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Kerry Stevison of the Saint Louis Science Center discusses the process she went through in engaging expert presenters for a community conversation on climate change.

Kerry Stevison of the Saint Louis Science Center discusses the process she went through in engaging expert presenters for a community conversation on climate change.

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    Speaker Selection Speaker Selection Presentation Transcript

    • Community Conversation on Climate Change Saint Louis Science Center March 12 th , 2011
    • C3
      • Communicating Climate Change Project
      • ASTC and NSF
      • Museums in 12 cities use citizen science projects to connect people to the issue of climate change
      • In St. Louis, teens from the Youth Exploring Science (YES) Program participate
    • FrogWatch and Butterfly Counts
    • Three Speakers
      • Dr. Zaitao Pan of St. Louis University, who gave an introduction to climate change and an overview
      • Dr. Patty Parker of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who discussed how climate change affects human health
      • Dr. Sarah Coffin of St. Louis University, who gave a talk about the economic and civic effects of climate change
    • Why These Speakers?
      • Dr. Pan was recommended as someone who could give a brief overview of climate change before other speakers discussed more specific topics
      • Dr. Parker was chosen because I had heard her speak previously, and she was very engaging about an interrelated topic
      • Dr. Coffin had given previous presentations at the zoo about an interrelated topic that is of interest to many people
    • Why These Speakers?
      • All three speakers had given presentations before, and that is where I started looking
      • Not all were my first choice, but I had topics in mind and invited multiple scientists
      • Topics were chosen based on how well they related to people ’s lives
      • Other topics I considered were the effects on: the local region, food and severe weather
      • I did not focus on evidence for climate change, because most visitors to such events are already convinced
    • Facilitation of Conversations
      • YES Teens were trained on facilitation the week before the event and sat with groups
      • Educators from various local organizations were also invited to help facilitate. They were trained for a few minutes before the event started.
      • Visitors could choose a topic to focus on in their small groups. Topics were:
        • What can educators do?
        • What can I do at home?
        • What can we do on a national level?
    • Facilitation of Conversations
      • I invited many educators to this event in the hope that they would be inspired to include more climate change activities in their programs; therefore, I created a discussion group just for them.
      • Other visitors were people who are interested in environmental issues and who might appreciate a discussion about how they can make a difference at home.
      • The last discussion group was for those who wanted to be active on a large scale—regionally, nationally or politically.
      • The speakers ’ topics were not directly related to the discussion topics. Instead, the speakers’ topics were intended to engage the visitors in the issue, while the discussion groups followed up that engagement with concrete steps that could be taken.
    • Lessons Learned
      • All 3 scientists talked for a much longer time than was allotted.
      • The discussion group about acting at home seemed to be the most successful
      • The other 2 discussion topics seemed to require follow-up discussions from group members or more time
      • While the C3 teens did a great job helping to facilitate the event, the other YES teens need a deeper, more active program to become engaged with the issue
    • Outcomes
      • The main outcomes were a greater understanding of the issue for many audience members and the motivation to act on a small scale at home
      • Through this event and others, the Science Center is working to become known a place where adults can come to learn about controversial science issues