The Nevada Infrastructure for Climate Change Science, Education and Outreach under the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (Nevada EPSCoR) Education Component is in its second year of operation. This program is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Nevada System of Higher Education.
The EPSCoR Climate Change Education Component is a professional development program designed to facilitate Washoe County educators in implementing climate change science content and processes into their classrooms. A sister program is conducted in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV, for Clark County educators.
Two two-week summer institutes provide the framework for the EPSCoR program. The focus of the institutes comes directly from two essential questions outlined in the original grant proposal. The essential question directing the Summer 2009 Institute was: How will climate change affect water resources and linked ecosystem resources and human systems?
The EPSCoR 2012 Summer Institute will be directed by the second essential question: How will climate change affect disturbance regimes (e.g., wildland fires, invasive species, insect outbreaks, droughts) and linked systems?
During the 2011 Summer Institute, held from July 25 through August 5, teachers explored water, local water issues, and climate change in Northern Nevada. Each of the seven participating teachers learned about watersheds and water resources, Lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake water science, local and regional water treatment, and climate change from researchers and working professionals in the region. They toured the Verdi Hydroelectric Plant, the Chalk Bluff and Incline Village Waste Water Treatment Facilities, the UC Davis/Sierra Nevada College Demonstration Gardens and Environmental Research Center, and Pyramid Lake with its surrounding environmental sites. At the Desert Research Institute, participants observed the EcoCELL lab, experienced the Center for Advanced Visualization, Computation and Modeling (CAVCaM), and viewed ice cores with Nevada’s leading ice core scientists. DRI generously donated the time of eight scientists and staff members for the Institute’s visit with them. At the Raggio Research Center, participants gathered daily to discuss ways to bring the content into their classrooms through inquiry with the state and national standards in mind. They were also visited in the RRC by several other prominent scientists and community science leaders for informational talks and presentations. By the end of the Summer Institute, these teachers had developed unique, standards-aligned classroom lessons which addressed regional climate change, water science and practical water use issues, and science inquiry. Those lessons are to be implemented in fall 2011 with participating teachers using the data to investigate classroom learning.