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Seminars will make teachers climate-change ambassadors

February 1, 2010

The Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison will join the Madison Metropolitan School District in a three-year project to prepare science teachers to be climate-literacy ambassadors in their schools and communities.

Funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the collaboration will enable systemic awareness of the important topic of global and regional climate change. The complete teacher training will involve participation at a one-day workshop combined with distance learning education and culminating in a virtual community of climate change educators.

As many as 200 teachers — including every interested Madison middle- and high-school science teacher — will receive stipends for participating. The workshops will be offered at CIMSS on the UW–Madison campus and at sites around the country in conjunction with annual meetings of the Federation of Earth System Information Partners.

In support of teachers’ professional-development goals, educators will have the option to earn one graduate-level credit at a reduced tuition rate for taking the online course through UW–Madison. In the second and third years of the project, additional stipends will be available for teachers who engage students in research projects using NASA and CIMSS data to investigate regional climate scenarios.

Evaluation efforts will be led by the UW–Madison School of Education and will include the opportunity for a summer internship for students from the UW–Madison La Follette School of Public Affairs. Along with forging critical partnerships to raise awareness of climate change and carbon mitigation strategies, the preponderance of Web-based content and communication tools will keep the carbon footprint of this climate literacy project to a minimum.