Climate Education in Action: Summer Institute 2017

Last week, we wrapped up our 12th annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment!

Over 50 educators from more than 10 states joined us for four impactful days of climate change education, supported by the generous contributions of our sponsors and donors. Special thanks to those donors who helped us offer scholarships to 13 out-of-state educators to travel and attend this training. Thanks to our lead Summer Institute sponsors: Xcel Energy, Avangrid Renewables, Aveda, General Mills, Institute on the Environment, and Apex, as well as our food donors and public forum attendees!

Relive the experience

Monday – Summer Institute attendees were oriented to our interdisciplinary and solutions-oriented approach to teaching climate change. Day 1 focused on the evidence of climate change and common misinformation. That evening, educators and community members packed the Humphrey School’s Cowles auditorium for our free public forum, Climate Change in the Age of Alternative Facts. Watch the video here. In his closing remarks, Dr. Ben Santer emphasized the importance of education in solving this issue, saying, “we need an informed electorate who understand the basics of this issue and what’s really at stake here – what likely outcomes are if we do nothing to reduce emissions; and the only way we’re going to get there is through organizations like Climate Generation, providing the tools for educators to give kids the best available scientific information. I don’t see us moving the needle if we continue to have “trickle down ignorance” and don’t push back against that. So, education is the greatest good.”

Tuesday – U of M Energy Transition Lab director Ellen Anderson gave the keynote talk, reviewing the electricity legacy of our country and highlighting the exciting path ahead as the clean energy transition accelerates. Day 2 focused on the causes and impacts of climate change, and included an hour-long speed dating with scientists from the U. In the evening, educators and staff picnicked and watched baseball at the energy-efficient CHS Field, home of the St. Paul Saints.

Wednesday – Educators split off for U of M lab visits in the morning, which included trips to the Monarch Lab and the College of Biological Sciences Conservatory, providing an opportunity to learn how climate science is conducted. During the afternoon, they rotated through action workshops to learn how to put their growing climate literacy expertise into practice.

Thursday – The last day of the Institute featured an optional field trip to the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve where educators toured the fields, collected data, and learned about the resources at the reserve, including how climate change affects our biomes.

What educators are saying:

“I truly love how [Next Generation Climate] takes an optimistic approach to climate change: we have the ability to create solutions to stop what is happening. Students learn they are not the cause of the problem. Instead they learn that they are the potential solution to the problem.”

“The Summer Institute is inspiring on many levels, both professionally and personally. It encourages me that others are making a difference and taking time to learn and craft how they can help and inspire others. Knowledge is the power that will make the change we need for our future.”

“It was a pleasure to spend 3 days with skilled, passionate educators, who guided me through excellent resources and strategies! Global Climate Change is the perfect vehicle for my whole 8th grade Earth Science curriculum to spiral through, so I’m grateful to have those great resources. Thank you!”

Summer Institute 2017 By the Numbers

• 11 states represented
• 17 scientists involved
• 170 public forum attendees
• 6 returning educators
• 15 breakout sessions
• 6 lab tours
• 185 cups of Peace Coffee consumed

See the full Summer Institute recap

Thanks to our lead Education Program sponsors

 

 

 

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