Leveraging informal science learning centers as community hubs for climate resilience and adaptation

Leveraging informal science learning centers as community hubs for climate resilience and adaptation

Organizer: 
Jeremy Scott Hoffman
Science Museum of Virginia
Time Slot: 
Concurrent Sessions 3
Session Type: 
Symposium
Abstract: 

Informal science learning centers (including aquariums, zoos, museums, and science centers) are viewed by the public as one of the most trustworthy sources of scientific information in America. In fact, these institutions are rated more trustworthy than daily newspapers, nonprofits, federal and state governments, and institutions of higher education. Since the mid-2000s, federal agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Education have begun investing considerable resources into informal climate science, adaptation, and resilience education efforts at dozens of informal science learning centers around the country. These projects have been initiated across a wide variety of geographical contexts and have developed communication strategies and content for a broad spectrum of climate stressors - including but not limited to sea-level rise, urban heat islands, extreme weather events, and ocean acidification. However, informal science centers are not yet assessed as a major contributor to or a cross-sectoral participant in the climate change adaptation field. In this session, we will explore how 5 climate resilience education programs undertaken at informal science education centers spanning urban and rural contexts as well as a variety climate stressors have connected with and added value to ongoing efforts at their municipality or state-level adaptation planning scale. At the end of this symposium, we hope to guide our session participants through generating a plan for connecting and collaborating with their local informal science education center or some other neutral space in order to broaden their adaptation program’s ability to engage new and diverse audiences and publics.

Presentations

Museums and science centers as catalysts for climate resilience and adaptation
Carrie McDougall, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Throwing Shade in RVA - addressing extreme urban heat using community science
Jeremy Hoffman, The Science Museum of Virginia
Youth as Catalysts for Community Climate Action
Erin Griffin, The Wild Center
Citizens, Cities, Schools, and Science: an integrated approach to building coastal resilience
Gayle Bowness, Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Strengthening Student Voices for Climate Preparedness and Resilience
Billy Spitzer, New England Aquarium
Engaging Local Citizens in Participatory Resilience Planning for Improved Community Resilience and Decision-Making
David Sittenfeld, Museum of Science