Climate change education cannot be restricted to formal education settings. As reported recently in American Scientist importance sources of scientific knowledge occur outside the classroom. These informal education sources include science-based institutions such as museums, zoos, aquaria, and nature centers; informal education organizations such as libraries, afterschool clubs, and youth programs; and mass media organizations such as televisions, radio, newspapers, and the Internet. These institutions and organizations provide opportunities for children and adults to learn about climate change in ways that are voluntary, non-assessed, and under the control of the learner. The MADE-CLEAR project seeks to establish collaborations across Maryland and Delaware informal education institutions and with formal education providers to support public of understanding of climate change and promote civic engagement in related topics such as sustainability.
Led by Catlyn Stylinski, the informal education working group has established partnerships with Maryland Public Television, the Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI), and Delaware Sea Grant, and have started discussions with other possible partners including the National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education. Dr. Stylinski and the ILI will be conducting a needs assessment with Maryland and Delaware informal education organizations/institutions to determine common efforts, outcomes, impacts, challenges and needs relevant to climate change education and to explore audience attitudes about climate change. The working group will use these findings to form collaboration and identify effective approaches. Please visit our partner page if your institution/organizations is interested in joining the MADE-CLEAR effort as a partner.