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Learning about climate impacts and equitable solutions.

Taking action to promote community resilience.

Youth Engaging in the Science of Resilience (YES Resilience) is a program designed to support informal educators as they engage diverse youth in developing locally relevant solutions to climate impacts in their communities, fostering youth environmental health literacy (EHL) for climate resilience. EHL refers to the knowledge, skills, and beliefs that enable people to make health-protective decisions using available environmental data.

The YES Resilience curriculum consists of 21 youth-informed educational activities that facilitate personalized and place-based investigation of:

  • Climate hazards including extreme heat, extreme precipitation, and sea level rise,
  • The role of justice in fostering climate resilience and
  • Solutions that build community resilience.

Activities align with the US Climate Resilience Toolkit’s resilience framework and are designed to be interdisciplinary, action-oriented, inclusive and provide opportunities to connect with other youth and community resources. Facilitators are provided lesson plans with learning objectives, procedures, connections to locally relevant citizen science projects and online tools, and suggested evaluation strategies.

Sample Activities and Materials

Climate Change in Your Community – Examine climate data and collect environmental data via personal sensors.

 

Examining Climate Hazards – These hazards include extreme heat, sea level rise, inland flooding, and more.
Climate Storytelling – Document and share how your community is impacted by climate change.

 

Planning for Climate Resilience – Evaluate climate mitigation/adaptation and identify specific measures.
Exploring Climate Justice – Identify vulnerable people and places that should be prioritized.

 

Facilitating Youth Climate Action Projects – A guidebook for informal educators to help youth apply their understanding.

 

Access the YES-Resilience Curriculum

All activities were developed and piloted during implementation of the YES Resilience pilot project described below and have been revised based on youth and facilitator feedback. Piloting with other groups under-represented in STEM is ongoing. The final, revised curriculum is anticipated to be available by August 2022.

Please complete the request form below for access to the YES Resilience curriculum or to inquire about piloting activities.

YES-Resilience Request Form

YES-Resilience Pilot Project

The YES Resilience pilot project explored the extent to which cohorts of diverse youth participating in science center programming developed EHL for climate resilience. The project also served to identify benefits and challenges of partnerships between research universities and informal science centers in implementing resilience programming.

From 2020-2021, 37 youth from rural and urban communities in NC participated in a year-long climate resilience program led in partnership by the Center for Public Engagement with Science, the NC Museum of Natural Resources (NCMNS) in Raleigh, NC and the NCMNS branch in Whiteville, NC.

The program was facilitated using hybrid in-person and virtual programming due to the covid-19 pandemic. Virtual programming included five half-day academies, nine climate leadership sessions, two community-building sessions, and a youth action forum. In-person programming included two three-day summer institutes, one at the NCMNS-Raleigh facility and one at the NCMNS-Whiteville facility.

Each session engaged youth participants in active learning on a range of climate science topics, from wildfires and flooding to extreme precipitation and heat. Youth also developed and practiced leadership and communications skills and engaged with one another, with youth outside the program interested in taking action in their communities, and with a range of professionals addressing climate resilience.

Empowering youth for a resilient future

  • (August 11, 2021) As climate change continues to impact daily life, researchers at the UNC Institute for the Environment want to discover the best way to teach the next generation to build … Continued

YES-Resilience youth science enrichment program wraps up with in-person summer institutes

  • (August 1, 2021) The UNC Institute for the Environment’s Center for Public Engagement with Science (CPES) concluded its 10-month-long science enrichment program in June with two, … Continued

MEDIA INVITED: Summer program to engage youth in learning about climate resilience, Whiteville, NC

  • (June 6, 2021) The Center for Public Engagement with Science (CPES) in partnership with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS) – Whiteville will host a three-day summer institute … Continued

Youth learn about resilience to wildfires, prescribed burns and air quality impacts

  • (April 29, 2021) On Mar. 20, the UNC Institute for the Environment’s Center for Public Engagement with Science in collaboration with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS) conducted a half-day virtual academy on the topic of climate change and forests for … Continued

IE, NCMNS youth program on climate resilience to begin Aug. 29 virtually

  • (August 26, 2020) On Aug. 29, 37 youth from North Carolina will begin the Youth Engaging in the Science of Resilience (YES-Resilience) Teen Climate Ambassadors program hosted by the UNC Institute for the Environment’s Center for Public Engagement with Science and … Continued

