(ITHACA, NY) Ann Reid, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has announced that the Board of Directors and staff of NCSE have selected the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) to receive a 2019 Friend of the Planet award. Reid explained, "…the Paleontological Research Institution — already a leader in informal evolution education — deserves special praise for The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change (2017), the single best available resource for teachers on climate change."
Dr. Warren D. Allmon, Director of the Paleontological Research Institution and Hunter R. Rawlings III Professor of Paleontology at Cornell University, said in response to the announcement,
“There is no more important work in science education that helping people understand and act on climate change, and we are proud and humbled to be honored for our part within the larger climate change educator community. We are especially thrilled to receive the Friend of the Planet Award from The National Center for Science Education, which itself has done so much to promote science education, particularly climate change education.”
The National Center for Science Education’s Friend of the Planet awards are presented annually to a select few whose efforts to support NCSE and advance its goal of defending the teaching of climate science. Previous recipients of the Friend of the Planet Award include Kerry Emanuel, MIT climate scientist; Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University; and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Besides PRI, this year the two other winners were Climate Parents, a national movement mobilizing for clean energy and climate solutions, directed by Lisa Hoyos; and Heidi Cullen, from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
Dr. Ingrid H. H. Zabel, Climate Change Education Manager at PRI, and one of the co-authors of The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change, noted “It's not easy being a teacher, especially one trying to teach about climate change—a vast, complex, interdisciplinary topic. With our book we're trying to make it easier, by providing the essentials of climate change science, regional climate perspectives, examples of solutions, communication strategies, and answers to frequently asked questions.”
The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change has been well received by educators across the country. Dr. Don Haas, Director of Teacher Programming at PRI, and another one of the authors of the book notes that “the book not only includes clear descriptions of the physical science, but also addresses the social science issues that make teaching about climate change a special (or different kind of) challenge, and it’s friendly to all readers who'd like to better understand climate, not just teachers.”
Dr. Alexandra Moore, Senior Education Associate at PRI, has been spearheading PRI’s effort to make the book available for free to every high school science teacher in the country through a crowdfunding campaign (which you can contribute to at: bit.ly/TeachClimateScience). Dr. Moore noted, “This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for climate. Climate change is real, and really important. At PRI we want to make sure that teachers and their students have access to the best possible information.”
Dr. Haas states “For PRI to receive this recognition is a testament to the quality and importance of our efforts. While it is flattering to receive the attention, I'm most pleased about the distinction's potential to draw attention to our work so that it gains further support. Everyone can help by sharing The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change (which is available as a free download at www.priweb.org/tfgcc) with their colleagues, attending our programs, and, of course, by giving to PRI and our crowdfunding campaign.”
In addition to the book, PRI continues to develop an extensive range of climate science-related programming. “Every day we're continuing our work in climate change education, disseminating Teacher-Friendly Guides, doing professional development for educators across the country, designing climate change exhibits for public venues, and much more.” states Dr. Robert M. Ross, PRI’s Associate Director for Outreach.
About the Paleontological Research Institution
The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) pursues and integrates education and research, and interprets the history and systems of the Earth and its life, to increase knowledge, educate society, and encourage wise stewardship of the Earth. PRI and its two public venues for education, the Museum of the Earth and the Cayuga Nature Center, are separate from, but formally affiliated with Cornell University, and interact closely with numerous University departments in research, teaching, and public outreach.