Youth Engaging in the Science of Resilience: Sensing the Environment and Envisioning Solutions
This Innovations in Development project supports racially and ethnically diverse youth in learning about climate resilience in informal settings, including community centers, afterschool programs, and museums. The project aims to: (1) build the capacity of community organizations to implement youth programming on climate resilience; (2) increase youth knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy associated with climate resilience (also referred to as environmental health literacy for climate resilience); and (3) explore how collaborating research universities and community organizations engage diverse youth in informal STEM learning. Project partners include the UNC Institute for the Environment, the University of Washington-Interdisciplinary Center for Exposures, Diseases, Genomics and Environment, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Juntos NC, and the Duwamish River Community Coalition (DRCC). Juntos NC and DRCC actively engage Latino and Indigenous youth in their programming and seek to implement resilience-focused programming that supports youth science learning and leadership development.
Together, informal educators and participating youth will develop locally relevant solutions to climate impacts in their communities. Youth will interact with university-based climate scientists and educators to collect and analyze data and will participate in resilience-focused dialogue, planning, and actions in their communities. Youth will share what they learn with their families and peers through family events and teen summits. The project will engage dozens of educators in community organizations and at least 250 youth, who will share what they learn with their families and communities, reaching hundreds more people through communications and local action projects. Mixed-methods assessment will provide insight into the extent participating youth (a) develop environmental health literacy for climate resilience, and (b) take action to address resilience in their home communities. The team will assess how these outcomes vary by location, and the implications of any variation on potential for project replication. A participatory evaluation, led by an external evaluator, will provide insight into empowerment outcomes. Findings will be disseminated to professional audiences at local and national conferences; and curricular materials from this project will be disseminated through the project website.
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