Is climate literacy a topic you feel passionate about? It certainly is for the staff at The Wild Center. The unique and nationally renowned museum in Tupper Lake recently received a sizable grant that will allow them to help promote and support climate literacy throughout the state through a three-year project.
About the Grant
The Wild Center was awarded a three-year, $494,000 Environmental Literacy Grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The grant will help to support a collaboration between The Wild Center, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County, the Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School in Brooklyn, and the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) as they strengthen awareness and education on the topic of climate change, specifically among students and teachers.
Students and young people are going to be most affected by climate change, therefore, they’re the group who will likely be called into action to alleviate the effects. And yet, a Yale survey indicates that students today have had surprisingly little education with regards to climate change; only 22% say they’re learning “a lot” about the subject.
Many teachers want to include climate change into their curriculum, according to Director of The Wild Center’s Youth Climate Summit Initiative Jen Krester, but they lack the resources to make it happen. Now, this can change.
Education Isn’t Enough
Part of the project, called Convening Young Leaders for Climate Resilience in New York State, will involve high school students learning how to assess climate change in their communities. But that’s not all – they’ll also be working on solutions to lessen these impacts, and leadership skills to make it happen.
“It’s critical for students to learn about climate change – but studies are clear that education alone isn’t enough to lead action,” Stephanie Radcliffe, Executive Director of The Wild Center, said in a statement. “We also need to empower students to help their communities prepare for the changes that are likely to affect them.”
The following activities will be supported over the three and a half years of the project:
- Each region will host a pair of Youth Climate Summits, one- to two-day events that will attract 150 to 180 students.
- Teacher Climate Institutes will engage and empower teachers to feel confident teaching climate science in their classroom by providing tools, resources, and strategies.
- Selected students will participate in a Youth Climate Leadership Practicum that will focus specifically on leadership skills such as communication, project management, decision-making, and problem-solving.
“Our strategy for fighting climate change is dependent on a well-informed, involved public,” Basil Seggos, New York State DEC Commissioner, said in a statement. “The Youth Climate Summits and associated outreach will provide experience and tools that participants can immediately apply in their schools and communities.”
About The Wild Center
The Wild Center consists of 81 acres of indoor and outdoor experiences geared towards connecting people with nature – specifically, the Adirondacks.
Among its other programs and exhibitions, The Wild Center has worked with over one thousand high school and college students across the region to build climate action plans students can implement in their own communities.