CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – West Texas A&M University gave a shout-out to a professor and students working to spread climate science education around the Panhandle area, who will visit elementary schools in October and November to give demonstrations.
Dr. Naruki Hiranuma and the WT Climate Science Society developed an outreach program focused on offering climate science education to a number of age groups, according to WT, that they hope to loan out to schools. The program has been shown to over 750 students at 21 outreach events since September 2020, and has also been conducted by Canyon Independent School District teachers at the Don Harrington Discovery Center and Amarillo Zoo.
“Combining the topics of environmental and climate science is an efficient and interesting tool to connect young students with fundamental science by demonstrating how science provides information so one can interpret, digest and solve everyday life problems,” Hiranuma said.
WT described that the program is split into three modules with different age groups in mind. The first aims to demonstrate to students how clouds are formed by creating clouds with dry ice and water. The second aims to show students the ways that carbon dioxide can impact heat absorption. The third focuses on how those impacts have consequences in Arctic ecosystems.
“The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the world,” Hiranuma said. “Overall, this phenomenon—called Arctic amplification—has altered the Arctic sea ice coverage, climate and ecosystems over the last few decades. Providing public visibility is important to resolving the knowledge/enthusiasm gap between scientists and the public.”
Altogether, Hiranuma said that his group hopes to show grade schoolers that science education can be fun. Further, Hiranuma estimated that the outreach modules could have a direct impact on about 10,000 students in grades K-12, as well as over 70 Panhandle-area science teachers. The group also hopes to bring the climate education program to Japan and other countries.
The group is expected to host a demonstration on Tuesday at Spring Canyon Elementary School and another at Gene Howe Elementary in November. Further, CSS is planning to offer outreach activities at the Amarillo Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo event on Oct. 21 and 22, in addition to partnerships with Canyon ISD and other schools.
The WT Environmental Science Program, as noted on the university resource page, offers training for students on a range of topics including agriculture, biology, chemistry, math, and others and applies them to environmental issues. Officials with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, professors with the WTAMU system including WT, and other environmental experts also present research and environmental education strategies as a part of conferences like the Texas Groundwater Summit and other collaborative efforts to spread awareness and build solutions for environmental issues. Whether it’s education at an industry or local level, for adults or children, environmental experts and resource managers have continued to promote education as a cornerstone for efficient environmental policy and strategies.