WSF Contributes to Climate.Gov Educational Resources
Learning through Connectivity
People's Climate March
WSF is proud to send a delegation of high school youth from our YEA! MN program to the People's Climate March in New York City, September 21.
Finalists announced for Youth Voices of Change
Fan of films? See the top finalists in the 2014 Youth Voices of Change climate change youth video contest from Minnesota and around the country. Winners will be announced at the 2014 Youth Voices Film Festival at the MN State Fair, August 22nd in the Ec-Experience Pavilion.
Ride for the Will Steger Foundation!
Join the Midwest Climate Ride in September 2014 and support the Will Steger Foundation at the same time!
2014 Summer Institute for Climate Change & Energy Education
August 4-6, 2014 Audubon Center of the North Woods, Sandstone, MN
Over 60 educators joined us for our Summer Institute. We share the experience with you - the presentations, photos, documents and more - while our memories are fresh.
Most Recent Posts
WSF Contributes to Climate.Gov Educational Resources
Written by Nicole Rom, Executive Director
A brand new climate change education resource is now available - just in time for the school year! This excellent web resource helps bring the National Climate Assessment to life through guiding questions, important graphs and figures and supporting lesson plans and activities.
Climate Commitments Take Shape
Written by eNewsletterKudos to Minnesota-based General Mills for stepping up its commitments on climate change! The commitments make General Mills the first major food and beverage company to implement targets to cut emissions from across all of its operations and supply chains. General Mills Community Action is a supporter of our effective professional development offerings, including our annual Summer Institute. We thank General Mills for their leadership and support!
Learning through Connectivity
Written by Savannah Duby, WSF Youth Climate CoordinatorThe second iteration of the Emerging Leaders Mentorship Program successfully came to a close, after matching 21 cross-generational pairs of organizers and supporting them in an six month shared learning experience.
Reflections on Changing Minds at Roseville High School
Written by Grant Johnson, Roseville Area High School
My passion first started when I saw Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, where I wondered how we as a society could overlook such an obvious crisis looming overhead, or at least obvious to some of us. I wanted to be a part of the solution, not the problem.
Audubon Center of the North Woods to Host Will Steger Foundation's "Summer Institute for Energy Education"
Written by Media
July 10, 2014
Sandstone, MN -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/10/2014 -- This summer, the Will Steger Foundation is once again hosting its annual Summer Institute for Energy Education at the Audubon Center of the North Woods near Sandstone, MN.
Held August 4-6, 2014, this is the Midwest’s climate change education event of the year for formal and non-formal educators of K12 students in grades 3-12 to connect with educators who care about quality teaching and who want to bring climate change and energy concepts to their educational setting.
Our newest Citizen Climate curriculum emphasizes civic engagement and helps teachers and students understand the critical and complex climate solutions being discussed on the national and international stage. In the curriculum we recommend playing the Stabilization Wedge Game, a game produced by Princeton University's Carbon Mitigation Initiative . The goal of the game is to demonstrate that climate change is a problem which can be solved by implementing today's technologies to reduce CO2 emissions. The game creators, Stephen Pacala and Robert H. Socolow, show that the difference between maintaining our increasing levels of CO2 and leveling out our emissions of CO2 in the next 50 years is approximately 200 billion tons of CO2, and if illustrated graphically is a triangle (see below from Carbon Mitigation Initiative, Princeton University ).
The object of the game is to keep the next fifty years of CO2 emissions flat, using eight 25 billion ton wedges from a variety of different strategies which fit into the stabilization triangle. Students have the opportunity to select from a variety of different strategies categorized as efficiency and conservation, nuclear energy, fossil-fuel based strategies, and renewables and bio storage to fill their triangle with wedges. The game is a good exercise for thinking about all the factors that go into the decision making process, such as money, political will, public opinion etc. I have enjoyed using it with students, but have found it difficult sometime to engage them because the solutions are generally disconnected from daily life.
