The recent report in Science entitled “Climate confusion among U.S. teachers” has received a lot of attention. How do Flagstaff educators compare with the 1500 middle school and high school science teachers from all 50 states included in the study? While a formal survey has not been conducted, anecdotal evidence suggest Flagstaff educators use the impressive resources of the Flagstaff and global science community to help inform themselves and their students on up-to-date scientific understanding of climate science.
Susan Brown, the 7th grade science teacher at Northland Preparatory Academy, recently had Skylar Haines, a Master’s student at the University of Maine, present to all five of her classes on his fieldwork on an Antarctic ice core. Skylar also has a paper in press on a Greenland ice core with Dr. Paul Mayewski, one of the top climate scientists in the U.S.
Susan’s class is involved in a multi-year study of how lichens respond to climate change and both Kristin Haskins of the Arboretum at Flagstaff and Anita Antoninka with NAU Forestry, have presented multiple times to her class. One of her students, Michal Swanson, has started a blog to keep people posted on what they are learning in class. You can access the blog including interviews with Skylar and Anita here.
At Sinagua Middle School, 8th grade educator Jillian Worssam has an in-depth climate science curriculum that includes numerous Flagstaff and global climate scientists interacting with her Honor's students as one-on-one mentors throughout the academic year. Below is Allen Pope skyping his mentee Ash and the rest of her class, from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. Other mentors include Seth Danielson from the University of Alaska - Fairbanks Atmosphere Ocean Interactions group, Robbie Score from Polar Field Services supporting Arctic science expeditions, Karin Wadsack, NAU Wind for Schools and Jason Mansour, a NOAA pilot and hurricane hunter!
Locally, the Arboretum has a 6th to 8th grade Climate Change in the Southwest curriculum including kit materials available for educators to keep at no cost. You can read more about, and download, the curriculum here. Climate has also come up with community presentations for Science on Tap with NAU Regents Professor Bruce Hungate, and NOAA Meteorologist Brian Klimowski. Bonnie Stevens has featured many local climate scientists on KNAU's Brain Food, and the Arizona Daily Sun has had many articles on climate science and climate impacts in the Southwest.
The STEM City website has vetted climate science curriculum posted here. Please suggest other curriculum, climate science educators and other sources for quality science information in Flagstaff in the Comments section below!
Flagstaff STEM Coordinator