The Bonanza Creek LTER program has successfully engaged hundreds of youth in education and outreach programs concerning boreal forest ecology.
The Schoolyard LTER (SLTER) program has been one of the most successful components of BNZ outreach, involving numerous BNZ scientists and graduate students. We have teamed with three similar science education programs, Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment or GLOBE (NASA and NSF), Global Change Education Using Western Science and Native Observations (NSF), and an international project called Seasons and Biomes (NSF) to train science teachers from 50 Alaskan towns and villages in engaging students in long-term environmental research. LTER funding enabled 6 elementary and high school teachers to be added to the program. These schools now have their own long-term ecological research projects and have developed web sites. We developed a phenology unit involving K-12 students in ground validation of remotely sensed data, a first such opportunity for rural Alaskan students. This module has been incorporated into the GLOBE Teacher’s Guide and is used internationally (189 schools in 20 countries have reported phenology data archived at www.globe.gov).
Outreach to Communities, Agencies, and the General Public: BNZ has established successful interactions between artists and scientists resulting in performances for the general public on the theme of climate change. The LTER has hosted field-based workshops and informal meetings bringing together writers, musicians, dancers, visual artists, and BNZ scientists. These field trips and meetings have resulted in a series of art showings and performances.
We collaborate with the Alaska Native Science Commission (ANSC) in their program to address the environmental and ecological concerns of Native Alaskans. We participate annually in a community meeting that ANSC organizes, with each year focusing on a different region of Alaska. We provide information on the long-term ecological changes that we observe and we listen to and discuss with Native leaders their concerns about environmental changes that affect their subsistence and cultural activities.
We work closely with numerous state and federal agencies and Native organizations through joint research programs, discussions of management issues, jointly organized seminars, training programs for agency staff, and participation on Citizens’ Advisory Committee for the Tanana Valley State Forest. The active role that these managers have played in our LTER synthesis is indicative of the close working relationship that we have developed with resource managers in Alaska. We are also involved in the Interior Issues Climate Change Task Force, for example on the Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Group and Climate Change Education Group. Due to the continued national and international concern about climate warming, we are regularly interviewed by radio and television stations (including foreign media), newspapers, journals, and film crews. We have also provided testimony on climate change to U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Science and Technology and to the Alaska Governor’s cabinet.