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2018-05-15 / Academics

Area Educators and Students Take Part in ‘Climate Change Across Curricula’

By Rosie Cunningham


Danielle Eiseman, program manager for Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions provided a presentation regarding climate change facts in Grand Gorge Friday. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Danielle Eiseman, program manager for Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions provided a presentation regarding climate change facts in Grand Gorge Friday. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter GRAND GORGE - Educators from 19 schools and organizations spent Friday learning more about climate change and how to address the topic in schools. In addition, 10 students from Margaretville and South Kortright schools introduced presenters and assisted in organizing the day. The event, “Climate Change Across Curricula,” kicked off at NCOC BOCES (Northern Catskills Occupational Center) in Grand Gorge and was hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County.

The intention for the teacher training, which included a bus tour, is for educators to determine effective approaches in teaching climate literacy across disciplines, what local climate impacts threaten the future and what career opportunities are available to empower youth.

Keynote speaker Danielle Eiseman, program manager for Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions (CICSS) provided a presentation regarding climate change facts, as well as how educators can teach approach the topic within classrooms.

Eiseman covered the basics of climate change and the challenge of teaching when facts become politicized.

Part of her lecture included the need to provide engaging lesson plans to students but acknowledged that with limited availability of comprehensive training, this becomes difficult.

“How do you break this down with the limited time and resources that teachers have?” said Eiseman. “It’s difficult for teachers in the U.S. to address climate change because our ideas about the subject have become so politicized - we want to hold on to our social and cultural identities.”

Eiseman said presenting students with the facts of climate science and making the subject personally relevant is an effective approach teachers can utilize. Perhaps relate to farmers in the Northeast and how the rate of rainfall effects agriculture locally.

“Allow for a debate, prioritize problem-solving skills to help students conduct local projects to mitigate climate change,” she encouraged.

Eiseman said when an individual shares his or her belief as to whether climate change is “real” or not, she asks one question.

“We all believe in gravity, why not climate change?” she asked.

Eiseman added that individuals like to believe that climate change is only happening in third world countries.

“It is, but it is also happening here as well,” she said.

She detailed the science behind how climate change is occurring and emphasized that it is a man-made problem.

She added that three out of four teachers address climate change for approximately one hour, for the entire school year.

“This is just not enough,” she said.

Following Eiseman’s presentation, those in attendance gathered on the bus for the rest of the tour, which included the Gilboa Museum, New York Power Authority’s

Blenheim-Gilboa and Cammer Forest. During a stop in Prattsville, Kevin Piccoli, the Chairman of the Prattsville Redevelopment Corporation, led guests in a tour of flood damage from Hurricane Irene.

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