The Rochester Area Colleges Center for Excellence in Math and Science (RAC-CEMS) recently awarded the Finger Lakes Institute a $3,500 grant to host a conference in 2010 on Climate Change and the Impacts on the Local Environment. The Institute intends that this regional collaboration event will assist science teachers in sorting through some of the most recent research in the field of climate change to develop a deeper understanding of how this issue impacts New York State and specifically the Finger Lakes region.
“Climate change issues directly impact our regional environment and economy,” says Marion Balyszak, director of the Finger Lakes Institute. “Studies have shown that climate change is already affecting the migratory patterns of birds and other wildlife, regional agriculture, climate and weather patterns, and the invasion of non-native species to local aquatic and terrestrial environments.”
She notes climate change is also a catalyst for new and innovative research on alternative fuel sources and ways in which humans can alter their habits to improve their “ecological footprint.” The study of climate change involves earth, biological, environmental and statistical (math) studies, as well as economics.
In addition to the conference, the Institute will further support teacher professional development with Web-accessible resources that will include: a compendium of curriculum-related tools such as lesson plans and sample classroom presentations; available information on climate change research; links to other government-sponsored or university-affiliated Web sites on the topic; and local data and resources for further investigations.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges and its Finger Lakes Institute are well positioned to provide the necessary experience and focus for this theme, working in collaboration with RAC-CEMS and other regional academic partners and educational institutions to host a regional event. The concerns about climate change align with the goals of the Colleges’ Presidential Climate Commitment. HWS have joined more than 600 campuses nationwide that have signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment to achieve climate neutrality and provide leadership to other institutions of learning. It is anticipated that through an array of inter-connected training and educational initiatives, a next generation of citizens will develop leadership in the social, economic and technological solutions to reverse global warming.
In the photo above a snow geese flies over Seneca Lake: earlier spring thaws due to climate change in Hudson Bay are a boon to nesting snow geese, which have been reproducing prolifically in the past couple of decades.