210 Using Local Examples of Wildlife Climate Adaptation to Start a Student-Centered, Nationwide Dialog on Climate Change

Monday, 13 January 2020
Hall B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Danielle F. Lawson, North Carolina State Univ., North Carolina, NC; and A. E. Nesbitt, B. Whitehouse, D. E. Horton, K. T. Stevenson, M. N. Peterson, and D. J. Wuebbles

Arctic amplification has motivated many iconic and controversial photographs attempting to pictorialize wildlife adaptation to climate change. While arctic images dominate the media, 99.9% of people live in warmer climes where climate change has already induced measurable changes to wildlife development, physiology, phenology, and geographic distribution. Climate science curriculum developed around local “charismatic species” represents an underutilized tool to motivate students and convey the risks associated with climate change. Recent research has demonstrated that students transmit elements of stimulating curriculum to engage and educate the adults within their social sphere. To quantify this effect, Lawson et al. developed programmatic best practices and an assessment framework for quantifying the multi-generational reach of middle school climate science lessons. These lessons featured case studies of species adaptation customized for the montane and coastal climates of North Carolina, and the lessons culminated with a service project designed by teachers in collaboration with students and based on a few guiding principles. We propose to expand this approach to the Great Lakes region with curriculum customized for urban and rural settings. We are also seeking partners across the US to start a nationwide dialog on climate change rooted in service projects organized around local examples of wildlife adaptation.
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