On December 3, 2014 the White House announced plans for their Climate Education and Literacy Initiative, which includes the Connecting Climate to Communities Initiative (C3I) – a Chicago Botanic Garden-led partnership of 12 midwest conservation and community organizations, including Project Exploration.

A part of President Obama’s “Climate Action Plan,” the Climate Education and Literacy Initiative consists of several governmental projects (including things like beefing up the National Park Service’s climate education program) and non-governmental projects, including  “a diverse array of innovative approaches being implemented in K-12 classrooms, on college and university campuses, and in zoos, parks, aquariums, and museums to educate and engage students and citizens of all ages.” (Read the full press release here.)

Project Exploration is proud to be a part of this nationwide initiative, and our participation dovetails perfectly with ongoing efforts to build our Environmental Science Pathway. Plans for PE activities as a part of C3I (funded in part by a grant from the EPA) are described below:

“Project Exploration (PE) will implement Climate Change as one of the core subjects that is introduced to out-of-school time programs.  We will actively seek college students that specialize in ecology, conservation, or preservation to mentor girls in grades 6th-8th during the afterschool program Sisters4Science (S4S). PE will work together with community development corporations to target Chicago Public Schools in their neighborhoods that need STEM opportunities and identify assets in the community that can support their learning. PE will also connect with Chicago Botanic Garden, Garfield Park Conservatory, The Morton Arboretum, Brookfield Zoo, and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum to conduct field trips, recruit female guest scientist for S4S, and conduct presentations for community meetings. Girls participating in the program will be a part of PE’s day long leadership retreat and participate in activities that promote healthier habits for the planet.

Project Exploration will connect with community development corporations to document activities already existing, investigate level of understanding of their role in climate change, and connect community leaders to resources that will guide their efforts to make positive sustainable changes with businesses, educational institutions, housing, etc.”

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