Yesterday the U.S. Forest Service hosted a side-event at the United Nations Copenhagen Climate Change Conference with some very special stakeholders unable to make the trip. A video-conference discussing climate change was held between DC-area students at Forest Service headquarters and students in Copenhagen, Denmark.
American students ages 10-14 provided a younger perspective on climate change today as they reported about their use of the new educational programs, the Climate Change Wildlife and Wildlands: A Toolkit for Formal and Informal Educators and the Greenschools! program. The Toolkit was produced by an interagency group of educators and scientists to help middle school audiences investigate the impacts of climate change in eleven eco-regions around the United States.
The two student teams represent classes that have partnered with NOAA and the U.S. Forest Service to investigate the impacts of climate change using the Toolkit and GreenSchools! materials.
During their presentation, the students discussed what they have learned about the causes of climate change, how it is affecting habitats, and the resulting impacts on plant and animal species.
A team of fifth graders from Clermont Elementary, in Alexandria, Virginia, discussed the Chesapeake Bay and the changing habitat of the diamondback terrapin. Students from Paul Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. explained what they have learned about their school's energy use, solid waste and recycling; water, school site and air quality in order to create a greener school.
As a result of their studies, the student groups have been inspired to take action in their local communities. A special guest at the video-conference event was Happy, the diamondback terrapin, on loan from the Terrapin Institute.
The DC students were very engaged with their virtual class-mates in Copenhagen and excited to be on a panel by asking thought provoking questions. They discussed similarities between the United States and Denmark, and discussed important ways that other 5th graders can help reduce their carbon footprint.
Read more about the event in today’s Washington Post story here.