Logo for Albuquerque NIWLDCM Education and Public Outreach prepared and presented two sessions at the National Association for Interpretation’s Annual Conference in November, highlighting the NASA Explorer Institute, Earth to Sky. The conference was attended by over 1200 informal education specialists, representing the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and many state and county park systems, as well as nature centers,  zoos, aquaria, and other informal education venues. Earth to Sky is a growing partnership between NASA’s Space and Earth Science Divisions and the National Park Service (NPS). The effort is co-lead by LDCM EPO, and Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum leadership at GSFC and UC Berkeley, in partnership with leaders in interpretation within NPS.

LDCM EPO staff and NPS’ Chief of Interpretation for the Alaska Region prepared and presented a full day workshop using theEarth to Sky professional development workshops as a model of effective training about incorporation of science in informal education. Attendees received a wealth of exemplary NASA content for use in interpretive training and programming in their own locations, and took steps toward incorporating presented information to plan their own training efforts in the future.

LDCM EPO staff together with SECEF and NPS partners also prepared and presented a two-hour session demonstrating effective use of NASA science content in a broad variety of NPS informal education media, most of which were created as a direct result of theEarth to Sky partnership. Examples included a nascent on-line tutorial on interpreting global climate change for park visitors; a traveling display and accompanying NPS brochure on climate change in Parks;a fly-through of Grand Canyon (using Landsat data) created by the Mars Public Engagement team as part of a comparative planetology education effort; and an interactive kiosk exhibit recently installed at Yellowstone,  that uses NASA imagery and visualization capability to explain NASA-funded research on Bison migration and management. The climate change display and brochures (a joint NPS-LDCM effort) were available throughout the week-long conference, and proved very popular with attendees.. The traveling display will first appear in Alaska parks, and then be available for other parks’ use. It is featured on the GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio web site. The brochures are being distributed to many national parks interpreting climate change throughout the nation. The updated Earth to Sky website launched during the week of the conference features the climate change tutorial.

Contributor: Anita Davis

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