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Summer Institute 2008 - In Review

Written by  Education
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Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

Jim Hansen
Jim Hansen speaking at the Summer
Institute 2008
Jim Hansen with Students
Jim Hansen and Will Steger with
Christie Manning
Christie Manning speaking at the
Summer Institute 2008
Teachers in a breakout session
Don Shelby
Don Shelby speaking at the Summer
Institute 2008

The third annual Will Steger Foundation Summer Institute for Climate Change Education was held August 11-13 at the Science Museum of Minnesota and provided educators with a wealth of information and resources to bring to their classroom. The theme, Changing School Culture focused on reducing a school's carbon footprint, from classroom to community. The Will Steger Foundation has also created a new curriculum binder, which gives teachers the tools to teach climate change in the classroom. Educators received the binder at the Institute and found it to be a valuable resource that they look forward to implementing into their curriculum.

(The WSF) educational binder-it’s like a miracle-I will use it immediately. - Minnesota Educator

The keynote speaker, Dr. James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, gave teachers a powerful presentation on the science behind global warming and the changes needed to solve this problem. Will Steger also shared his eyewitness account and educators were inspired by his passion for the issue. Andrew Revkin, science writer for The New York Times gave a live online presentation on the coverage of climate change in the media and the importance of engaging youth on the issue.

Day two focused on theory and methodology. Christie Manning, visiting professor at Macalester College gave a presentation on the psychology of sustainable behavior. Kristen Poppleton and Kristen Daniels, both WSF educational consultants, gave an overview of WSF global warming 101 curriculum and practical applications for the classroom. The day concluded with students from middle school, high school and area colleges speaking about actions they have taken to promote sustainability and global warming awareness in their schools. The students received a standing ovation and the educators found hope in these personal testimonials that gave them many ideas to bring back to their own schools.

Lots of very useable, hands-on resources and ideas. - Educator Quote
I was completely inspired by the youth presentations and emerging leaders programs. - Educator Quote

The third and final day began with a presentation by Diana McKeown of Metro Clean Energy Resource Teams and Neely Crane-Smith of the Center for Energy and Environment on how to assess and reduce a school’s carbon footprint. The rest of the day was filled with concurrent sessions on a variety of ways to bring sustainable change to a school: from composting food to retrofitting school buses to reduce harmful emissions. We closed with an inspiring and poetic keynote presentation from Don Shelby, WCCO anchor and reporter, and longtime friend of the Will Steger Foundation. WSF binder curriculum is free for download from along with PowerPoint presentations from our speakers.

[The concurrent sessions] narrowed it down and gave me ideas on where to start, and how to start small: things I can actually do and things my students cando too! - Educator Quote
Fabulous speakers dealing with a wide variety of information related to global warming. - Educator Quote

Presentations (available in PowerPoint):


Media Coverage:

MPRAugust 12, 2008 - 7:20 a.m.
Minnesota Public Radio
Morning Edition
Click on “Listen to Feature Audio”


MPRAugust 12, 2008
Minnesota Public Radio
Article: Global Warming Team Finds Audience in Minnesota



Knight ScienceAugust 12, 2008
Knight Science Journalism Tracker (MIT)
Article: Minnesota Public Radio: A Global Warming Road Show

We would like to thank our Summer Institute sponsors and organizations that donated gifts and products for the program:

Blue Sky Guide DoIt! Green
Stop GlobalWarming Orion Society
Prairie Restoration
SMM Valley Natural Foods SuperValu

Additional Info

  • Topic: Changing Behavior, Climate Change Science, Energy, Solutions
  • Expert: Christie Manning , Environmental Psychology, Macalester College, J. Drake Hamilton, Science Policy Director, Fresh Energy, Dr. James Hansen, NASA Climate Scientist, Lisa Daniels, Windustry
  • Resource Type: PDF
Last modified on Friday, 24 August 2012 13:16


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