noaa.gov

NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project

Calling All Educators!

Do you want to learn more about climate science? Become part of a science learning community? Join other educators who are supporting climate resilience? Then you should become a NOAA Climate Steward!

photograph of children who participated in the Climate Stewards program

What is the NOAA Climate Steward Education Project (CSEP)?

CSEP provides formal and informal educators working with elementary through university age students with sustained professional development, collaborative tools, and support to build a climate-literate public that is actively engaged in climate stewardship. CSEP also provides support for educators to execute climate stewardship (mitigation or adaptation) projects with their audiences to increase understanding of climate science and practical actions to reduce the impact of climate change. The project is part of NOAA's portfolio of activities to strengthen ocean, climate, and atmospheric science education. 

There are two levels of involvement

Level I.  If you are only interested professional development opportunities in climate science and have no interest in doing a stewardship project, contact Bruce.Moravchik@noaa.gov, subject line: "Join CSEP Education Community" to be put on the educator email list for announcements about resources, webinars and book club announcements.

Level II. If you are interested in professional development opportunities and:

Then you will need to apply to the Stewardship Community of CSEP. You will be committing to:

How do I apply?

The application to join the Stewardship Community of CSEP includes a proposed climate stewardship action project. Applications will be accepted until midnight on January 18, 2015.  Applicants will be selected based on their qualifications and the merits of their proposal.

Go to http://goo.gl/jCLVnm to apply online.

Note:  Stewardship action project proposals are NOT proposals for funding at this time. They are solely meant for application into the program. If accepted, participants will work with a peer review group and a peer mentor to refine their proposal which may be submitted for funding of up to $2000.00 during the summer of 2015. Accepted refined proposals will be funded for the 2015/2016 academic year.

 Accepted educators will be notified by January 30, 2015

A Climate Stewardship Action Project is...

A climate stewardship action project must involve action based behavioral activities focused on the mitigation of or adaptation to climate change. The IPCC defines climate change mitigation as, "A human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases" and climate change adaptation as, "The process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects."*

Climate change mitigation generally involves engaging in activities that reduce the production of human generated greenhouse gas emissions, i.e. energy reduction/conservation in homes and transportation options, recycling, etc. or increasing sinks of carbon dioxide i.e. reforestation, planting regionally appropriate gardens, etc. Climate change adaptation involves making changes in our environment or the way we do things to respond to changes in climate i.e. habitat restoration, planting regionally appropriate gardens, establishing regionally appropriate pollinator habitats, birdhouses, etc.

*Glossary/Definition IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) Working Group III Mitigation of Climate Change (http://report.mitigation2014.org/drafts/final-draft postplenary/ipcc_wg3_ar5_final-draft_postplenary_annex-i.pdf)

What We Do


Local Educators measuring elevation change due to sea level rise in the wetlands surrounding the NOAA Oxford Cooperative Laboratory

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:

Disseminating Climate Change Information: It's Kids' Stuff!
(Kottie – Elementary School Teacher, Blauvelt, New York)

After learning about climate change, 5th graders in New York were anxious to disseminate their important findings. They knew they needed the help of adults. But many adults don't know how to talk to kids about this important topic. "It's too scary," some say. "How do I even begin?" others lament. So they helped their teacher write an article about how to talk to children about climate change. These 11-year-olds know what they're talking about! Last fall they researched the Earth's changing climate, evaluated and synthesized information to write essays, participated in teleconferences with students in South Africa who were also studying climate change, and took steps toward mitigating global warming by recycling and reducing their energy use. Their teacher and the students, hope you'll spread the word.

Click here to read the Article Talking to Children about Climate Change.

Climate Stewardship Through Hands-On Investigation: The Anti-Idling Campaign
(Dale — Elementary School Teacher, Washington, D.C.)

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.

The Polar Bear Challenge
(Chris — Environmental Educator, Salt Lake City, Utah)

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.

Model United Nations Climate Change Summit
(Turtle — Middle School Teacher, Albuquerque, N.M.)

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.

Climate Change Impacts on Wetlands: Education and Action
(Jacob — Elementary School Teacher, Blauvelt, N.Y.)

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.

