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Climate is Culture: Interpreting Climate Change on the Colorado Plateau

Climate is Culture: Interpreting Climate Change on the Colorado Plateau

In a time of increasing climate change impacts, park rangers and other place-based interpreters are on the front lines of communicating climate science and engaging the public in ways that inspire action and hope.

This fall, from September 6-9, 2022, the Earth to Sky project – an exciting, growing partnership between NASA, the National Park Service (NPS), and other federal agencies, as well as state and local organizations – offered an in-person climate change communication course for 25 interpreters and informal educators from across the Colorado Plateau, including participants from NPS, the US Forest Service, and state park rangers. The course combined NASA climate science with Native knowledge and perspectives. Over four days at the NPS Horace Albright Training Center at the Grand Canyon, participants developed climate communication products and programs tailored to their sites. Through science presentations, discussions, activities, model interpretive programs, and field trips, the course explored climate connections to culture and place, and brought stories of hope and resilience into the spotlight.

Many course participants shared a sense of motivation rooted in the Earth to Sky community, especially “being able to learn from and collaborate with people from all over the country that all have a common goal to communicate climate change". One participant stated, “The course gave me hope.” The programs, publications, and other interpretive products planned by participants will have a multiplying impact, reaching many thousands of visitors to public lands throughout the Colorado Plateau region with programs that bring together NASA climate science and NPS interpretation methodology. This course was offered in partnership with Grand Canyon National Park and the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, with great assistance from the Horace Albright Training Center staff.

The Earth to Sky project is supported by NASA’s Earth Science Division and is an infrastructure element of NASA’s Science Activation Portfolio.

Five people sit in a circle under pine trees.
Course participants and a coach discuss the morning’s field session in Kaibab National Forest.