Session: Fostering Action: empowering communities and youth to build resilience

Addressing and responding to climate change take an all-hands-on deck approach. Join the speakers in this session to learn about ways they connect with students, professionals, and members of the community. Featured examples will include a Marine Docent approach to teaching the fundamentals of ocean acidification, the Seacoast Science Center’s new initiative to grow a network of citizen science partners that is community-driven and open to all, a new cohort-based immersion program, CoastWise, for students and professionals working on coastal resilience and marine resource management, and ways to engage local students in hands-on community-based mitigation and adaptation solutions from the Gulf of Maine Field Studies Class.

Teaching the Fundamentals of Ocean Acidification

This session will cover the relationship between rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and increasing acidification of ocean waters and its impacts on marine species, particularly plankton and shell-forming organisms. The goal of the session is to provide participants with tools to communicate important aspects of ocean acidification and its relationship to climate change.

Brandy Hardiman, UNH Marine Docents – Ocean Acidification Team

Nancy Archibald, UNH Marine Docents-Ocean Acidification Team

Brandy Hardiman has a degree in Marine Biology and has trained with NNOCCI (National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation) to have more productive conversations around climate change. Nancy Archibald has a degree in Biology and worked in the marine biology field for 10+ years. Both have been UNH Marine Docents for 6 years. Parts of the presentation have been previously tested with groups of Marine Docents, a 4H group, NMEA (National Marine Educators Association), and other school groups through the UNH Marine Docent Floating Laboratory program. We have also participated in events at Seacoast Science Center and Portsmouth’s Piscataqua Riverfest, as well as had a display table at Beaches 2019.


Connected Learning Through Community Science: Investigating Climate-Driven Change in Our Local Ecosystems

The Seacoast Science Center is excited to embark on a new initiative of community partnership in which Odiorne Point State Park (OPSP) will serve as a living laboratory for a variety of community science investigations, observations and inquiries. This project is an experiment in community design and collaboration and this presentation will highlight the activities and resources in development. The engagement approach includes a suite of entry-points for many different audiences, instructional approaches, locations, ages, and engagement levels. The hope is that by creating this community science thread throughout multiple programs and approaches, we can reduce barriers for participation and increase community engagement and meaningful decision-making around these local coastal topics. This is a four-year project, and we are actively soliciting research projects and community partners to help shape and grow the effort. Participants will learn more about the initiative and be invited to help grow this new program.

Kate Leavitt, Seacoast Science Center

Kate Leavitt is the Chief Program Officer at the Seacoast Science Center, in Rye, NH, where she works to engage her staff, funders, partners and networks in developing high quality, science-based learning experiences that nurture personal connections with Odiorne Point State Park and the coastal marine environment through first person interaction. Kate holds a B.S. in Marine and Freshwater Biology from University of New Hampshire, and M.A. in Biology from Miami University.


NH CoastWise: Learnings from the First Year of a Cohort-Based Networking and Professional Development Program

New Hampshire CoastWise is a year-long, cohort-based immersion program for students and professionals working on coastal resilience and marine resource management issues in the state. Designed to build new skills and stronger networks, CoastWise seeks to cultivate an engaged and diverse workforce to tackle the challenges facing our coasts to support more engaged and impactful coastal research across disciplines.  Participants will learn about the CoastWise program, initial outcomes and lessons learned from this first year, and have the opportunity to share input on ways to enhance and build the program.

Lisa Wise, NH Sea Grant/UNH Extension

Lindsey Williams and Diane DeVries, NH Sea Grant

Lisa Wise (she/her) is the Climate Adaptation Program Manager with NH Sea Grant and UNH Extension, providing outreach and engagement support for NH communities related to climate change. Lisa completed a professional master’s in coastal ecosystem management at the University of New Hampshire in 2015, with a focus on community engagement and collaboration. She co-coordinates the new NH CoastWise program, in partnership with colleagues Lindsey Williams and Diane DeVries.

Diane DeVries is a Program Assistant supporting NH Sea Grant projects such as CoastWise, as well as related UNH Extension programs. Her interests focus on understanding the effect that human society has on the world and working toward solutions that preserve the environment, while maintaining the lives of the creatures and people in it. She enjoys collaborating with others in the community who bring similar talents, passions, and mindset to learn how to preserve ecosystems and minimize human impact on the natural world. Diane has previously worked as a Wetland Scientist, conducting wetland delineations, permitting, and natural resource documentation. She is also a graphic and digital media designer and previous owner of two digital marketing companies. Diane earned her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Southern Maine, and B.S. in Environmental Sciences: Ecosystems from the University of New Hampshire.


Empowering Youth to Facilitate Community Conversations and Actions

The Gulf of Maine Field Studies Class is educating and empowering youth to address coastal resilience in their community by engaging local stakeholders, leaders and organizations.  These young adults are spurring action in their communities to address the real threats facing their coastline due to climate change.  Learn ways to engage local students in hands-on community-based mitigation and adaptation solutions. Melissa and Leia will walk you through the class’s experiences that can be applied to your educational setting and community.

Melissa Luetje, Kennebunk High School, Science Teacher and The Climate Initiative Curriculum Developer

Leia Lowery

And student presenters

Melissa Luetji had been the lead teacher in the Gulf of Maine Field Studies class with Leia for 4 years.  Melissa has a Master’s in Education and has been a science teacher 19 years.  Leia has been an educator for 20 years and in environmental science for 15.