Schoolyard Garden
(Kathryn — Elementary School Teacher, Columbia, Md.)

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.

Ocean and Climate Literacy at Hale Kula
(Richard — Asst. Professor, Oahu, Hawaii)

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.

Your Response to Climate Change Can Save You Money!
(Lisa — Professor, New York, N.Y.)

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.

  • children holding up a globe

    Hurray for Planet Earth!

    Elementary students in Blauvelt, New York hope to change the world by helping adults learn how to talk to kids about climate change.

  • Children planting a garden outdoors

    Planting a Garden

    Elementary school students in Beltsville, MD., planting a school garden. Students monitored plant growth, applying their math skills and incorporated journaling.

  • Students coloring on poster board

    Anti-idling Campaign

    Elementary school students in Washington, D.C., draw concept maps of campus environmental factors impacting climate change. After discussing each one as possible areas to target, they decide to conduct an anti-idling study and campaign.

  • Students looking at a computer screen together

    Collecting Data

    Elementary school students in Washington, D.C., collecting data from carbon dioxide and temperature probes determining the impacts of idling vehicles on climate change as well as their school environment.

  • Students in discussion around a table

    Climate Summit Simulation

    Middle school students in Albuquerque, N.M., conducting a student-led model United Nations simulation of the 2011 Durban Climate Summit. The students experience the roles of diplomats and scientists working together to develop a framework to provide global solutions as world leaders.

  • Two women demonstrating in front of a museum display

    Climate Stewards Workshop

    Local educators and NOAA Climate Stewards participate in a hands-on workshop at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Monona, WI.

  • People in a field using a string to measure

    Measuring Elevation Change

    Local educators measure elevation change due to sea level rise in the wetlands surrounding the NOAA Oxford Cooperative Laboratory in Oxford, Md.

  • A group of women inspecting samples

    NSTA Climate Change Impacts Symposia

    Educators from across the country participate in 'Climate Change Impacts on Western Coasts, the Ocean and Atmosphere,' a half-day symposium at the National Science Teachers Education Association National Conference.

  • A group collection water samples on a beach

    Collecting Water Quality Data

    Middle school students in Hawaii collect water quality data to look at how the water surrounding their island, and organisms living in it, are being impacted from global climate change.

  • Students in canoes posing on the water for a photo

    Seining and Fish Identification

    Elementary School Students from Blauvelt, N.Y., canoeing through the Indian Kill marsh and engaged in seining and fish identification at the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve Norrie Point Environmental Center as part of a curriculum focused on the importance of estuarine environments and the impacts of climate change upon them.

  • Photo of a small tree slice displaying the rings within the tree

    Examining Tree Ring Samples

    Elementary school students from Blauvelt, N.Y., examine tree ring samples at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, analyzing climatic effects on the trees growth over time.

  • Students looking at a slice of tree

    Analyzing Climatic Effects on Tree Growth

    Elementary school students from Blauvelt, N.Y., continue to examine tree ring samples at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, analyzing climatic effects on the trees growth over time.

  • A student's drawing for class

    Inventing Solutions 1

    Inventions designed by elementary school students from Flagstaff, Ariz., in response to a three week mini-unit addressing the issue of how humans can slow the effects of climate change, reduce their carbon footprints, and maintain healthy levels of biodiversity. Teams of student "inventors" presented how each invention could be part of the solution to mitigate the effects of negative human impacts on global ecosystems.

  • A student's drawing for class

    Inventing Solutions 2

    Inventions designed by elementary school students from Flagstaff, Ariz., in response to a three week mini-unit addressing the issue of how humans can slow the effects of climate change, reduce their carbon footprints, and maintain healthy levels of biodiversity. Teams of student "inventors" presented how each invention could be part of the solution to mitigate the effects of negative human impacts on global ecosystems.

  • A student's drawing for class

    Inventing Solutions 3

    Inventions designed by elementary school students from Flagstaff, Ariz., in response to a three week mini-unit addressing the issue of how humans can slow the effects of climate change, reduce their carbon footprints, and maintain healthy levels of biodiversity. Teams of student "inventors" presented how each invention could be part of the solution to mitigate the effects of negative human impacts on global ecosystems.


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