IE, NCMNS receive NSF funding to engage youth in learning about climate resilience

  • (November 3, 2019) Responding to the challenge of developing resilient communities as the world faces more frequent and severe extreme weather events, Kathleen Gray and Dana Haine of the UNC Institute for the Environment’s Center for Public Engagement with Science were recently awarded a $350,000 grant … Continued

Program evaluation was conducted by external evaluators from the Friday Institute Program Evaluation & Education Research Group. Preliminary results indicated statistically significant increases in knowledge, self-efficacy, and skills across all participants. About half of participants successfully implemented resilience action projects in their communities. The most common types of action project completed by youth were education or communications oriented. Topics addressed by youth action projects included urban heat mapping, composting and carbon collection, sustainable foodways, sun protection, waste reduction messaging communicated through art.

Collaboration was an essential component of achieving project objectives during YES Resilience. Many thanks to staff at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Whiteville, along with program evaluators from the Friday Institute Program Evaluation & Education Research Group.

  • Haine, D.B., Krester, J. & Wilkening, B. (2021, December) Strategies for empowering youth to contribute to climate resilience efforts in their communities. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, New Orleans, LA. Virtual.
  • Barg, H., Gray, K.M., Yelton, S.K., Haine, D.B., Lackey, T & Davis, R. (2021, December). Youth Climate Action: The Power of Making Personal Connections to Climate Change. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, New Orleans, LA. Virtual. Oral presentation
  • Gray, K.M. & Cross, L. (2021, October). Youth Engaging in the Science of Resilience in Urban and Rural NC. Advancing Informal Science Learning PI Meeting. Oral presentation.
  • Gray, K.M., Haine, D.B., Yelton, S. K., & Triana, V.E. (2021, October) Environmental health literacy: How can assessment inform resilience efforts? American Public Health Association, Denver, CO. Oral presentation.
  • Barg, H., Lackey, T., Haine, D.B., Yelton, S.K., & Gray, K.M. (2021, September). From Virtual Learning to Resilient Youth Action: Lessons Learned from the YES-Resilience Program. 30th Annual Environmental Educators of North Carolina Conference/Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance Regional Conference, Research Symposium, Arden, NC. Oral presentation.
  • Barg, H., Tuset, L. Izuakor, E. (2021, May). Youth Engaging in the Science of Resilience in Urban and Rural NC Teen Climate Ambassadors Program. Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference, Durham, NC. Oral presentation.
  • Haine, D.B. (2021, May). Empowering youth to contribute to climate resilience efforts in their communities: Lessons from the field. Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference, Durham, NC. Symposium.
  • Haine, D.B., Gray, K.M., Yelton, S.K., Barg, H., Lackey, T., O’Sullivan, R., Coleman, H., Coursey, N., Garcia L., & Harp, D. (2021, January). Strategies for empowering urban and rural youth to contribute to climate resilience efforts in their communities: Lessons from NC’s Youth Engaging in the Science of Resilience Teen Climate Ambassadors Program. American Meteorological Society, 30th Conference on Education: Urgency and Hope: K-12 education in a world of climate change, virtual. Oral presentation. Recording available: https://ams.confex.com/ams/101ANNUAL/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/379952
  • Haine, D.B., Gray, K.M., Yelton, S.K., Barg, H., Lackey, T., O’Sullivan, R., & Coleman, H. (2020, December). Cultivating environmental health literacy to empower urban and rural youth to contribute to climate resilience efforts in their communities. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. Virtual. Oral presentation.
  • Barg, H., Lackey, T., Haine, D.B., Yelton, S.K., & Gray, K.M. (2020, December). From virtual learning to youth action: Lessons learned from the Youth Engaging in the Science of Resilience (YES-Resilience) Teen Climate Ambassadors Program. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. Virtual. Poster presentation.
  • Haine, D.B., Gray, K., & Yelton, S. (2019, November). Empowering youth to contribute to climate resilience efforts in their communities. North Carolina Coastal Conference, Wilmington, NC. Oral presentation.

Program Contacts

Sarah Yelton, Program Manager, sarah.yelton@unc.edu, 919-966-0895
Kathleen Gray, Principal Investigator (PI), kgray@unc.edu
Dana Haine, Co-PI, dhaine@unc.edu


This program is made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program (Award Number 1906846) (Principal Investigator: Kathleen Gray; Co-Principal Investigator: Dana Haine)