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NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project

NOAA Climate Stewards Banner with Earth and Children

What is NOAA Climate Stewards?

The NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project (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 actively engaged in climate stewardship. CSEP also provides support for educators to develop and execute climate stewardship (mitigation and/or adaptation) projects with their audiences to increase understanding of climate science and take practical actions to reduce the impacts of climate change.

Read about CSEP educator's stewardship projects

aurora australis

In the Spring 2016 issue of the education journal, The Earth Scientist, CSEP educators share their stories, innovations, and resources you can incorporate into your education setting. Some articles have links to background resources, supporting materials, and student worksheets you can download and adapt. We hope you enjoy this special NOAA Climate Stewards edition of The Earth Scientist!

Two levels of involvement

I. The Education Community.

Participants in the Education Community are invited to participate in face to face workshops, webinars, book/discussion club meetings, and special professional development opportunities, as well as receive educational materials/resources and readings through our moderated CSEP Listserv. Participants in the education community are asked to participate in CSEP evaluation efforts i.e. online surveys, and encouraged to use the Listserv to share climate science and education opportunities as well as resources with fellow educators around the country.

Join the Education Community,
Sign up for the Listserv

II. The Stewardship Community.

If you are interested in professional development and the opportunity to receive:

  • Funding up to $2000.00 to develop and implement a climate stewardship action project. (definition below)
  • Travel reimbursements to attend and present at selected workshops and/or national conferences (following the successful completion of a stewardship action project.)
  • Special professional development opportunities.
  • Monetary and educational resource prizes.

Then you'll want to apply to the Stewardship Community (see how below.) If accepted you are committing to:

  • Develop a climate stewardship action project (definition below.)
  • Participate in/view monthly CSEP Webinars during evening hours – usually the 1st Monday of every month ~1hour. Videos are archived.
  • View and reflect on five archived CSEP webinar videos (2016 or earlier) ~1hour/video.
  • Participate in a Stewardship Action Project Peer Review Group - meetings during evening hours (~ 1 hour/month).
  • Use the CSEP Wiki to post stewardship action project plans, progress updates, results, share resources, and comments with other CSEP educators.
  • Participate in CSEP evaluation efforts i.e. online surveys.

Stewardship Community - How to Join

Applications to join the 2017 CSEP Stewardship Community are open until midnight, November 20, 2016. Applications require the submission of a brief climate stewardship action project proposal. Project proposals are NOT reviewed for funding at the time of application. If accepted, participants will work with a Stewardship Action Project Peer Review Group to refine their proposals which may be submitted for funding of up to $2000.00. Accepted proposals will be funded for the 2017/2018 academic year.

For more information download this document and application template prior to applying.

Click here to apply to the CSEP Stewardship Community.

To join the CSEP Education Community and receive information about CSEP activities and opportunities sign up for our Project Listserv.

A Climate Stewardship Action Project is...

A climate stewardship action project must involve action based behaviorals 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, 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.

The following are some examples of successful climate stewardship action projects:

Student Anti-Idling Campaign: Service Learning in Deed
The Polar Bear Challenge: Local Impact on a Global Issue
The Biggest Reducer: A Lesson in Waste Reduction
Biochar for Carbon Sequestration: Investigation and Outreach

*Glossary/Definition IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) Working Group III Mitigation of Climate Change


More of 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.

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.

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.

  • 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.


Links & Downloads

Education Community
View Our Webinars
Stewardship Community
How do I join the Stewardship Community?

To receive information about CSEP activities and opportunities sign up to the listserv.

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What We're Doing

Talking to Children about Climate Change

Students Meet with Secretary-General at United Nations

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