Weather + Climate Day and Contest

Category: 
Community Based

Weather + Climate Day is a statewide education program in Maryland focused on engaging students, teachers, and informal science educators with climate change through the lens of weather. As part of Weather + Climate activities, students across the state were invited to enter a competition using artistic expressions or science-based presentations to explain climate change and its potential impacts on our future. After months of preparation, the finalists were invited to a culminating event at the National Aquarium where they presented their final projects in front of family, friends, other contestants, and hundreds of Aquarium visitors.

Weather + Climate Day - 2015

Goals: 

The goal of W + C Day is to reach students and teachers in the Maryland / Chesapeake region to learn about the science of climate change, its impacts on the future, and inspire action at the community level and beyond.

"I gave students this project to do and a lot of students chose to do it in the classroom. Tori and her classmates decided to go out of the classroom to do it, and took the project and went farther than I could've ever imagined. They did that part all on their own." Brittany Tignor from Snow Hill Middle School

High Level Impact: 

A shared theme amongst all the Weather+Climate activities reflected Climate Central’s commitment to reaching new audiences with climate change messaging. Perhaps the most prominent way in which we met this goal was through the delivery of climate change messages to almost 5000 visitors to the Aquarium.

For students and their teachers, it was a memorable experience that included – among other things – engagement at school as well as at home. Students arrived at W+C Day either with their teachers or with parents, or with both. Conversations with some of the parents over the course of the day revealed not only great pride in their children, but also acknowledged their own learning about the subject matter as their children prepared their entries (and for some, their performances).

Teachers were clearly engaged and found the challenge of the contest a refreshing and creative way to involve students in learning about an important issue. “Please, let’s do it again,” we heard from several of them. We also found the comments of one Advisory Committee member significant when his take-away from participating as a judge revealed his commitment to improving the curriculum for middle school children.

We were inspired by the extraordinary commitment displayed by many of the state’s weathercasters who participated in one way or another: Dan Satterfield from WBOC in Salisbury, Erica Grow from WUSA in Washington D.C., Emily Gracey of Fox45 Baltimore, Jeff Halverson of Capital Weather Gang, and Tim Williams and his assistant news director, Christine Coleman Taylor of WJZ Baltimore. This group not only promoted the event and the contest in social media during the weeks leading up to contest deadlines, but they also participated as panelists and moderators, bringing professionalism and stature to the event.

Lastly, we were very pleased to be part of a campaign that brought members of the Climate Communication Consortium of Maryland together in an activity that was truly cooperative and jointly owned. Each member brought important elements to the creation of the contest, the outreach, and the activities of the day itself. Their spirit of camaraderie, borne of co-creation, inspired and sustained Climate Central’s coordinating team, and all have expressed interest in planning an event for next year.

Point of Contact: 

Sean Sublette, ssublette@climatecentral.org, Climate Central