Capitol Land Trust, Chehalis River Basin Land Trust, NOAA Office of Education, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Nisqually Tribe, Joint Base Lewis–McChord, Mason Conservation District, Squaxin Island Tribe Puget Sound Estuarium

Connecting Tennessee to the World Ocean

Funding: 
$1,352,253
Year: 
2009

Connecting Tennessee to the World Ocean is a three-year capacity building project of the Tennessee Aquarium and its partners, the Hamilton County Department of Education, Calvin Donaldson Environmental Science Academy, and NOAA’s National Weather Service. Expanded capacity, in turn, allows the institution to reach a broader audience with a message connecting Tennessee’s waterways to the world ocean. Primary project outcomes are increased ocean literacy and expanded ocean stewardship ethics in targeted Aquarium audiences.

Connecting Tennessee to the World Ocean is a three-year capacity building project of the Tennessee Aquarium and its partners, the Hamilton County Department of Education, Calvin Donaldson Environmental Science Academy, and NOAA’s National Weather Service. Expanded capacity, in turn, allows the institution to reach a broader audience with a message connecting Tennessee’s waterways to the world ocean. Primary project outcomes are increased ocean literacy and expanded ocean stewardship ethics in targeted Aquarium audiences. A series of specific activities focused on ocean literacy and global change make this possible, including expanding Aquarium classroom capacity by 60% to serve more students, expanded videoconferencing opportunities in partnership with NWS, free admission and programming for underrepresented students from across the region, expanded educational opportunities on the Aquarium’s website, updated interpretive panels focusing on global change, installation of a NOAA WeatherBug station, a civic engagement series, and professional development for Aquarium educators.

Competition: 2009: Ocean Education Grants for AZA Aquariums
Award Number: 
NA09SEC4690041
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2009 to 09/30/2012
PI: 
Mr. George Bartnik
State: Tennessee   County: Hamilton   District: TN03 
Partners:   Hamilton County Department of Education, Hamilton County School District / Calvin Donaldson Environmental Science Academy, NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Morristown, TN Weather Forecast Office, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Natural Encounters National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) / Flower Garden Banks

HEARTForce: Hazard Education, Awareness & Resilience Taskforce

Funding: 
$500,000
Year: 
2018

Communities in Colorado are increasingly experiencing major disruptions from environmental hazards, such as fire, flood, drought and extreme heat. With this rise in hazardous events, there is a pressing need for communities increase their resilience. An interdisciplinary team from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Education & Outreach Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder is developing and implementing an innovative, action-oriented youth engagement project targeting rural Colorado students, teachers and communities.

Communities in Colorado are increasingly experiencing major disruptions from environmental hazards, such as fire, flood, drought and extreme heat. With this rise in hazardous events, there is a pressing need for communities increase their resilience. An interdisciplinary team from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Education & Outreach Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder is developing and implementing an innovative, action-oriented youth engagement project targeting rural Colorado students, teachers and communities. Our engagement model empowers youth i) to envision community resilience through immersive scenario-based role play based on a solid understanding of the relevant science, ii) to learn about natural hazards through engaging Colorado-focused lessons, iii) to initiate conversations about hazard preparedness from within communities, and iv) to develop and implement student-led resilience action projects. The project team is developing instructional materials for middle and high school students: four lesson plans focused on different hazards (fire, flood, drought, extreme heat), four complementary scenario-based role-play games with a focus on youth empowerment and a teacher workshop based on these materials. Each school implementation follows a sequence in which the lesson plan activities are conducted, followed by a scenario-based role play game and reflection. Building on their experience with the game, students develop resilience strategies for their community and present those at a community Resilience Expo. The project has the following three objectives: 1) Increase Colorado secondary teachers’ knowledge and confidence to teach about local natural hazards, and to facilitate discussions about community resilience; 2) Increase Colorado youth’s understanding of natural hazards, their community’s vulnerability, and their involvement in resilience planning efforts, and 3) Enhance the capacity and empowerment of young people in Colorado to engage in dialogue with their peers, families, and community stakeholders about community resilience issues and identify, develop, and implement resilience actions. A needs assessment disseminated to Colorado teachers guides the project team in the development of all instructional materials and allows for customizing the content to teacher needs. The project evaluation explores the efficacy of the program model and studies the impact of the project activities on students and teachers. Specifically, the evaluation studies students’ confidence and ability to engage in dialogue around community resilience, level to which students increase their understanding of natural hazards and resilience planning, and the ways in which teachers increase their content knowledge and confidence in teaching about natural hazards. The project fills a critical gap in Colorado’s resilience planning which does not include teachers and youth. The project is guided by partners from the NOAA RISA program Western Water Assessment, seven NOAA science advisors, Science on the Sphere collaborators, and is being implemented together with over 20 community partners, school partners and collaborators from across Colorado. Over the course of the three-year program, the project activities will train and support 140 teachers, engage 400+ students and result in 11 Resilience Expo events across Colorado, from primarily rural communities. The instructional units and the games will be used in classrooms with 600+ students.

Competition: 2018: ELG for Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events and Environmental Hazards
Award Number: 
NA18SEC0080007
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2018 to 10/31/2021
PI: 
Dr. Anne Gold (Reuther)
State: Colorado   County: Boulder   District: CO02 
Partners:   Earth Force, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks / The Wild Center, NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO), NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Boulder, Colorado Forecast Office, NOAA National Ocean Service (NOS) / NOAA Planet Stewards, Foothills United Way, City of Boulder / Office of Emergency Management, University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Lowell / Climate Change Initiative, Wild Rose Education, Roaring Fork School District No. Re-1 / Glenwood Springs Middle School, Montrose County Re-1j School District / Montrose High School, Gunnison Watershed Re1J School District / Gunnison Middle School, Early College of Arvada, St. Vrain Valley Re 1j School District / Westview Middle School, Estes Park R-3 School District / Estes Park High School, Estes Park R-3 School District / Estes Park Middle School, Garfield County / Community Development, Gunnison County / Office of Emergency Management, City of Arvada / Office of the City Manager, City of Longmont / Public Works & Natural Resources, Larimer County / Office of Emergency Management, City of Boulder / Resilient Boulder, Colorado Department of Public Safety, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, University of Colorado Boulder / CIRES / Education & Outreach, Mountain Studies Institute, University of Colorado Boulder / CIRES / Western Water Assessment, Adams State University / Luter Bean Museum / Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center, Northeast Colorado BOCES Western Colorado University