Public Release:  Maryland - Delaware partnership brings teachers and scientists together on climate change

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

CAMBRIDGE, MD (August 16, 2012)--The National Science Foundation announced that it is funding a major initiative to help prepare educators in Maryland and Delaware to teach climate change science in the classroom. The $5.8 million cooperative agreement supports implementation of the Maryland-Delaware Climate Change Education, Assessment, and Research (MADE CLEAR) partnership, an effort to forge new ways to deliver effective and relevant climate change education that could serve as a national model.

"MADE CLEAR will connect Maryland and Delaware students and citizens with the world in which they live by fostering a greater understanding of why the climate is changing and the consequences within our two states," said Dr. Donald Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and MADE CLEAR director. "Our goal is to provide a basis for our citizens, today and tomorrow, to make individual and collective choices for limiting the magnitude of climate change and adapting to its consequences."

The MADE CLEAR partnership brings together of a group of experts in the fields of climate science and education, led by the University System of Maryland and University of Delaware, to provide a system of support for teachers in Maryland and Delaware. Focusing on grades 8-12, the network will also engage universities, state departments of education, and educators from natural resources agencies, museums, and aquariums.

"For Maryland's prosperity, we must commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. MADE CLEAR will provide our children with the resources to help us reach our goals and create a more sustainable future," said Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. "Together, with exposure to our natural resources and education about our fragile ecosystems, we can prepare the next generation of environmental stewards."

Climate change is a complex and sensitive topic to teach, touching on economic, social, political and scientific issues to a greater degree than most other science topics. The MADE CLEAR partnership encourages scientists and educators to work together to ensure scientific objectivity and accuracy in the classroom and promote critical thinking. Rather than introducing climate change science as a new subject in an already crowded curriculum, the goal is to integrate understanding of climate change within new science standards and environmental literacy requirements in Maryland and Delaware schools.

"With this award, we are creating the building blocks that we need for a smarter America," said Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, the Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman who funds the National Science Foundation. "The world is facing a climate crisis, and we have a responsibility to provide the knowledge and resources to our next generation of scientists need to tackle this tough issue. This is about preparing our country and our planet for a better future. And that future depends on the education available to today's kids. I will continue to work for federal investments in science and innovation that prepare us for future challenges, making our economy stronger and our country safer."

The partnership brings together scientists from the University System of Maryland and the University of Delaware who are engaged in various aspects of climate change research, ranging from atmospheric physics and chemistry to the effects of climate change on ecosystems and human health. This expertise is already being utilized by local, state and federal governments and businesses in understanding what impacts climate change will have on their assets, people, and ecosystems.

"The goal is to develop a learning community involving scientists, teacher educators, and teachers to support each other during professional development activities and follow-up classroom assistance," said Nancy Shapiro, University System of Maryland Associate Vice Chancellor.

The MADE CLEAR partnership website (www.madeclear.org) will provide access to upcoming events and resources and will link to a multimedia site under development by Maryland Public Television. The MPT site will provide teachers and the general public with videos, news clips, and lessons related to the impacts of climate change in Maryland and Delaware.

"MADE CLEAR will support the development and distribution of teaching approaches and materials, and evaluate their effectiveness," said Nancy Brickhouse, Interim Provost and Professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware. "In that way, we can strive not only for continuous improvement in our two states, but be a model for the nation."

MADE CLEAR is led by the University System of Maryland and the University of Delaware and includes participation of faculty members from the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, the University of Maryland, College Park, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and Towson University. Key to the partnership is the participation of the Maryland State Department of Education, the Delaware Department of Education, Maryland Public Television and state and federal science agencies, including the state departments of environmental and natural resources, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This project is one of six Phase II projects being funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP) program. The CCEP program is a one-time, dedicated NSF effort to establish a coordinated national network of regionally- or thematically-based partnerships devoted to increasing the adoption of effective, high quality educational programs and resources related to the science of climate change and its impacts. The vision of this program is a scientifically literate society that can effectively weigh the evidence regarding global climate change as it confronts the challenges ahead, while developing the innovative scientific and technical workforce to advance our knowledge of human-climate interactions and develop approaches for a sustainable, prosperous future.

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