This week the Garrison Institutes's Climate, Mind and Behavior Project , in cooperation with the Natural Resources Defense Council , came out with what they are calling informally the "Behavioral Wedge." They show how the United States alone could reduce its CO2 emissions by 1 billion tons through easy and inexpensive actions. Actions include, carpooling twice a week or telecommuting once a week; washing clothes in cold water; and unplugging or shutting off electronics more often. The actions outlined in the report, are more relevant to the average student and citizen than those in the Stabilization Wedge Game, and could possibly be integrated into the game when playing with students as a follow up, or as an introduction to solutions they can implement themselves. Let us know how you used it in your classroom, and if we adapt it for our own use we will be sure to post it!
Step 1: Calculate your carbon footprint
As with any diet, all the little things add up – a re-charger here, an incandescent bulb there, no one’s going to notice, right? Well, you might be surprised at how much carbon you personally emit. Try using one of these carbon calculators to get the big picture on your carbon footprint: The Safe Climate Calculator , The Home Energy Saver , and The Home Energy Checkup .
We all know about walking, biking, and public transit, or swapping out your conventional light bulbs for compact fluorescents. But did you know that you can save energy by insulating your water heater? Or that buying locally grown food means using less fossil fuels? Here are some tips from Audubon Magazine on how to start your “low-carbon diet.”
Step 3: Offset your remaining emissions
Emissions offsetting involves using or enhancing natural processes that trap carbon dioxide and “sink” it (take it out of the atmosphere by transforming it into solid carbon). Carbon sinks include forests, fens, and oceanic plankton. Planting trees and reforestation are some of the best long-term means of offsetting carbon emissions. You can purchase emissions offsets from companies and nonprofit organizations that plant the number of trees needed to offset a specific amount of emissions – say, the amount generated by your family’s round-trip vacation flight. There are many such companies that you can find over the internet. But, buyer beware – some of these companies are scams or involve questionable practices (such as bulldozing existing forests, ironically enough, to plant enough trees to fill the promised quota). Conduct some research about the companies you are interested in purchasing emissions offsets from in order to find out more about their business history.
Here are some companies that the Will Steger Foundation has researched and found to be reputable: Carbonfund.org , Terrapass, and Native Energy.
I came across this great video today on TED: Ideas Worth Spreading. It is only 4 minutes, 14 seconds long, but it gives a great peak into the scientific research that can go into the making of a headline.
In 4 minutes, atmospheric chemist Rachel Pike provides a glimpse of the massive scientific effort behind the bold headlines on climate change, with her team -- one of thousands who contributed -- taking a risky flight over the rainforest in pursuit of data on a key molecule.
This week the Colbert Report on Comedy Central featured a "Science catfight" between Joe Bastardi , a meteorologist for Accuweather and Brenda Ekwurzel , a climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. The report is entertaining to watch, but also has some clearly stated claims that would be easy and interesting to investigate. Watch the clip with your students and ask them to write down some of the claims they hear from both Joe and Brenda. Ask them to do some internet research to see what sort of support there may be. Share in class and let us know what you find by clicking on the leave a comment button below!
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Science Catfight - Joe Bastardi vs. Brenda Ekwurzel|
I came across the Climate Wizard a few weeks ago and have been playing around with it since then. It isn't too complicated and gives students (and teachers!) an opportunity to explore a number of different aspects of climate change science including historical temperature and precipitation averages, and future climate predictions based on a number of different model scenarios. The Wizard is a good way to introduce models, how they work, and why different models show different prediction results. It also is a good example of ways to illustrate numerical data visually. One thing I thought was interesting was the button in the upper right hand corner that allowed you to get the values that were used in creating the model. This seemed like a great teachable moment.
Tools like this that allow students to customize their experiences working with data and essentially give them a chance to "play" a bit, are great starting points for discussions aroud climate change science, how to represent data and the complicated world of modeling and predictions.
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