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Paul Smith’s prof takes lead role in US climate change education

PAUL SMITHS — Joseph A. Henderson, Paul Smith’s College Environment and Society faculty member, alongside K.C. Busch of North Carolina State University, secured a $50,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation to advance climate change education research.

Together, Busch and Henderson, alongside Don Haas from the Paleontological Research Institution of Ithaca, used the funding from the grant to organize and host the Climate Change Education Collective earlier this month, a first-ever national conference on climate change education. The digital interdisciplinary conference was held Jan. 6 to 8, bringing together groups of experts to advance research, policy and practice around broad themes in climate change education research. Approximately 75 people were in attendance from all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Canada.

The group is primarily research based, working with partners in the federal government and the United Nations to inform policy and best practices of climate change education. The collective is also providing research-based educational programs through partnerships in both the private and public sectors, including schools, museums, science venues and among meteorologists.

“Climate change adaptation is fundamentally an educational project. It is one of the greatest threats facing our country, and citizens have a right to accurate information to guide their actions,” Henderson said in a press release. “Our project provides the research basis for the rapidly expanding field of climate change education both within the United States and internationally.”

Henderson also took part in a book collaboration last year, co-editing “Teaching Climate Change in the United States,” a 222-page manuscript highlighting best practices in climate change education through examination of case studies throughout the U.S. The book was published in April 2020 by Routledge.

“Climate change is one of the key issues of our time,” said Paul Smith’s College Provost Nicholas Hunt-Bull, adding that, “I am proud that Paul Smith’s College is making a contribution to scholarship on climate change, and conducting research on how people learn about this issue and work together to develop solutions.”

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