What is NOAA Planet Stewards?
As of November 2017, the NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project will be known as the NOAA Planet Stewards Education Project. We are expanding our scope to include a wider range of NOAA topics related to understanding and protecting our environment. This means we will focus on a larger number of subjects such as decreasing the impacts of marine debris, conserving and restoring natural resources, and understanding and responding to severe weather events. We will continue our programmatic emphasis on climate as a driver of environmental impacts to humans and natural ecosystems.
This change will allow us to better serve many educators looking to engage their students in citizen science and hands-on stewardship activities that relate to the broad range of NOAA's mission programs.
What We Do
The NOAA Planet Stewards Education Project (PSEP) provides formal and informal educators working with elementary through college aged students the knowledge and resources to build scientifically-literate individuals and communities who are prepared to respond to environmental challenges monitored by NOAA.
PSEP also supports educators in the development and implementation of projects involving hands-on activities that conserve, restore, and protect human communities and natural resources. Read more below in the Stewardship Community.
NOAA Planet Stewards is organized into two groups, the Education Community and the Stewardship Community.
The Education Community
Increasing Environmental Literacy
The Education Community is open to anyone. Participants are invited to attend monthly webinars, book club discussions, and face-to-face workshops at locations across the country. Workshops have focused on citizen science, STEM, community resilience, climate science, and a range of environmental education topics. Education Community members receive free educational materials/resources and links to special professional development opportunities.
Click here to subscribe to our email list, join the Education Community and begin receiving information about free activities, resources and opportunities.
Face-to-Face Workshops are multiday professional development opportunities held at different locations across the United States. They allow formal and informal educators to engage with scientists, education and communication specialists about environmental challenges impacting the regions surrounding the workshops, discover resources and activities they can bring back to to their classrooms or communities, and learn about projects they can model or build upon to respond to these environmental challenges related to NOAA’s mission.
Information about 2018 workshops will be posted soon!
The Stewardship Community
Taking Action in Your School or Community
The Stewardship Community is a network for supporting the development and implementation of a hands-on action-based project that conserves, restores, and/or protects human communities and/or natural resources from environmental challenges.
To join, an educator must submit a stewardship project pre-proposal. If the pre-proposal is accepted, the educator meets about once a month over six months with a Peer Review Group to refine and expand the project proposal. During that time, the educator must also attend the monthly PSEP webinars on the first Monday evening of month. At the end of the Peer Review Group process - usually the beginning of June - the educator can submit their final project proposal for funding of up to $2,500 to carry out their project during the following academic year.
Stewardship projects must focus on areas that NOAA science supports. Here are some potential project topics and related resources to consider:
Stewardship Community participants receive support from evaluation experts to measure the results of their projects. Educators completing stewardship projects can apply for travel reimbursements to give presentations at select conferences and/or attend NOAA Planet Stewards workshops. They may also receive invitations to special events and face-to-face professional development opportunities.
To participate in the Stewardship Community an educator is committing to:
- Develop a Planet Stewardship Project
- Dedicate approximately 3-5 hours/month to:
- Attend PSEP webinars (~1hour/webinar during evening hours)
- View and reflect on five archived PSEP webinar videos (2017 or earlier. ~1hour/video)
- Fully participate in a Stewardship Project Peer Review Group (~1 hour/month during evening hours. )
- Use the PSEP Wiki to post stewardship project plans, progress updates, results, and share resources and comments with other PSEP educators.
- Participate in future PSEP evaluation efforts i.e. online surveys.
The following are examples of successful environmental stewardship projects that PSEP has supported. You can read more examples of educators successful projects supported by the previous NOAA Planet Stewards Education Project in the 2016 edition of The Earth Scientist
Lead the Way to a Better World!
(David – Community College Instructor, Rockville, Maryland)
Students at a local community college in Maryland met several times over the course of a semester to learn how to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by changing their habits. Each student chose an action to take and even recruited a friend or family member to take part in the behavior change activity.
Students chose to reduce the miles they drove, reduce hairdryer use, turn off personal computers and monitors, reduce light bulb use, reduce shower time, turn off the TV when not watching, and not use the air conditioner as often. Their new choices resulted in approximately 5,459 pounds of carbon dioxide kept out of the atmosphere.
Students restore vegetation in a Florida coastal wetland.
