Dr. Jennifer Pierce
In Idaho 66% of people believe climate change is real, but only 37% of people believe climate change will affect them (Yale Climate Opinions, 2020). One of the reasons for this is residents of Idaho are failing to connect the large changes to precipitation patterns, and wildfire intensity to climate change. Climate change is causing wildfires to become more severe, particularly in the American west (Westerling, 2016). Idaho is behind in climate and wildfire education (Ballard et al. 2012). Currently Idaho still uses many out of date teachings from the Smokey the bear prevention era of forest management. Little discussion of the ecological need of fire, or that climate change is driving the increase in wildfire (Ballard et al. 2012). Updating the curriculum on wildfire and climate education may help show the local effects of climate change. We have begun to build curriculum for 8th grade students in the Boise school district to help modernize the wildfire curriculum, as well as to help emphasize the connection between a changing climate and the increasing wildfire severity. The first assignment of this curriculum is focused on the number of fires occurring each year in the United States, as well as the number of acres burned. Using data gathered from the NIFC database. The prediction, graphing, and reflection based activity shows the number of wildfires is decreasing, but the acres burned each year trending steadily upwards (NIFC). This project seeks to be a small step forward in educating kids, and changing Idaho's climate opinions.
Chisholm, Aiden; Marquette, Danielle; and Pierce, Jennifer, "Climate Change is Affecting You: Building Climate Education Lessons for Idaho Schools" (2021). 2021 Undergraduate Research Showcase. 23.