Students Showcase our Interactive Climate Tools to Enthusiastic Crowds

March 15, 2013 by Ellie Johnston

At the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) _annual conference in Boston, thousands got the opportunity to see a demonstration of some of our latest tools and some new interactive exercises to help people understand climate change. The exhibit was put together and led by University of Massachusetts Lowell professor Juliette Rooney-Varga and her students as part of the UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative to showcase how engaging learning about climate change can be. Below the UMass Lowell news office recounts their experience showing off these tools._Kids, Parents Given Introduction to Climate Change Science, Solutions By Edwin L. Aguirre, 03/13/2013

Students Showcase our Interactive Climate Tools to Enthusiastic CrowdsStudents experienced firsthand the important task of communicating climate change to the general public during the “Family Science Days” event held at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston in February.

“It was a great learning experience — the amount of science we were able to convey to people was awesome,” said biology senior Justin Conchieri. “I believe we really did inform a lot of people and changed a lot of minds. I even think we made people want to reduce their carbon footprint.”

“It was a joy to see our students educating the more than 3,600 attendees about climate change science and solutions,” said biology Assoc. Prof. Juliette Rooney-Varga, who is director of UMass Lowell’s Climate Change Initiative. “They were fantastic!”

Joining Conchieri were fellow biology seniors Cameron Jenkins, Heather Merhi, Nathan Manalo, Chika Iloh and Itoro Inoyo and biology sophomore Jared Nease.

“I was really surprised by the number of people who kept coming to the booth to get more information,” said Conchieri. “It was literally nonstop talking to people and a lot of times there would be a large crowd listening to us.”

Games for a New Climate

The students created an exhibit entitled “Games for a New Climate,” which was packed with interactive sessions that engaged children and parents alike.

“The activities combined simple, hands-on demonstrations with state-of-the-art decision-support computer simulations developed by one of our collaborators, Climate Interactive. The simulations are used by the U.S. Government, the United Nations and others,” said Rooney-Varga.

The activities included:

“We definitely contributed to giving the public more information about climate change,” said Merhi. “I think — and hope — the kids learned something as well as their parents. I noticed there were many teachers interested in the games and were taking notes to share with their classes. The teachers ranged from kindergarten instructors to college professors.”