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Carbon Footprints, Carbon Sinks, and Carbon Stewardship: A Partnership Between Informal Educators and Classroom Teachers

Abstract

"Pickering Creek Audubon Center of Easton, Maryland, developed and tested an introductory science unit on global climate change in six, fifth-grade classes. Through a series of lessons led by Pickering Creek educators and classroom teachers, students progressed through the topics of carbon, the carbon cycle, greenhouse gases, and climate change. Students learned how our actions affect the global climate, how climate change impacts local habitats and wildlife, and how we can slow the effects of climate change by decreasing our carbon source intake while increasing the planet's carbon sinks. Pickering Creek educators and classroom teachers dispelled common climate change myths and misconceptions, and provided opportunities for students to learn both in the classroom and outside in the schoolyard. Students engaged in age-appropriate climate change solutions by helping decrease their household's carbon footprint, increasing the schoolyard's carbon sink, and by sharing their knowledge with the community and encouraging others to take action as well. Feedback from teachers, school administrators, and the public has been positive and encouraging, and pre- and post-assessment results show an increase in student knowledge regarding climate change topics."

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