Kara Lynn Dunn, P: 315-465-7578, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ithaca, NY, August 16, 2010 - As part of its Coastal Climate Change Adaptation Initiative (CCCAI) project, New York Sea Grant organized a two-day workshop on how to communicate climate science to diverse audiences and how to begin integrating climate science into Cornell Cooperative Extension programming. Forty Cornell Cooperative Extension, New York and Lake Champlain Sea Grant Extension and NOAA/National Weather Service staff attended the workshop at the Ramada Inn Conference Center in Ithaca August 3-4.
New York Sea Grant (NYSG) Extension's CCCAI project leaders are NYSG Fisheries Specialist David MacNeill, NYSG Interim Associate Director and Invasive Species Specialist Chuck O'Neill, and NYSG Recreation & Tourism Specialist David White. David J. Nicosia, a Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the NOAA/National Weather Service in Binghamton, NY, co-organized the workshop.
"This in-depth training provided Extension educators with a comprehensive overview on the climate system, how it may be changing, how these changes could potentially affect Extension audiences and some recommended guidelines for how Extension educators could communicate climate science information to their audiences," said MacNeill, who shared extensive bibliographies of climate-related tools and resources.
Presentations by Cornell University faculty, Cornell Cooperative Extension staff, and meteorologists from the National Weather Service and the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell addressed both the science of climate, weather and water systems, and how to communicate climate-related impacts to diverse groups.
O'Neill said, "This workshop created a dialogue among Extension educators, scientists, meteorologists, and communicators on how we can best equip Extension to use science-based resources to educate a vast mix of stakeholders."
Educators attending the workshop represented food systems, wetlands ecology, natural resources, consumer science, renewable energy and energy conservation, horticulture, agriculture, fisheries, invasive species research and outreach, recreational anglers, community workforce, water quality and stormwater management, and 4-H youth education sectors.
Dr. Holly Menninger, a Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell, said, "As educators, we must communicate clearer messages about climate change that reduce complexity and minimize technical jargon. We should focus on the risks, consequences, and opportunities presented by climate change and, most importantly, make this global issue locally relevant to our stakeholders."
Dr. Art DeGaetano, Director of the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell, presented information on the Center's diverse data products, including observation data records, some reaching back into the 19th century.
"Our systems track and analyze data for temperature, growing season days, precipitation trends, the intensity and frequency of storms, snowfall, and solar radiation in 12 states from Maine to West Virginia and we are interested in creating new models and products based on needs identified by Extension and stakeholders," DeGaetano said.
Dr. Bruce V. Lewenstein, a Professor of Science Communication at Cornell, and Dr. Katherine A. McComas, an Associate Professor in Cornell's Department of Communication, led workshop participants in a small group exercise on developing well-designed science-based educational programs for target populations, including CCE educators, local officials, youth and agricultural producers.
Other speakers included Cornell Department of Horticulture Plant and Soil Ecology Professor Dr. David W. Wolfe, Cornell Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Research Associate Dr. Stephen Shaw, Dr. Paula Brown and Dr. Lee Tryhorn of the Northeast Regional Climate Center, Dutchess County Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Issue Leader and CCE Energy & Climate Change Team member Dr. Allison Chatrchyan, and New York Sea Grant Coastal Processes and Facilities Specialist Jay Tanski.
As a result of the workshop, a new Cornell Climate Change Project Work Team (PWT) is forming. Chatrchyan and Wolfe will co-chair the team of faculty, on-campus and field Extension educators, and New York Sea Grant educators.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Sea Grant Program provided funding for the CCCAI workshop.