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Connected climate change learning through citizen science: an assessment of priorities and needs of formal and informal educators and community members in Alaska
Abstract and Figures
Citation: Spellman KV, Sparrow EB, Chase MJ, Larson A, Kealy K. 2018. Connected climate change learning through citizen science: an assessment of priorities and needs of formal and informal educators and community members in Alaska. Connected Science Learning 1(6): 1-24. ABSTRACT: Citizen science offers significant potential to address pressing climate change issues in communities across multiple scales. Documented outcomes of citizen science span from individual learning about climate change and the scientific process, to providing critical datasets for local decision making or large scale scientific priorities. It also provides opportunity to connect in-school climate change learning to informal learning environments, and empower K-12 students, informal science learners, and community leaders to collaborate on important climate change issues. In order for collaboration across these diverse audiences to be effective and truly increase the capacity of a community to respond to climate change issues, the needs and priorities of each group must be identified and addressed in the design of the citizen science project. We present our key insights from an assessment of needs for the Arctic and Earth STEM integrating GLOBE and NASA (SIGNs) program that weaves Indigenous knowledge, climate change learning, citizen science, and climate action. We investigate the interests, benefits desired, and supports needed for climate change learning and citizen science in a rapidly changing Alaska across K-12 teachers, 4-H leaders, and rural and Indigenous community leaders. To do this we used coded application essays of participants in our precursor program workshops along with results of larger-scale published studies. We propose some considerations for citizen science program design to meet these needs, and offer evaluation results from our first workshop implementing the program model.
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