Hello Partners!

22 Dec

Welcome to the Climate Change Education Partnership Live Blog!

Beginning Wednesday, January 11 at 9AM EST, we will be posting regular updates about the exciting strategic planning event being hosted in Palmetto Bay, Florida.

Here’s the “Live Feed” of our strategy planning meeting!

Activity Number One: The Suite of Tools to Change the Conversation about Climate Change is wrapping up. Participants were asked to write down their “dream” climate change communication tools on large post it notes, to then be posted on the front wall. We have collapsed these tools into the following categories: Local Network, Training, Internet/Social Media, Engagement Strategies, Youth, Evaluation Tools, Incentives/Goals, Interactive Tools, and Audiences.

Dr. Jessica Thompson and Dr. Tom Chermack facilitate a discussion based on the tools participants have written down on the post it notes. Participants are sharing ideas and insights with the whole group to move towards climate change communication strategies.

Dr. Jessica Thompson has begun a presentation based on the Phase II goals to help clarify the purpose of the morning activites. The Strategy Goal (based on visitor surveys, interviews, and regional workshops) is to Facilitate Place-based Climate Change Engagement. Our target audiences are staff, communities (local government, youth, other agencies and NGO’s), and visitors. Desired outcomes include building relationships and sharing resources, and demonstrate community engagement. Objectives are building local networks and promoting sustainable behavior change(s). Activities are facilitate staff and gateway community collaboration by putting climate change into local context and SEEING the changes and issues together.

The “shared vision” for Phase II is being discussed. Where do we want to be in 5 years? In 10 years? How do we articulate this? What are measurable outcomes? Participants nationwide are encouraged to think about these questions and share ideas.

The group is sharing insights on how we should go about communicating climate change. What will be enough? What will be effective? What is the best way to encourage changing the conversation about climate change? Social media, youth, sharing knowledge, and electronic venues have been a large part of the discussion so far.

Credible messengers for climate change education is an important aspect to our goals. Who are people going to trust? We need to be aware of who people are going to trust about information on climate change. TALKING is IMPORTANT. The conversation needs to be restarted about climate change, it is necessary to be talking about it and being pushed forward. Rejuvenated climate change information and conversation is encouraged.

After a lunch break, we will be breaking into smaller groups based on the World Cafe model used at prior regional workshops to discuss the tools specific to certain target audiences.

The second part of the day will begin with a NSF Webinar on Phase II Proposal Preparation for participants to engage in.

If anyone would like a copy of the Webinar please email CWilson@nsf.gov

Now the participants will be splitting into smaller groups to discuss some climate change communication tools. They are tasked with 1) Describe the tool, 2) Describe the intended audience for that tool, and 3) Describe the expected outcome from using that tool with each audience. The groups will write these tasks down on post its yet again, and then have the opportunity to move about the room to discuss other tools with other groups. At each table, there will be post it notes for these three audiences; visitors, staff, and youth. Participants should write down the tasks on each of the post its for each of the audiences. Following this activity, there will be a discussion based on the outcomes of the post it notes from the tables.

The past two hours or so of the workshop have been spent talking and discussing in small groups. The groups were broken up based upon communication tools which included citizen science, climate camps, interpretive learning, mobile media, websites, digital story telling, and training. There were many great ideas shared across the board that included expected outcomes for staff members, youth, and park/refuge visitors. This allowed everyone in the meeting to get up and move around and share their ideas with one another while discussing important communication tools. Overall, the activity generated some wonderful ideas for Phase II communication tools and resources for doing so.

As Dr. Tom Chermack is wrapping up the first day of the meeting, he is asking the participants if they feel ready to discuss with their regional areas about specific tools for their areas tomorrow. The answer seems to be YES, they are READY to talk with the other members of their regional areas about ways to communicate climate change in their sites. Tomorrow’s schedule is discussed, and we plan to be in the place-based groups for most of the day. We will be searching for both human and financial resources for our Phase II proposal and hope to clarify some of these tomorrow. Barriers, opportunities, and activities¬† for the project will also be part of the conversation and information discussed. We look forward to continuing the workshop tomorrow and moving towards changing the conversation about climate change! Stay tuned!

The second day of the Climate Change Education Partnership Strategic Planning Workshop is about to begin! Participants are networking over morning coffee and breakfast while the meeting is being set up.

