School News

Climate Club DC Presentation Features at AGU Fall Meeting

Climate Club DC, founded at Lowell, is a student-led initiative focused on educating others about climate change and advocating for environmental responsibility. On December 11, at their Fall Meeting: Shaping the Future of Science, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) will feature a 15-minute video Lowell students created telling the club's story and how they help everyday people understand climate science. Even though the conference is virtual, students have opportunities to "present, meet scientists, and network," Natalie Stapert says, "it's definitely advancing our club to a new level." The club's presentation headlines the "Education" section of the conference, which includes a live Q&A session that students will attend. Climate Club members will also join a roundtable discussion on Climate Literacy on December 17.
 
How It All Started
 
This video presentation for AGU was produced in collaboration with Jim Callahan, director of Mobile Climate Science Labs. Lowell students partnered with Mobile Climate Science Labs to participate in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Family Science Days event. Jim trained students to use thermal infrared cameras and equipment to detect short- and long-wave infrared light and measure an object's radiated heat transfer. At the event, students put on demonstrations, lead hands-on activities using CO2 models to illustrate how light from the sun gets trapped in the earth's atmosphere, and answered questions from attendees while working alongside professors in Howard University's NCAS-M, Atmospheric Science, and Chemistry programs, NOAA, and NASA.
 
Since then, students have presented at the U.S. Science and Engineering Festival, the Environmental Youth Forum NASA JPL Climate Day, and were featured in the Anacostia Environmental Youth Summit. They've attended the D.C. Youth Climate Strike and congressional meetings to express their concerns about climate change. Lowell middle school students organized and formed the Climate Club DC, complete with a Twitter account @ClimateClubDC and a robust YouTube channel to further climate science education focused on communities of color and places that lack climate education. Even during the pandemic, the club is actively hosting Zoom calls with scientists like Liza Goldberg, an intern and student research assistant at the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center, and Vermont State Climatologist Dr. Dupigny-Giroux.
 
Becoming Leaders
 
Frank Neipold, the climate education coordinator at NOAA's Climate Program Office, zoomed in with the climate club to speak about the Action for Climate and Empowerment (ACE) National Strategic Plan and Framework, which will guide the nation's climate education programming under the next administration. The goal of the strategic plan and framework is to empower the public to help find solutions to the climate crisis, which will bring about a dramatic shift in climate education and engagement.
 
To prepare for Frank's visit, students divided the 50-page plan into sections to read. Overall, students supported the plan but had questions as to how the plan will be carried out. They also expressed interest in how the plan will involve youth and people of color (PoC) to build equity as part of the solution. Frank said that while the plan's goals are defined, there are still opportunities to give feedback and get involved. Frank enthusiastically invited club members to join committees and make suggestions as to how leaders should implement the plan.
 
The Future
 
Climate Club DC seeks to grow beyond Lowell's walls to become an organization with local chapter clubs and meetups across the nation with an active agenda. Meanwhile, students continue to learn and deepen their knowledge of climate science, staying on top of the latest developments. Social Studies teacher Josh Silver says students studied remote sensing technologies this year by analyzing satellite and infrared imagery from climate-related events such as hurricanes and forest fires. They integrated what they have learned in their presentation at AGU and social media outreach. "They are truly motivated and are true champions for doing what they can to help our planet," says Josh, "it's been a pleasure to work with them and watch them grow."
Lowell School is a private PK-8th grade school located in NW Washington, DC. At Lowell students gain the knowledge, skills, and social-emotional literacy to be the bold leaders and creative problem solvers our world needs.