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ESS Collaboratives Converge in Colorado

Contributed by Rich Wagner, Metropolitan State University

nearly 40 Earth System Science Collaborative conference attendees are lined up in two rows
In July 2022, six teams of GLOBE Earth System Science (ESS) collaboratives from across the United States convened in Estes Park, Colorado, for a one and a half day conference. There were about 40 attendees, including GLOBE staff Tony Murphy, Jen Bourgeault, Amy Chen, Ellen Thomas, and Eslam Khair. The Southwest region was represented by the Colorado team led by Noah Newman (CoCoRaHS) and also included overall project leads Deanna TeBorkhorst and John Ristvey (UCAR). Other members of the Colorado team in attendance were Andrew Warnock, Courtney Butler and Karina Hassell from Colorado State University (CSU), and Janelle Johnson and Rich Wagner from Metropolitan State University (MSU). The conference was designed to provide focused planning time for the six teams, and also allow lots of great interchange between the groups. 

The Colorado team recognized that the vast and varied experience in earth systems science education could be exploited to create workshops incorporating field experiences. A first pilot would focus on the needs of elementary teachers, with particular emphasis on cultivating their identity as science teachers. Long term goals of the collaborative project would be to increase ESS activities in classrooms across the state and to promote a community of practice among those teachers. The team was able to begin mapping out a timeline, consider ways to garner buy-in from principals, and anticipate challenges. 

attendees standing in a circle to participate in a soil investigation, with Kevin Czajkowski in the foregroundAs hosts to the conference, the Colorado team also contributed to the conference program for two activities for the entire conference. The CSU group led an in-depth soil investigation, looking at the impact of fire on soils. In situ field data collection and analysis was complemented by well-tested soil kits created by Andrew Warnock of CSU’s College of Natural Sciences Education and Outreach Center. Noah Newman (CoCoRaHS) moderated a climate panel discussion that included climatologists Rich Wagner (MSU) and Peter Goble from the Colorado Climate Center and University of Colorado Boulder PhD student Holly Olivarez.  

ESS Climate Panel Recording (July 8, 2022)

ESS Groups Report out Presentations and Feedback Recording (July 9, 2022)

Top photo: nearly 40 ESS Collaborative conference attendees, photo by Ellen Thomas.

Bottom photo: conference attendees participating in a soil investigation, photo by Kevin Czajkowski.

News origin: United States of America