History of Climate Education Partners

Team Project PhotoClimate Education Partners worked to share science about our changing climate with regional leaders. With a solid scientific foundation, our leaders can make informed decisions on how best to protect the spectacular natural beauty, economic vibrancy and preserve the quality of life in San Diego, not just for today, but for all future generations.

San Diego County is already experiencing impacts of a changing climate that challenge our precious natural resources, tourism and the regional economy. Concerned about the impacts that changes in our climate could have on the special quality of life we enjoy here, we believe that future generations deserve to enjoy the San Diego we know and love. Our goal was to come together with an accurate scientific understanding of how our climate is changing in order to prepare for, respond to, and even reduce the impacts.

Specifically, Climate Education Partners had three long-term goals:

  • Educate: To increase understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change, especially its local impacts to quality of life
  • Evaluate: To identify the most effective informational methods to make climate science and its implications understood
  • Replicate: To develop and implement a national model for regional climate change education and communication by working with local expert scientists, educators, and local leaders

Phase I

Project ImageOur project was one of 15 nationwide selected to receive National Science Foundation funding to develop climate change education strategies.

Phase I Achievements

  • Assembled an Advisory Board of local leaders and visionaries
  • Conducted in-depth personal interviews with a representative sample of key influential leaders from around the San Diego region. Insights from the qualitative analysis were captured in a summary report
  • Conducted focus groups to explore and clarify a range of climate and general science-related messages, approaches and knowledge
  • Conducted stakeholder meetings to garner feedback on proposed approaches to climate education
  • Developed a series of informational videos and conducted an experiment to assess the effectiveness of a range of messengers and messages related to climate science
  • Developed an annotated bibliography of research from the fields of education, communication and behavioral sciences on climate education in non-academic settings
  • Developed an inventory of existing online and community resources that increase climate change knowledge and behavioral change

Phase II

PhaseII Biking ImageIn 2012, Climate Education Partners was one of six of the original 15 projects to be awarded additional funding from the National Science Foundation to continue investigational and outreach efforts. With this continued support, we developed a robust suite of integrated activities planned over the course of the five-year project. The efforts were organized in five broad categories:

  • Gathered Local Climate Data: Served as a local resource for information analysis on the causes and impacts of climate change; Impacts included heat waves, wildfires, beach erosion and water supply
  • Developed Community Education Materials: Created practical resources focused on local impacts of climate change for regional leaders and their communities
  • Implemented Community Information Programs: Conducted a range of creative climate science educational activities, including climate impact tours, roundtable discussions and electronic media outreach to assist leaders in the community with their climate change planning needs
  • Evaluated Best Practices: Assessed climate science education resources and activities to determine the most effective ways for San Diegans to learn about climate change
  • Served as a Model for Other Regions: Developed resources and tools that serve as an informative model in other communities of California and the nation
National Science FoundationThis project was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under award numbers ANT-1043435 and DUE-1239797. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.