Thank you for your interest to teach climate change science in your classroom. The impacts of climate change are often discussed as a future issue or as if there is nothing to be concerned about, but the scientific community is in overwhelming agreement that we are already experiencing the effects of a human-induced climate change.
The NPS mission statement says “The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” In the Midwest, climate scientists predict that summers will be longer and warmer, winters will be shorter and warmer, and precipitation will be heavier in the spring and fall. Climate determines where organisms can live, and a changing climate implies a change in the biological demographics of an ecosystem. If the NPS is responsible for preserving our parks for future generations, it’s necessary that we think through the impacts these anticipated changes will have on ecosystems within our parks, neighboring communities, and on our visitors.
To have the most impactful experience, it is recommended that educators make it local, data-driven, and hopeful.This unit was designed to embody those principles, and we hope that no matter which parts of this unit you decide to adopt in your classroom, you try to do the same. Thank you again for your role in communicating climate change. When we think about this problem alone, it can quickly become overwhelming. But when we all do our part and approach it together, the future looks a lot brighter. “The choices we make today do make a difference.”
Thank you for supporting our parks and our planet,