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Communicating Climate Change: Lessons Learned from a Researcher-Museum Collaboration

    Authors: Christopher T. Parker1, Debbie Cockerham2,*, Ann W. Foss3
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    Affiliations: 1: Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth, TX 76105; 2: Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Fort Worth, TX 76107; 3: University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1499
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    Abstract:

    The need for science education and outreach is great. However, despite the ever-growing body of available scientific information, facts are often misrepresented to or misunderstood by the general public. This can result in uninformed decisions that negatively impact society at both individual and community levels. One solution to this problem is to make scientific information more available to the public through outreach programs. Most outreach programs, however, focus on health initiatives, STEM programs, or young audiences exclusively. This article describes a collaboration between the Research and Learning Center at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Dallas–Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex area. The collaboration was a pilot effort of a science communication fellowship and was designed to train researchers to effectively convey current science information to the public with a focus on lifelong learning. We focus on the broader idea of a university-museum collaboration that bridges the science communication gap as we outline the process of forming this collaboration, lessons we learned from the process, and directions that can support future collaborations.

References & Citations

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2. Selvakumar M, Storksdieck M 2013 Portal to the public: museum educators collaborating with scientists to engage museum visitors with current science Curator Museum J 56 69 78 10.1111/cura.12007 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cura.12007
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8. Cook J, Nuccitelli D, Green SA, Richardson M, Winkler B, Painting R, Way R, Jacobs P, Skuce A 2013 Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature Environ Res Lett 8 1 7 10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024 http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024
9. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2017 Communicating science effectively: a research agenda The National Academies Press Washington, DC
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11. McNeal KS, Hammerman JKL, Christiansen JA, Carroll FJ 2014 Climate change education in the southeastern US through public dialogue: not just preaching to the choir J Geosci Educ 62 631 644 10.5408/13-061.1 http://dx.doi.org/10.5408/13-061.1
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13. United States Census Bureau 2017 American fact finder https://factfinder.census.gov/
14. Dupigny-Giroux LL 2010 Exploring the challenges of climate science literacy: lessons from students, teachers and lifelong learners Geo Compass 4 1203 1217 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2010.00368.x http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-8198.2010.00368.x
15. McCaffrey MS, Buhr SM 2008 Clarifying climate confusion: addressing systemic holes, cognitive gaps, and misconceptions through climate literacy Phys Geo 29 512 528 10.2747/0272-3646.29.6.512 http://dx.doi.org/10.2747/0272-3646.29.6.512

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1499
2018-03-30
2019-10-21

Abstract:

The need for science education and outreach is great. However, despite the ever-growing body of available scientific information, facts are often misrepresented to or misunderstood by the general public. This can result in uninformed decisions that negatively impact society at both individual and community levels. One solution to this problem is to make scientific information more available to the public through outreach programs. Most outreach programs, however, focus on health initiatives, STEM programs, or young audiences exclusively. This article describes a collaboration between the Research and Learning Center at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Dallas–Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex area. The collaboration was a pilot effort of a science communication fellowship and was designed to train researchers to effectively convey current science information to the public with a focus on lifelong learning. We focus on the broader idea of a university-museum collaboration that bridges the science communication gap as we outline the process of forming this collaboration, lessons we learned from the process, and directions that can support future collaborations.

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