Climate Champions Virtual Summit


Climate Champions Virtual Summit

As part of UC San Diego, Birch Aquarium is committed to responding to the declaration of a climate emergency by the University of California Office of the President and Chancellors on all nine UC campuses. Nan Renner, Birch Aquarium’s Senior Director of Learning Design and Innovation is leading our efforts to bring climate action to the forefront—made even more urgent with the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report about the need for immediate, widespread action.

One such effort is her work with Climate Champions, which provides resources and learning opportunities for local schools and community organizations. This initiative, part of a state-wide effort that links university, K-12, and community, began in summer of 2020 thanks to funding from UC San Diego Social Sciences Climate Action Lab.

UC San Diego leaders from Birch Aquarium, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, CREATE (Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment, and Teaching Excellence), and the Department of Education Studies, along with the San Diego County Office of Education, have joined forces with teacher leaders, youth leaders, and community members to launch the pilot project.

In May, this initiative hosted the first-ever Climate Champions Virtual Summit — an interactive event that provided a platform to share a wealth of knowledge from diverse perspectives and offered opportunities to connect and collaborate. 

During the summit, youth leaders, teachers, community educators, and scholars shared action-oriented ideas and resources relating to climate challenges including classroom-ready curriculum and learning resources. The formal program concluded with a recorded performance of EarthRise by Amanda Gorman, the U.S. Youth Poet Laureate.

Recordings of the summit can be found here, with relevant sessions for teachers, students, and community members. 

Going forward, Climate Champions will continue to address educator and student needs, create and curate locally-focused climate curriculum, and host more events — online and in person — to promote professional learning, curriculum adoption, and community building.

Birch Aquarium will expand educational programs and exhibits integrating climate themes — causes, effects, solutions, and opportunities for individual and collective action — with a vision for a healthy future for all life on our planet. 

Follow Birch Aquarium on social media for news and updates relating to our work to address the climate crisis.