EPSCoR Program

The goal of the National Science Foundation program for Climate Change Science, Education and Outreach is to create a statewide interdisciplinary program that stimulates transformative research, education and outreach on the effects of regional climate change on ecosystem resources and supports use of this knowledge by policy makers. The project will build capacity to model regional climate change, evaluate methods to downscale model output, understand and quantify key ecological and hydrological processes, translate climate change science into formats usable by decision-makers, integrate models and data, and transform how students learn about climate change.

Communication of climate change science will be enhanced by use of cyberinfrastructure and involvement of a broad range of students and faculty. A statewide virtual information center for climate change will be created to focus on outreach and communicating findings with the public and policy makers.

Education

The goal of the Education component is to develop educational infrastructure to train students and teachers at all levels to be leaders in climate change research and provide public outreach on climate change issues. Integration of climate change education and research will be enhanced through delivering training programs, developing K-12 curricular materials, and providing courses. Science research teams will be developed from K-12 teachers, community college students, university undergraduates, and graduate students. Researchers on these teams will work with educators in developing new curriculum materials for middle schools, community colleges, and universities. Assessment will be coordinated with schools to ensure that all state standards are met and learning is enhanced through integration of climate change science.

An undergraduate research program focused on climate change within the NSHE system will be developed and an NSF EPSCoR funded Climate Change Scholarship program offered annually to a total of thirty community college and university students focused on climate change and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) research. Two annual poster sessions will be held and an annual two-day undergraduate research symposium. New courses on climate change will be offered through UNR and UNLV and taught using distance education to allow students at multiple NSHE campuses to enroll. At the graduate level, a fellowship program will be created in which 12-19 students annually will be accepted to work with NSHE faculty to obtain a certificate in climate change as part of their graduate degree.

To culminate these efforts, a symposium on climate change education will be held during the summer at the beginning of the second year of the program and will include educators at all levels within Nevada and professionals from outside the state. The symposium will focus on a comprehensive evaluation of current climate change educational activities at NSHE institutions and provide a guideline for developing and selecting new courses and integrating curriculum.

Annual Report Highlights

Title: Middle School Teachers Experience First-Hand the Effect of Climate Change on Southern Nevada

Authors: P. Buck (Desert Research Institute) paul.buck@dri.edu, and L. Rudd (Nevada State College) lawrence.rudd@nsc.nevada.edu

Outcome: The 2010 Nevada Summer Institute gave Southern Nevada middle school teachers the opportunity to observe disturbances such as fire and invasive species in the field, and how climate change can impact these disturbances. They learned how invasives such as red brome and cheatgrass can dramatically alter the fire regime, and establish immediately after a fire, outcompeting native species.

Impact: The two-week long Summer Institute on Climate Change Education gives middle school teachers tools for implementing climate change science content and processes into their classrooms. To date, over 2,000 middle school students have been reached and or influenced by the Summer Institute.

np. (nd). Goal. Retrieved from  http://www.nevada.edu/epscor/nsf/climate1/nsfaboutus.html
np. (nd). Education. Retrieved from http://www.nevada.edu/epscor/nsf/climate1/education.html
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