In FY 2017, NOAA’s Climate Stewards Education Project expanded its roster to include more than 1,350 formal and informal educators, and engaged more than 3,100 educators in monthly webinars and workshops in Hawaii, Alaska, Connecticut, and at the National Science Teachers Association National Conference in Nashville, TN. Nationally recognized climate scientists, educators, and communicators led webinars and workshops that focused on the regional impacts of climate change to local communities and indigenous populations, engaged students in hands-on STEM education, and integrated the themes of community resilience and stewardship into educators’ efforts. Standards-based learning opportunities and the Next Generation Science Standards were also highlighted. Webinar participants learned about blue carbon coastal conservation, climate change impacts on food, water resources, aquaculture, and energy conservation, and more. Follow-up webinar and workshop evaluations showed that 91 percent of participants learned from their participation, and 94 percent planned to use what they learned in their work over the next year, sharing information and resources with more than 55,000 colleagues, youth, and adults.
As of November 2017, the NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project is now known as the NOAA Planet Stewards Education Project. The project is expanding its scope to include a wider range of NOAA topics related to understanding and protecting our environment.
Stewardship is putting knowledge into action and is an NOS priority. The NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project (CSEP) supports educators to develop and implement hands-on stewardship activities to increase their communities’ resilience to the impacts of climate change. In FY 2017, 23 educators from 14 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands carried out CSEP projects, including planting trees to decrease atmospheric carbon dioxide, building rain gardens to mitigate the impacts of storm runoff, and developing and evaluating green roof designs. More than 2,100 students from kindergarten through university participated in the projects. An additional 32 educators from 15 states received professional development and support through a peer-mentoring network to develop new projects to implement in FY2018. These projects ranged from removing invasive plants and restoring native Hawaiian vegetation to starting an electronics recycling center in rural Michigan, and from planting a “Three-Sisters garden” (of corn, beans, and squash) before hosting Native American storytelling events to teaching sustainable gardening and water conservation.
Websites are the primary means through which NOS provides tools, data, and services to the public. Given the global audience for this information, NOS aggressively adopted the federal government's "cloud first" approach. The commercial cloud provides reliability, security, and capacity to handle significant surges in web traffic. In FY 2017, NOS successfully moved 38 websites to the commercial cloud with zero site downtime during the transition. Importantly, updates to the websites can be made rapidly, supporting NOS’s capacity to communicate quickly with constituents.
Traffic to the NOS website to the NOS website increased 33.6% during FY 2017 compared to FY 2016; monthly website traffic peaked at an all-time high 40.1 million visits in September, 2017. The number of Facebook “likes” grew more than 10% (from 101,262 to 111,373), the number of Twitter followers grew more than 15.9% (from 146,820 to 170,172), and the number of Instagram followers grew more than 187.8% (from 13,060 to 37,582). During its 30-day National Ocean Month campaign, NOS reached more than 500,000 users on Facebook. The top tweet during this campaign had a reach potential of 1,484,198 people.