“Teaching Climate Change in the United States” by Joseph Henderson and Andrea Drewes was released on April 8th in both online and print formats through the Taylor Francis group. The book highlights best practices in climate change education through the analysis of a rich collection of case studies that showcase educational programs across the United States.
Framed against the political backdrop of a country in which climate change denial presents a significant threat to global action for mitigation and adaptation, each case study examines the various strategies employed by those working in this increasingly challenging sociopolitical environment. Via co-authored chapters written by educational researchers and climate change education practitioners in conversation with one another, a wide range of education programs is represented. These range from traditional institutions such as K-12 schools and universities to the contemporary learning environments of museums and environmental education centers. The role of mass media and community-level educational initiatives is also examined. The authors cover a multitude of topics, including the challenge of multi-stakeholder projects, tensions between indigenous knowledge and scientific research, education for youth activism, and professional learning.
With stories of success and failure from the field, this book provides climate change researchers and educators with tools to help them navigate increasingly rough and rising waters.
Talbot County’s own, Mark Scallion, Director of Pickering Creek Audubon Center is one of eight contributors to the seventh chapter of the book entitled Becoming a Persistent Professional Development Community for Informal Educators Addressing Climate Change: A Story from Two Perspectives. Partners Cat Stylinski (UMCES), Joe Heimlich (COSI Center for Research and Evaluation), Lesley Bensinger (Delaware Nature Society), Sharon Bowen (The Maryland Zoo), Sarah Milbourne (MDDNR), Bart Merrick (NOAA), and Christopher Petrone (Delaware SeaGrant) shared their experiences with climate change education, working as a Maryland/Delaware ‘Community of Practice on Climate Education.’
Communities of practice (CoPs) offer an effective professional development approach that supports informal educators in their climate change education work. The chapter tells the story – through both community facilitators’ and members’ voices – of how a facilitated Community of Practice transitioned to an independent, unfunded, yet sustained effort, that remains valuable to its members. The facilitators describe how they initiated and supported the Community of Practice, including increasingly requiring members to take on leadership roles and eventually full control of the community. Members recall anxiety about this leadership transition but also a strong commitment to long-term sustainability. The chapter outlines several lessons for transitioning to a self-sustaining CoP Overall, both facilitators and members believe the CoP had dramatic professional and personal impacts on participants in terms of their climate change education efforts.
Pickering Creek Audubon Center has inspired generations to learn about and protect wildlife and the natural world. As one of the leading causes of wildlife and habitat degradation, education about climate change has been part of the majority of Pickering Creek’s programming for many years. Led by Director Mark Scallion, Pickering Creek’s four educator/naturalists and three seasonal educators make over 13,000 contacts each year with students of all ages to build their awareness of the human impact on our land, water, and air and the life it supports and develop their desire and capacity to become stewards of it.