The Young Meteorologist Program supporting the Weather Ready Nation Campaign

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Ron Gird, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD; and D. Lee

The PLAN!T NOW (P!N) organization, international non-profit, has created the Young Meteorologist Program (YMP) an innovative, engaging, free, online game. YMP asks students in elementary, middle and high school to follow the 21st-century National Weather Service (NWS) Owl, Owlie Skywarn, on an adventure encountering hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning, floods, and winter storms. Along the way, players are taught the principles of severe weather science and safety preparedness. Embedded into the game are test questions and activities, which players must answer successfully in order to proceed. The YMP seeks to boost science, math, reading skills, and student achievement by awarding each successful game player a beautifully crafted, printable certificate upon completing the game. Thus, YMP engages students with severe weather sciences and encourages them by charting advancements through clear, measurable goals. The motto of YMP and the P!N is: “Disaster Happens When Preparation Doesn't.” The Young Meteorologist Program provides opportunities for students to put their newly acquired knowledge to work through launching community service projects and participate in the NWS Weather Ready Nation campaign to build more resilient storm ready communities. Activities can include building a weather station, expand the presence NOAA WeatherRadio in their community, and encourage other students to participate in P!N/YMP and the new WRN Ambassadors initiative. Joining the P!N team is celebrity advocate Kenny Chesney, country music superstar, to help promote and market YMP and the NWS Weather Ready Nation campaign. In 2012 the NWS and P!N formed a formal partnership to jointly promote severe weather safety and reach new constituents outside of the weather enterprise (Sporting events and local libraries). New capabilities include an Owlie Facebook presence for reaching students, a P!N newsletter focusing on student experiences with YMP and the new YMP Owlie mascot and can be reserved for community outreach events. The concept of student “peer to peer” training will also be explored. Owlie's messages are to be a “Weather Ready Ambassador” and to “Prepare and Survive” severe weather.