12th Symposium on Education


Partnering with Youth Groups on Meteorological and Environmental Education Issues

Kenneth H. Kirkwood, MSC, Dartmouth, NS, Canada; and P. H. Whitfield


Youth organizations provide the opportunity to educate young people on issues and careers, including meteorology and related sciences or environmental topics. One such organization is the Scouting movement in Canada, Scouts Canada, through such avenues as a reward merit badge system and program activities and special events. Canadian Scout Jamborees are held every 4 years and Environment Canada has actively participated since 1993 with interactive, educational and fun learning programs using an experiential learning approach. Environment Canada has identified this venue as a unique opportunity for to engage a segment of our population that is young, enthusiastic and has an invested interest in conserving, respecting and protecting our environment and to partner with an organization that has similar values on youth and the environment. This paper will highlight the preparations and application of 13 “real world” programs delivered by Environment Canada to scouting youth and adult leaders at the 10th Canadian Scout Jamboree. This Jamboree was held on Prince Edward Island in July 2001 and was attended by over 15,000 participants from Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The programs included an entire project devoted to teaching basic meteorology, a weather game based on severe weather, and learning sessions for adults. Several other activities linked the importance of meteorology to other environmental issues with a focus on topics such as the effects of pollution on ground water, wildlife ecosystems, and scouting activities such as leave-no-trace camping and hiking. The goal was to provide the youth and adult leaders an introductory learning experience in meteorology and other environmental issues that they could take back to their perspective communities or use in their individual scouting programs at home. The program structure provided an opportunity to highlight careers in meteorology and related environmental sciences to a large percentage of youth in attendance. There were a number of strong indicators of the effectiveness of the learning initiatives beyond just the sheer number participating in the programs. The Environment Canada CJ’01 badge was earned by more than a third of the youth and adults in attendance, comments and request from leaders for materials or contacts so that they could incorporate what they learned into their programs and communities. The fact that almost 2 years after this event request still come into Environment Canada for information on the programs that were presented is a good indicator that youth and leaders learned, remembered and are now doing something about environmental issues.

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Poster Session 1, Poster Session: K-12, Popular and University Educational Initiatives
Sunday, 9 February 2003, 5:30 PM-7:00 PM

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