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Wednesday, 30 November 2011 14:59

Minnesota's Changing Climate Updates, November 30

We had another fantastic day of school visits with Will Steger on November 18 when we visited Roseville Area Middle School and MetroTech Career Academy. During each visit, students presented the work that they have been doing with the Minnesota's Changing Climate curriculum and Will spoke to large groups of students. Read more about the November 18 visits.

Published in Climate Lessons

Roseville Area Middle School PhotoMetroTech Career AcademyMetroTech PhotoOn November 18, Will Steger's second day of school visits started at Roseville Area Middle School where Will gave presentations on his experiences in the Arctic and the impacts of climate change to two groups of eighth graders. Since Roseville Area Middle School is a participant in the Parks Climate Challenge program, each presentation began by showing the top public service announcements that students had created about the Mississippi River. It was fun to see these informative and creative videos. Will then spoke to students and answered many of their thoughtful questions. Students were very interested in Will's experiences on expeditions as well as the changes that he had observed over the years.

Next, we went to MetroTech Career Academy where Will met with the environmental science class and environmental club as a small group and then spoke to the whole high school. In the small group meeting, students presented the action projects that they had been working on to find solutions to a variety of environmental issues as a part of the Minnesota's Changing Climate curriculum. Students and staff at MetroTech had also completed a survey assessing their carbon footprint, what they already do to engage in solutions, what are barriers to more action and what they will do differently in the future. They had gathered some excellent data, and it was exciting to see the wonderful ideas that these students had for their action plans!

Thanks again to our fantastic hosts, and we look forward to seeing more examples throughout this year of what students are creating as part of our Minnesota's Changing Climate program!

Published in Climate Lessons
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:06

Students Get Outside With Will Steger

November 10 VisitNovember 10 VisitNovember 10 VisitOn November 10, Will Steger visited two metro area schools and spoke to them about his experiences in the Arctic, the importance of observation and keeping journals and the effects of climate change. The first visit was to Crosby Farm Park with middle school students from Friends School of Minnesota. Students did tree coring and sampling at different sites in the park to collect data about the trees in the area. Friends School of Minnesota visits this site monthly to collect a variety of data throughout the year. They have been doing this program for over 10 years, which gives students the opportunity to learn about the importance of longitudinal data. It will be an excellent opportunity for these students to compare their data with this previously collected data at the end of the year. At Salem Hills Elementary, Will spoke to a third grade class, answered their questions and took them outside to write in the journals that they have been keeping this year. It was wonderful to see students collecting data, observing outdoors and exploring their environment just as Will did when he was young. Students were very familiar with Will and his work, and it was exciting to see the work that students have done and are continuing to do with the Minnesota's Changing Climate curriculum and online classroom.

Thanks to our wonderful hosts and we are looking forward to more school visits with Will this year!


Published in Climate Lessons

 It is hard to believe that November is already here!  We have been busy posting the online classroom submissions and doing a few school visits with Will.  Read more about the visits here.  We hope to start hearing about any projects that you have worked on with your students in the next few months.MNMapresize

Will Steger will be speaking at two public forums in Princeton and Grand Rapids, Minnesota in December.  The focus will be clean air, climate and health.  More information

Congratulations to the Heritage E-STEM school for receiving a Parks Climate Challenge grant to conduct water quality testing on a local water source, identify the problems and design a plan for improvement.  We hope to see more grant proposals from the Parks Climate schools soon!

As always, PLEASE feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback, but also to share what you are up to!  We love seeing reports, journal entries, posters, movies and photos and will be sure to feature them in upcoming newsletters and our blog.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Kristen Poppleton
Ann Benson

Featured Public Service Announcement Video from Wellstone Elementary


In the News
"Challenges to climate change education are common in the classroom, according to a poll of science educators conducted by the National Science Teachers Association. Although 60% of respondents to the on-line poll reported that they were not concerned about how climate change is taught in their school, 82% reported having faced skepticism about climate change and climate change education from students, 54% reported having faced such skepticism from parents, and 26% reported having faced such skepticism from administrators."  Read more

This recent article posted to SEEK gives some great ideas for ways to find support for getting kids outside.  

Project Funding Opportunities
Lexus Eco Challenge: Focus on Air/Climate

Captain Planet Foundation

America's Home Energy Challenge

SEED Grants for Energy Efficiency Projects

Compost Awareness Week Poster Contest

Disney Planet Challenge

Scholarships for Visitng Audubon Center for the Northwoods

Professional Development Opportunities
NOAA's Teacher at Sea Program

Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowships

Published in Climate Lessons

MNMapresizeWill Steger’s school visits will begin next week with visits to Friends School of Minnesota and Salem Hills Elementary. Later this month, he will be visiting Roseville Middle School and MetroTech Career Academy. We are looking forward to these visits and will be posting about them on this Climate Lessons blog.

There have been 3 grant applications submitted from our Parks Climate Challenge Cohort, which have been great to see. We are excited to read the others!

There have been a couple recent articles examining effective climate change communication and teaching. One very interesting paper examines the personality types of Ph.D. climate researchers as well as the general public. It finds that the personality types of climate researchers differ from those of the general public, which has interesting implications for effective climate change communication strategies. Another recent article describes the importance of hands-on activities in teaching about climate change. Hands-on activities allow students to discover the impacts of climate change for themselves rather than just reading about them, which leads to a deeper understanding.

Featured Event

A Sense of Where You Are: Science and Knowing on the Mississippi River, Pat Nunnally, River Life Program Coordinator

Pat Nunnally will explore the Mississippi River, what we know about it and what it means on Wednesday November 9, 2011 at Aster Café in Minneapolis.

Funding Resources

CERTs Seed Grants

The 2012 CERTs Seed Grants have been released, which support community-based clean energy projects.  They are looking for projects that inspire other community groups to take action and provide models that can be replicated. Past funding has gone to projects in schools. For more information:  
Application deadline: November  15, 2011

Youth Garden Grants

The National Gardening Association is continuing its Youth Garden Grants program, which provides Home Depot gift cards to schools and community organizations who plan to garden with young people. For more information:
Application Deadline: November 28, 2011

Great American Can Roundup

Join the Great American Can Roundup and win prizes for being one of the schools that collects and recycles the most aluminum cans. For more information:

Project Saving Species

Collect cell phones for recycling to help save gorilla habitat. If your school collects the most phones, you can win up to $5,000. For more information:

More Funding Suggestions

The Children & Nature Network provides suggestions about how to get funding for taking your students outside:

Future Opportunity

April 2012 is the Children & Nature Newtork’s Let’s Get Outside month. Start planning an outdoor April event with your students to join the movement. This would also be a great opportunity for an action project with your students.

Keep up the good work!

Kristen Poppleton

Ann Benson

Published in Climate Lessons