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Landsat Helps NASA, Park Service Promote Climate Science Education

Landsat Helps NASA, Park Service Promote Climate Science Education

Source: Rob Gutro and Jeffrey G. Olson

A team from NASA, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today marked the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by launching the first of three interactive, educational climate science activities on the National Park Service WebRangers site.

The series introduces young people to climate change and its potential impact on their families, their neighborhoods, and their national parks through guided exploration of changes occurring around the planet. The new climate science learning experience begins at www.webrangers.us/activities/climate.
“Investigating Global Connections” encourages children to examine changes occurring in a variety of locations, from coral reefs at Florida’s Biscayne National Park to vanishing sea ice near Arctic coastal villages. As they progress through the activity, site visitors will also draw upon evidence of change provided by NASA images and satellite observations (including Landsat) and draw conclusions about whether Earth is warming.
Children participating in this activity join more than 115,000 other registered WebRangers on the free, kid-friendly website. Site visitors who successfully complete all three climate science modules will earn one of 50 certificates required to obtain a Junior Ranger achievement patch and a personalized congratulatory letter in the mail.
“Change is happening,” said Bob Bindschadler, an expert in polar research at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “Through initiatives like this, kids will register a solid memory of what America’s national parks look like now and will recognize—and hopefully work to curb—changes to their landscapes during their lifetimes.”
Tom Davies, a Philadelphia-based National Park ranger who is program lead for WebRangers, believes NASA’s space-based vantage point is essential to the value of the three-part series. “We’re able to bring NASA’s unique worldview to kids and grown-ups alike,” said Davies.
Each activity in the WebRangers climate series also provides a downloadable climate change resource list, including links to NASA Web sites like Climate Kids, Earth Observatory, and Eyes on the Earth.
Development of the climate science WebRangers activities is an outgrowth of Earth to Sky, an ongoing partnership the three agencies started in 2004 to actively foster collaboration between the science and education communities linked to NASA and the Park Service.
“This activity links NASA’s space-based views with natural and cultural resources found in parks and other protected landscapes,” said Anita Davis, education and outreach coordinator for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission office at Goddard. “These connections bring real world relevance to the story of global change and, hopefully, also inspire children to consider careers in natural and physical sciences.”
NASA Press Release
Investigating Global Connections

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