You can’t make carbon go away. It just changes form, so you’d better figure out what to do with what is already in the atmosphere. Then you’d better figure out what you want the world to be like because it’s not going away and it stays around for a really long time. — Middle School student
The NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project (CSEP) is part of NOAA's portfolio of activities designed to strengthen ocean, climate, and atmospheric science education. CSEP increases understanding of essential climate concepts, providing educators with ready access to reliable scientific information through an array of professional development (PD) opportunities. Through direct interaction with scientists and education specialists, participants receive instruction in the use of data resources, digital tools, and other innovative technologies. Educators benefit from an active online learning community that offers collaborative space, web seminars, conference symposia, workshops, and virtual conferences. Armed with this knowledge, NOAA Climate Stewards design and implement environmentally friendly action plans to reduce the “carbon footprint” in their own communities.
Interested in becoming a NOAA Climate Steward? The next application season begins in the Fall of 2013. Application requirements and further details will be posted on this site at that time.
The NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project boasts a broad reach, with over 200 participants in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
NOAA Climate Stewards include professional teachers from elementary through college age, and informal educators who share their expertise with the public in nature and science centers, aquaria, and zoos.
CSEP is organized into six regions, each of which is coordinated by leaders who are also project participants. Regional Leaders foster communication and collaboration among educators within each region. This includes sharing information about regional climate change, collaborating on mutual interests, or taking advantage of and sharing resources specific to each region.
Local Educators measuring elevation change due to sea level rise in the wetlands surrounding the NOAA Oxford Cooperative Laboratory at a hands-on workshop.
The NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project provides formal and informal educators sustained professional development, collaborative online tools, and the support to build a climate-literate public engaged in climate stewardship. Climate Stewards educate themselves and others as they work with their students and communities to reduce their carbon footprints and “go green.” The following are examples of CSEP educator climate stewardship projects:
Elementary school students designed a project to reduce idling cars waiting to drop off and pick up students at the school. Students measured the temperature and carbon dioxide levels of the school driveway before, during, and after the carpool line-up. They also counted which waiting cars were idling and which had their engines off. Lastly, they recorded the model and fuel ratings of the cars. Students used their results to develop an anti-idling campaign, which they presented to the student body and posted on the school website and e-newsletter.
(Dale — Elementary School Teacher, Washington, D.C.)
Elementary school teachers learned about how human activities affect climate change and impact various habitats as well as the animals that live in them. Teachers and students developed classroom projects to conserve energy that involved making at least one change to their daily habits for 21 days. Teachers took pictures of their students and parents in action, calculating the amount of carbon dioxide they prevented from entering the atmosphere.
(Chris — Environmental Educator, Salt Lake City, Utah)
Middle school students created and led a model United Nations simulation of the 2011 Durban Climate Summit, experiencing the roles of diplomats attempting to solve a significant global problem and scientists as contributors of knowledge. Working together, the students developed a framework to provide global solutions as world leaders. Students representing members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change worked with computer models and data to develop a well-rounded understanding of paleoclimate, current climatic trends, carbon cycling, and modeling future outcomes. Others took on the roles of UN diplomats researching their respective nations, engaged in practice UN simulations, and developed a working understanding of the diplomatic process. After the climate summit, students said that they finally understood why it was so difficult to get a world consensus on climate change. Post assessments also demonstrated awareness of students’ personal contribution to carbon emissions—that small steps (e.g., playing outside, not using the dishwasher when it isn’t full) matter if enough people do them.
(Turtle — Middle School Teacher, Albuquerque, N.M.)
Elementary school students learned about climate change, then studied one issue effecting their local environment: production and disposal of plastic bags. Students took a “Plastic Bag Reduction Pledge,” to reduce their plastic bags use over time. They held a plastic bag drive, collecting all the bags the school community throws out in a month. Each week, they calculated the weight, number and carbon footprint of the bags and reported their data to the school community to see if this impacted plastic bag use in subsequent weeks.
(Jacob — Elementary School Teacher, Blauvelt, N.Y.)
Elementary school students learned about their effect on the environment through a lesson called “What is Your Carbon Footprint?” The students started a vermicomposting bin to minimize their lunch waste. They also created a school garden to show the importance of plants to the environment, and how local farming and food consumption helps decrease carbon dioxide.
(Kathryn — Elementary School Teacher, Columbia, Md.)
Elementary school students and their teachers learned about ocean acidification and its effect on indigenous sea life. Students built a “cultivation station” to observe the effects of ocean acidification on the growth and reproduction of local sea urchins, and worked to reduce their carbon footprints using an online carbon footprint calculator.
(Richard — Asst. Professor, Oahu, Hawaii)
College students recorded information about their energy usage and expenses, and developed individual plans to reduce their carbon footprints and increase their savings. Students “journaled” their activities, graphing their data to visualize their successes or failures. After one month, students were asked to look at their data, reflect on what they learned about climate change, and determine whether this affected their attitude toward reducing their carbon footprint and saving money.
(Lisa — Professor, New York, N.Y.)