The first part of the morning has begun with a few presentations from various participants. The first was about the Climate Interpreter Website, which provides opportunity for people to connect with other climate change communicators, by Scott Mackenzie. Next, Outdoor Nation discussed their program which provides grants for students to start their own outdoor program in parks. This allows students to have the opportunity to get outside and have a direct hand experience with the natural world. It also promotes outdoor recreation and activities, as well as helps move the conversation about climate change. Outdoor Nation has been in business for about two years, and continues to progress and grow!

Dr. Tom Chermack now facilitates a recap and summary from day 1 as well as outlines the tasks for today’s meeting. Today’s meeting will focus on the regional sites getting together to discuss and brainstorm the desired tools for each specific site. The participants will be tasked with figuring out what tools will be effective for their sites based upon research and data found by the Climate Change Education Partnership Team. After this, there will be a group sharing and discussion before lunch.

The groups have met for the first task, which was to discuss what tools they need to improve climate change communication in their respective areas. Now we will be meeting back up as a large group to share what the groups have decided on for their tools.

Kenai Peninsula has decided on the following tools; a Climate Change Education Partnership liaison or coordinator to help work with the communities in Alaska to coordinate planning events, get all of the entities involved with the same climate change message, etc. Climate camps were also discussed, as well as ways to be able to communicate important climate change stories. Training modules to create a consistent forum for communicating climate change, and venues to bring everyone together were also brought up for tools.

The Puget Sound area has discussed the following tools for their region; building upon the climate change camp program currently going on at the North Cascades Institute into the other parks and refuges in the region, and using youth advocates to be climate change communicators. They also discussed having proper follow up after these climate camp programs to help support students who have done the program and what the next steps for them should be. Youth built stories being used by professionals to motivate the climate change movement would also be a helpful tool.

Northern Colorado discussed the following tools; hire a liaison to work between Rocky Mountain National Park and Rocky Mountain Arsenal to link the climate change communication messages. Bringing people from all of the agencies in Colorado together to discuss the tools and build relationships/pathways/collaboration is a key component for moving climate change communication. Climate camps were also discussed as a way for youth to get involved in the movement.

Washington DC discussed the following tools; the ability to create mobile media, digital story telling, to model what social media will look like when the program is done, and to create an experience for the visitors and people in the parks to understand what climate change looks like and how it is affecting them. The story of what climate change means is important and they would like to tell it though social media and mobile media venues.They would also like to involve the youth in this process, as well as create climate camps for them.

South Florida discussed the following tools; effective ways to communicate what mitigation strategies the parks are doing currently to visitors, create a network or “trail” to help link up climate change stories across the Florida parks and refuges, trail side exhibits that will help interpret climate change effects, build a framework to tie in regional and time changes in regards to the landscapes, and youth engagement.

The group as a whole is now discussing what they noticed from the small group tools. A diversity of products across the nation, local youth engagement, regions diver deeper into developing their own tools, enthusiasm about the potential of the project, and the core team having a huge role to play as a way to communicate between all of the parks were all topics brought up that participants found as interesting and good to hear.

As the lunch break comes to an end, Dr. Jessica Thompson has asked an important task for the afternoon small group meetings. She would like each of the regional areas to select one person to be the P.I for their area on the project. These people will be written into the Phase II proposal and will become very important key players in the implementation of its entailment. The other task for the first part of the afternoon will for the areas to discuss what the barriers and strengtheners are for their tools. We want to know what will help implement ideas and what will slow them down.

The afternoon has been spent in the small groups of participants from their respective areas. They have come up with what human/financial resources they will need to implement their tools. On top of this, they have identified barriers/forces working towards their tools and goals. This information will be posted on our website after the notes from each session have been updated. Each area came up with wonderful ideas and we can’t wait to see where all of these will move our project!

The past two days have exceeded our expectations. We have a solid foundation of tools, information, and resources to build our Phase II proposal upon. We need to nurture and grow from the relationships we have made over the workshop and stay moving towards changing the conversation about climate change. There are some next steps between now and March (when the proposal for Phase II is due) where we are going to need continued support to make all of the information shared over the past two days one cohesive document. Immediately following the workshop you will be able to find typed notes from all of the regional meetings and other notes from the meeting. We will keep marching forward with this project and we are so happy to have so many wonderful, brilliant people on our team! Stay tuned for more updates from the Climate Change Education Partnership!!


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