“Earth to Sky - Pacific West” - a Regional Climate Science and Communication course - was successfully convened at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, May 3-5, 2016.
More than 60 scientists and science communicators gathered in San Francisco last month, to talk and learn about changing climate in the Pacific West. This was the second instance of a new regionally-focused training model that Earth to Sky hopes to take to many other regions of the country over the coming years. For three days, at the General’s Residence in Fort Mason, scientists/presenters from NASA and many other organizations including UC Davis, the Marine Mammal Center, federal and state agencies, and non-profit groups, discussed the latest news about climate impacts and their implications to the Pacific Coast. Funding and support for the course was made possible by the NPS Climate Change Response Program, Mather Training Center, and by continuing leadership and generous support from NASA.
Participants came from all across the region (from American Samoa to Whiskeytown NRA, from Point Reyes to Greater Farallones Nat’l Marine Sanctuary), representing numerous governmental, non-gov’t, and community organizations - one of the most diverse audiences ever assembled for Earth to Sky. They were highly engaged by many stimulating presentations beginning with the Jet Propulsion Lab’s Ian Fenty, talking about Climate Change and El Nino across the Pacific Coast. Discussions continued over 3 days through numerous plenary and concurrent sessions, culminating in panel discussions about Adaptation and Mitigation featuring Dr. Patrick Gonzalez of the NPS, Kevin Conger from CMG Landscape Architecture, and Alex DiGiorgio from CA utility company MCE. Their conclusion - how we adapt our communities and environment will be more about visioning the future than protecting the past.
Among the many highlights of the course was a field trip to the Marin Headlands on Wednesday morning. The half day case study included presentations by Will Elder on several Sea Level Rise exhibits, Roxi Farwell demonstrating a ‘Magic Window” teaching tool that helps students see and understand geologic change on the landscape, Kerri McAllister illustrating citizen science and curriculum projects by her organization, NatureBridge, and concluding with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, conducted by Adam Ratner, Guest Experience Manager.
Earth to Sky (ETS) is expanding its efforts through this course with new emphasis on partnering, and sharing new research specifically within a locally-based and engaged community of communicators and scientists. We are delighted with its successful launch, and look forward to the many future opportunities and new products that will surely result about changing climate in this region.
For more information and to access course presentations and materials on-line; click on Professional Development and look for "ETS @ PW 2016." (You’ll need to register - for free - on the site to access all the many resources.)