Climate Lesson Updates: February 2013

“If you’re not [alarmed about climate change] talk with my good friend and world-premier polar explorer, Will Steger, who is here tonight, about the drastic climate changes he has witnessed …” – Gov. Mark Dayton during 2013 State of the State Address, 2/7/2013 (transcript)

will speakingIn his speech, Governor Dayton has stepped out as a leading voice among Governors on clean energy and climate change solutions.  (If you are looking for other energy champions, check out the Energy All Stars YouTube playlist by the EPA.)

You and your students can join the action.  One easy way is through phenology observations.  Scientists are using Henry David Thoreau’s and Aldo Leopold’s phenology observations to investigate climate change.  Climate change strikes close to home again as Minnesota’s warming winters have been attributed to changing the ecosystems and conditions conducive to life of our native Moose, whose population is declining.

If you’re already doing phenology and using Minnesota’s Changing Climate Curriculum, then here is a list of opportunities for you to support education and climate change solutions:

  1. Connect your classroomwith the MN climate and energy solutions conversationRegister now for one or both of our Summer Institutes!
    • Turn on your teaching with the Summer Institute for Energy Education, June 16-18
    • Dive into the classroom and outdoor components of our Minnesota’s Changing Climate curriculum, August 6-7.
  2. Bring a group of students to the YEA!MN Lobby Day, Feb. 24th & 25th.  Your middle and high school students don’t want to miss this:  Will Steger Foundation’s Youth Environmental Activists Minnesota program (YEA! MN), along with Minnesota Youth Environmental Network (MNYEN), MN350, and the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) have planned a pair of events coming up February 24th and 25th for youth to learn about and advocate for sustainability on a local level.  Learn more on our website.
  3. logo forwardendeavorsCheck out the New Land 2013 Expedition. John Huston is leading the educational charge in the U.S. John and two of his teammates have all traveled extensively with Will Steger. The 4-person team will travel for 72 days on Ellesmere Island. Their blog begins later this month. Also keep an eye out for the project’s packet of classroom activities designed to fit a range of ages and subjects. Your class can follow their progress. Contact John for more info.
  4. Present at the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) conference. It is October 9-12, 2013, in Baltimore, MD.  Deadline for submitting a presentation proposal is March 31, 2013.  Consider submitting a proposal about how you are integrating climate change into your classroom in the Teaching About Environmental Issues Strand.
  5. Flight Behavior Join our next virtual book club meeting with special guest, Dr. Karen Oberhauser, Monarch Butterfly researcher and source for Barbara Kingsolver’s recent book Flight Behavior.  We will meet online on February 28, 4:30 PM CST.  For more information and to get on the Climate and Energy book club list hosted by ICEE.  Please contact Susan Buhr if interested.  Read Kristen’s recent review of the book on our blog.
  6. Check out the Life Discovery – Doing Science conference, “Exploring Biology for a Changing World” on March 15-16, 2013 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. From the website: “A major goal of the conference is to foster communities of practice and encourage the sharing of best practices in biology education across grades.”
  7. Stop by and visit WSF Education Program Staff exhibiting and presenting at the CERTS conference February 20-21, or the Minnesota Conference on Science Education February 22 and 23.  Two great opportunities we are lucky to have in our state.

*whew!* what a list.  You’ve got great opportunities ahead of you.  To send you off energized, here’s a spirited quote from Gov. Dayton’s speech:

“I challenge this legislature to work again with our state’s visionary clean energy advocates, large energy providers, large energy users, other stakeholders, and my administration to use your past achievements as springboards for Minnesota’s next big leap toward a sustainable energy future.”

Kristen Poppleton & John Smith
Will Steger Foundation Education Program 612-27807147


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