USM "MADE-CLEAR" Grant Sets Stage for Climate Change Education in Maryland, Delaware

Adelphi, Md. (Oct. 5, 2010) -- The National Science Foundation has awarded a planning grant of nearly $1 million to the University System of Maryland (USM) to survey existing resources in Maryland and Delaware for future development of climate-change education curriculum.

The program will be known as MADE-CLEAR: Maryland Delaware Climate Change Education, Assessment and Research. MADE-CLEAR lays the foundation for climate change curriculum that will motivate more kindergarten-through-12th-grade (K-12) students to appreciate the power and relevance of science.

The University of Delaware is the USM's principal partner. The two institutions will identify how future climate-change education curriculum can be developed by identifying best use of the region's existing resources, including those available from NASA and the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration.

MADE-CLEAR aims to spur a higher degree of participation in the STEM disciplines, or science, engineering, math and technology. Such participation will launch a new generation of citizens with in-depth knowledge of environmental issues.

The principal investigator is Don Boesch, USM vice chancellor of environmental sustainability and president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The co-principal investigator is Nancy Shapiro, USM associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.

"Climate change is one of the grand challenges facing this planet, and its impacts -- including sea level rise -- will be most severely felt by residents in coastal areas such as Maryland and Delaware," Boesch said. "This kind of proactive education and outreach effort is critical to preparing Mid-Atlantic residents for the types of changes we are likely to see in coming years, while broadening public understanding of the need to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions."

The initiative's primary charge is to build partnerships among states' research and teaching universities, public schools, state and federal agencies and the private sector to meet three objectives: 

1) Identify potential innovations in interdisciplinary P-20 (pre-primary through graduate school) climate change curriculum;

 2) Find new avenues for teacher education and professional development that lead to expertise in climate change content and teacher-training; and

3) Develop better scientific communication to the public through community outreach strategies that use new technology.

The two-year planning grant makes the USM eligible to apply for a $10 million implementation grant at the end of the two-year period. An implementation grant would allow USM to collaborate with education leaders in both states on development of climate-change curriculum for all grades in multiple subjects and offer teachers appropriate professional development.

 "The MADE-CLEAR grant offers an opportunity to tap into the especially rich environmental, intellectual and geographic resources of the region," Shapiro said. "By embracing the region's socioeconomic and geographic diversity, the MADE-CLEAR partnership will catalyze disparate resources and show how the effective solutions developed can be extended to much larger regions of the country."

The project first will develop an inventory of the current education and scientific resources related to climate change in the region. The second step will build on local communities to develop a strategic plan that fosters learning about climate change in Maryland and Delaware from kindergarten through college.



Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719