Dartmouth, MA. – The Lloyd Center for the Environment has received a $35,000 grant from the Braitmayer Foundation in support of the Center’s Climate Science Learning Project (CSLP). Aligned with the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks in science and engineering, the CSLP focuses on the projected effects of climate change on local biodiversity, introducing age-appropriate math, writing, critical thinking and life skills into core climate science lessons.
In its second year, the Climate Science Learning Project, piloted during the 2011-2012 school year, is a 5-year effort to create and implement curricula in public school science classes that include hands-on mentoring in climate science research for students from 3rd grade through high school. New climate science curricula involves students collecting data alongside Lloyd Center and visiting scientists in field observations of the biodiversity of the watersheds of the Slocum and Westport rivers, merging it with existing data collected by research staff and college interns from across the country into a single, and easily accessible website database for use by researchers at every educational level. Community education opportunities are also made available to parents and other local residents as part of the project, with all data assembled forming a basis from which public officials can create ecosystem management plans to prepare for the impact of climate change on southeastern New England.
“We are grateful to the Braitmayer Foundation, CHT Foundation, Dominion Foundation, Island Foundation, Motorola Solutions Foundation, and Rodgers Family Foundation for their support. Thanks to these wonderful organizations, we will be able to fully implement the climate science curricula developed and tested system-wide during the 2011-2012 school year in local public schools.” stated Lloyd Center Executive Director Rachel Stronach, “Standardization of the curricula and full implementation in the coming year will again provide up to 4,750 southeastern New England elementary and high-school-aged students with the opportunity to work with professional scientists to collect data essential to discovering and documenting the impact of climate change on local wildlife. This work will also create a replicable model for teaching climate science in school systems throughout the region.”
Funding from these foundations will also support a second annual Biodiversity week, the first of which involved 257 students from multiple schools in the region, led by instructors and researchers documenting species diversity in the local watershed. Lloyd Center staff, interns, volunteers and participating students documented over 500 species of plants and animals, with similar results expected in the coming year.
Climate Science Learning project activities are taking place at selected sites in the watersheds of the Slocum and Westport rivers, extending from the southeastern Massachusetts bio-reserve in Fall River to the Lloyd Center nature preserve in Dartmouth, and in public school classrooms from Fall River to Dartmouth. Related opportunities will be provided for participants of all ages to inspire a passion for science and understanding the relationship between human communities and natural systems.