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Center for Engagement and Community Development

News Features

Central Great Plains Climate Education Partnership Develops Climate Education Programs

The Central Great Plains Climate Education Partnership has been working over the past year to develop climate education programs for the region. The partnership includes organizations from Kansas and Nebraska as well as agricultural, community, and rural education stakeholders.

The grant will help agricultural producers and rural communities identify ways to manage future climate changes. It will also increase resources and provide new strategies for communities to learn about the climate. Educational materials that are developed through the grant will assist teachers and educators in teaching students about climate variability from a scientific basis.

Two rounds of meetings will be conducted as part of the research. During the first, focus group participants will be asked about their needs and desires for climate education. Working groups are currently developing ideas for those educational programs based on the information provided in focus group meetings. Those ideas will be presented to stakeholders during a second round of meetings for feedback and revision. In addition, the partnership will work with stakeholders to look at past climate variability of the region, previous adaptations that were successful, and projected climate changes.

The partnership's leadership team recently met with an advisory board including representation from K-State Extension, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Kansas State Department of Education, the Kansas Water Office, as well as rural agricultural educators and producers. Board members have decades of experience working with the stakeholder groups and provided feedback about potential educational programs.

The grant is part of a larger two-phase National Science Foundation (NSF) program. Phase one of the grant consists of a two-year planning period for each partnership to develop a strategic plan for climate education. Early next year they will apply for phase two funding, which begins in 2012. Phase two will consist of executing the educational programs that were designed in phase one. The grant will assist K-State in reaching its goal of becoming a top 50 public research university.