Extreme Weather Forecasting: A Summary of Weather Related Outreach Activities at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Madison, Wisconsin
The goal of the event was to promote an understanding of extreme weather events, especially those that occur commonly in Wisconsin (e.g., severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, flash flooding and blizzards). The activities were designed to informally educate and engage participants via various “role-playing” activities, where participants acted as meteorologists in real world scenarios. Example activities included making physical weather observations outside of the nature center facility, analyzing current weather observations throughout Wisconsin and the United States, attempting to forecast future weather conditions, and a communication component, in which participants tried their hand at communicating severe weather threats and impacts as television meteorologists.
Throughout the event, participants were surveyed in order to determine its overall effectiveness. This feedback provides critical information on how to further improve the activities and maximize the educational value of this informal outreach event in future settings where a diverse audience is expected.