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Science Center Public Forums: Community Engagement for Environmental Literacy, Improved Resilience, and Decision-Making

Funding: 
$499,901
Year: 
2015

By engaging diverse publics in immersive and deliberative learning forums, this three-year project will use NOAA data and expertise to strengthen community resilience and decision-making around a variety of climate and weather-related hazards across the United States. Led by Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes and the Museum of Science Boston, the project will develop citizen forums hosted by regional science centers to create a new, replicable model for learning and engagement.

By engaging diverse publics in immersive and deliberative learning forums, this three-year project will use NOAA data and expertise to strengthen community resilience and decision-making around a variety of climate and weather-related hazards across the United States. Led by Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes and the Museum of Science Boston, the project will develop citizen forums hosted by regional science centers to create a new, replicable model for learning and engagement. These forums, to be hosted initially in Boston and Phoenix and then expanded to an additional six sites around the U.S., will facilitate public deliberation on real-world issues of concern to local communities, including rising sea levels, extreme precipitation, heat waves, and drought. The forums will identify and clarify citizen values and perspectives while creating stakeholder networks in support of local resilience measures. The forum materials developed in collaboration with NOAA will foster better understanding of environmental changes and best practices for improving community resiliency, and will create a suite of materials and case studies adaptable for use by science centers, teachers, and students. With regional science centers bringing together the public, scientific experts, and local officials, the project will create resilience-centered partnerships and a framework for learning and engagement that can be replicated nationwide.

Competition: 2015: ELG for Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events and Environmental Changes
Award Number: 
NA15SEC0080005
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2015 to 03/31/2019
PI: 
Dr. Dan Sarewitz
State: Arizona   County: Maricopa   District: AZ09 
Partners:   Bishop Museum, Science Museum of Minnesota, Northeastern University (NU) / Marine Science Center (MSC), Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Museum of Science Boston, Arizona Science Center, Chabot Space and Science Center, Museum of Life and Science, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, City of Cambridge, U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO), University of Arizona / College of Agriculture & Life Sciences / Arizona Project WET, UM School for the Environment, Boston Harbor Now, City of Boston, Newton Public Schools / Newton North High School, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, University of Southern Alabama / Civil, Coastal, and Environmental Engineering, North Suffolk Mental Health, Arizona State University (ASU) / Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC), City of Louisville City of Honolulu / Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency

Here to the Ocean, a nationally traveling museum exhibition

Funding: 
$750,000
Year: 
2008

The Sciencenter seeks to develop a 1,500-square-foot traveling exhibition, called "Here to the Ocean," on how activity in inland watersheds affects the health of the ocean, and therefore the planet. The unifying theme of the exhibition is "What we do here, has an impact there," and the key take-home message for museum visitors is that ocean water quality is not just a coastal issue.

The Sciencenter seeks to develop a 1,500-square-foot traveling exhibition, called "Here to the Ocean," on how activity in inland watersheds affects the health of the ocean, and therefore the planet. The unifying theme of the exhibition is "What we do here, has an impact there," and the key take-home message for museum visitors is that ocean water quality is not just a coastal issue. This exhibition will travel to museums throughout the United States, reaching an estimated 200,000+ visitors annually for at least seven years, resulting in an estimated total impact of 1.5 million visitors in at least 20 U.S. cities. The core audience of this exhibition will be families with children ages 6-12, and children visiting museums in school groups. "Here to the Ocean" will feature interactive open-ended exhibits that bring watershed science to life, including an immersive experience allowing visitors to conduct their own virtual underwater tours of watersheds by stepping inside and operating a submersible research vehicle on an expedition from a backyard creek all the way to the ocean. This and other exhibits will feature stunning high-definition video footage depicting fauna from various water ecosystems, as well as human activities that affect watershed health. Additional hands-on exhibits will help visitors to understand how watersheds are connected to the ocean, basic concepts in hydrology, the impact of pollution, and what science offers in the way of solutions to watershed problems. Exhibits will be designed to inspire visitors to adopt behaviors that protect their local watersheds. Visitors experiencing this exhibition will: 1) leave with an increased understanding of watershed science that will help them make informed, data-driven decisions on issues relating to watersheds; 2) have an increased awareness of the importance of watershed health and positive attitudes about the need to protect local watersheds; 3) have an increased understanding of the value of science in solving environmental problems and will be inspired to stay involved in science through school and/or career; and 4) feel an increased sense of personal watershed stewardship which they will share with others.

Competition: 2007: ELG for Free-choice Learning
Award Number: 
NA08SEC4690025
Grant Dates: 
06/01/2008 to 09/30/2012
PI: 
Mr. Charles Trautmann
State: New York   County: Tompkins   District: NY23 
Partners:   Cornell University / Cornell Lab of Ornithology

U.S. Virgin Islands Storm Strong Program

Funding: 
$499,998
Year: 
2018

Under leadership from the University of the Virgin Islands, the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, and local, non-profit, long-term, 2017 storm recovery groups, this 5-year project will create the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Storm Strong Program. To date, minimal efforts have been made to engage the USVI community in hurricane education and preparation. As a result, USVI communities face significant, but often preventable, storm risks. This is the Territory’s first sustained, community-based, hurricane hazard preparedness, and community leadership building program.

Under leadership from the University of the Virgin Islands, the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, and local, non-profit, long-term, 2017 storm recovery groups, this 5-year project will create the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Storm Strong Program. To date, minimal efforts have been made to engage the USVI community in hurricane education and preparation. As a result, USVI communities face significant, but often preventable, storm risks. This is the Territory’s first sustained, community-based, hurricane hazard preparedness, and community leadership building program. The USVI Storm Strong Program will engage underserved and underrepresented middle- and high-school youth and their families on all of the Territory’s main islands - St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix - in a program modelled after the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit framework. Youth and their families will: (1) explore the science and hazards associated with hurricanes, (2) assess their communities’ vulnerabilities and associated risks, (3) evaluate personal and community assets and options to increase resilience, (4) prioritize and plan for events occurring before, during, and after a storm, and (5) take action, in this case, through Community Transfer Projects, which will turn the information gained through the Program into local actions to increase individual and community resilience, sharing knowledge and actions with the broader USVI community and beyond. Through this training, ~400 USVI youth and their families will be empowered as environmental leaders and change agents within their communities and important insights will be learned as to how best to engage underrepresented and underserved groups in hazard preparedness. Creation of the USVI Storm Strong Program is timely, given the significant impacts resulting from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two Category 5 hurricanes that devastated the USVI in September 2017. These storms provide a window of opportunity to bring together partners from federal, territorial, non-governmental, academic, and the private sector, to develop a strategic, cohesive, long-term, high-impact, community-based program to improve environmental literacy and extreme weather hazard preparedness in the Territory, goals that align with the mission of NOAA’s Office of Education.

Competition: 2018: ELG for Community Resilience to Extreme Weather Events and Environmental Hazards
Award Number: 
NA18SEC0080010
Grant Dates: 
10/01/2018 to 09/30/2023
PI: 
Dr. Kristin Wilson Grimes
State: U.S. Virgin Islands   County: Saint Thomas   District: VI00 
Partners:   Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) / Region II, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NOAA OR&R's Marine Debris Program, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Human Services, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Natural Resources, University of the Virgin Islands / Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR), University of the Virgin Islands / Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS) at St. Croix, University of the Virgin Islands / Office of the Provost, St. Croix Christian Church, St. John Community Foundation, St. Thomas Recovery Team, Catalyst Miami, The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands University of the Virgin Islands / Center for Excellence in Leadership and Learning / Safety In Paradise