Creating a Community of Practice among NASA, NOAA, and NSF Climate Literacy Grantees

Saturday, February 13, 2016: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Wilson B (Marriott Wardman Park)
Carrie McDougall, NOAA, Washington, DC
The effort needed for comprehensive climate change education is far greater than any one institution, education sector, or federal agency can handle. Recognizing a need to synergistically combine efforts, NSF, NASA, and NOAA created a collaborative community of their climate change education principal investigators (PIs) through tri-agency coordination. The goals of this tri-agency collaboration are to leverage existing resources, minimize duplicate efforts, and facilitate communication among this community of scientists and educators. NASA, NOAA, and NSF have worked together to strategically coordinate and support a portfolio of projects focused on climate literacy and education in formal (K-12 and college) and informal (museums, aquariums) learning environments. The activities of the tri-agency collaboration, including annual meetings for PIs, a catalog of the agencies collective investments in climate change education ( and a common evaluation framework, have created a strong national network for effectively engaging diverse audiences with the principles of climate literacy. The programs that form the collaborative effort are NASA ESTEEM (formerly NICE), NSF Climate Change Education Program, and NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Grants

Although this collaboration was not originally conceived as a collective impact model—funding for these programs was provided from Congress to each agency with no accompanying mandate to coordinate—through the relationships of the program officers and the collaboration among the PIs, the effort has evolved to resemble collective impact and can be retrospectively analyzed as such.

This presentation will include discussion of the successes, including the easy creation of a collaborative network, and the challenges, including the need to include other disciplines beyond the natural sciences and solutions to climate change as well as diversifying the funding portfolio from non-federal sources (e.g., philanthropic) in order to sustain and scale up efforts that are proving effective. Currently the effort is focused on how to assess the impact of the collective effort apart from the impact of the individual parts.