Weather Ready Bay Point Nation
(Chris – GCOOS Outreach and Education Manager, St. Petersburg, Florida)
Storm surge inundation of low-lying communities in the St. Petersburg area prompted 60 students in grades 3-5 to take action to help their community. Over three months, the students learned about a variety of topics including the role of coastal wetlands and assessing vulnerability to inundation in the classroom and through field trips. To put their new knowledge to work, the students restored 231 square meters of bay grass at Bay Vista Park in St. Petersburg. The students also hosted an exhibit at the St. Petersburg Science Festival and worked with peers in grades 2-5 to develop adaptation and emergency evacuation plans.
Students planting the rain garden at their school.
Oakton School Rain Garden
(Claire – School Volunteer, Evanston, IL)
Storms have become increasingly severe in the Great Lakes region. Students at an elementary school in Evanston, Illinois noticed there was a steady stream of water flowing out of two the school’s downspouts. After learning about weather, its connection to climate, and ways to make a difference in their environment, students created a rain garden to reduce the amount of water running out of the downspouts onto an adjacent driveway and sidewalk. Eighty kindergarten through fifth grade students researched plants, created school and garden maps, and planted and tended the garden. By the end of the project, a 600 square foot rain garden reduced the amount of water going into the storm sewers by 60-70%.
Students measure the amount of compostables in their weekly cafeteria trash.
Recyclers at Waseca Montessori School
(Seri – Elementary School Science Specialist, Athens, Georgia)
Every day, students throw away pounds of food and food containers in school cafeterias. At a Montessori school in Georgia, 22 students decided to change that. They learned about compost microorganisms, observed the composting process, performed a waste audit in their cafeteria, built composting stalls, and recorded trash reduction and compost materials after the stalls were made. Ultimately, the students’ efforts resulted in a 95% increase in the amount of compostable wastes sent to the compost pile at their school, and they grew 100 tree seedlings in the compost to be planted in the local area.
Philadelphia area college students begin preparation of green roof projects at their university.
Green Roof Performance
(Radika and Megan – Professors, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Fifteen students representing Architecture, Fashion Merchandising, Fashion Design, Engineering, Interior Design, Industrial Design, Psychology and Environmental Sustainability majors put their climate knowledge to use to design and test green roofs at their university. The students designed an experimental green roof research project to study the role of green roof substrates in storm water management and plant growth. Students planted a 64 square foot section with 320 plants. The students assessed how well their designs performed and measured the energy savings and amount of carbon held by the plants. The roofs saved between 20.8kWh and 101.3kWh per year and held approximately 274g Cm2 per month. The students shared their knowledge and the hands-on science activities they developed with local high school students and their neighbors at the Philadelphia Science Festival.
- The National Ocean Service Education site includes ocean and coastal curricula, lesson plans, tutorials and projects about corals, currents, tides, estuaries, global positioning, pollution, nautical charts, and seafloor mapping.
- NOAA Education resource collections are organized by themes aligned with common teaching topics including ocean and coasts, weather and atmosphere, climate, marine life, freshwater, and data resources.
- Ocean Today provides award-winning 2 minute videos on all aspects of the ocean realm great for student introduction and engagement.
- The NOAA Citizen Science site supports a portfolio of projects fostered and supported across the agency. It includes a link to the Database of Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Projects.
- Discover Your World with NOAA provides 40 activities highlighting science and stewardship from around NOAA to help students explore, understand, and protect Earth.
- Discover Your Changing World with NOAA is a free downloadable activity book of 10 activities that introduce students to the essential principles of climate science.
- NOAA Climate Portal is a one-stop site of information and resources for educators and students. It includes the CLEAN collection of climate and energy science resources.
- Data in the Classroom online activities guide students in the use of historic and near-real time data about sea level rise, ocean acidification, coral Bleaching, El Nino, and water quality. Each investigation culminates with student-directed investigations using NOAA data.
- The National Weather Service provides educators with weather science, safety, career information, and the adventures of Owlie Skywarn.
- The NOAA Marine Debris program works to keep the global ocean and its coasts free from the impacts of marine debris and has a wide variety of downloadable curricula and fun activities.
- Our National Marine Sanctuaries include a network of underwater parks of marine and Great Lakes waters. Click on a site near you for activities, multimedia, stories and opportunities.
- The National Estuarine Research Reserves is a network of protected coastal areas that are used as living classrooms providing hands-on experiences and resources for all ages.
- The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program provides lessons, curricula, and tutorials for formal and informal educators to bring coral reefs into the classroom.
- NOAA Fisheries Resources provide activities and interactive games to explore the science behind marine resource management and effective stewardship of critical habitats, sustainable fisheries, and marine protected species.
- The NOAA Game Site offers an arcade of interactive games focused on the ocean and environmental stewardship.