New Classroom Resource Makes Local Knowledge on Climate Change Accessible for Students
Posted October 14, 2015
The UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve (FBR) is celebrating National Science and Technology Week (October 16-25, 2015) with a new classroom resource that will facilitate climate change education and foster environmental awareness and scientific literacy among students.
“Students in New Brunswick classrooms tend to learn about complex or major scientific events in the context of the United States or in the tropical rainforests of Brazil,” says FBR Executive Director, Megan de Graaf. “The Fundy Biosphere Reserve wants to change that. And one of the most pressing issues right in our own backyard is climate change.”
Climate Change in Atlantic Canada is an impressive multimedia project showcasing thought-provoking interviews with experts and locals who have decades of first-hand experience with the local climate, such as beekeepers, farmers, snowplow drivers, fishers, gardeners, and First Nations elders.
Climate Change in Atlantic Canada series description:
“Across Atlantic Canada, coastlines and communities are being adversely affected by climate change. As temperature, sea level and storm surge increase, adaptation initiatives are being planned and implemented to navigate the impending storm. This is their story.”
In 2011, with funding from the NB Environmental Trust Fund, FBR Conservation Program Manager Ben Phillips began to interview local climate knowledge-holders. The project also included some climate data analysis to explain local trends in our weather, such as temperature highs and lows, snow fall and melt dates, number of drought days, and rain event amounts and duration. The project rapidly evolved into an exciting collaboration between the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Dr. Ian Mauro (previously the Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Environmental Change at Mount Allison University, now Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg). Working with Mauro’s team, a year’s worth of video footage was carefully assembled into short documentary films, which aim to increase awareness about the real world experiences of Atlantic Canadian coastal communities, and how they are on the front lines of climate change and responding to it.
The Fundy Biosphere Reserve then researched and developed lesson plans to go along with each video in the series, so that the videos could be used as a teaching tool in middle and high school classrooms.
De Graaf explains: “We worked with specialists in pedagogy to see where within the New Brunswick curricula our materials were best suited and how we could effectively deliver them. The result has been engaging lesson plans and materials for teachers to use with very little preparation needed. We’re now ready to disseminate the materials as widely as possible throughout schools in New Brunswick - as well as throughout the Atlantic provinces.”
Teachers can access the Climate Change in Atlantic Canada videos and classroom lesson plans - at no cost - by visiting www.climatechangeatlantic.com. The materials are available under the "Education" tab (password: climateeducation). Schools can also request a free presentation and training session for their teachers by Fundy Biosphere staff on how to use the education materials in their classrooms by contacting FBR Executive Director Megan de Graaf at [email protected] More information on the project is also available on the Fundy Biosphere Reserve’s website at fundy-biosphere.ca/en/projects-and-initiatives/education.html.