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Project Descriptions

CCEP-I: Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network (CliZEN)

September 15, 2010 - August 31, 2013 | Media and Technology, Public Programs, Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Exhibitions
The overarching purpose of the Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network is to develop and evaluate a new approach to climate change education that connects zoo visitors to polar animals currently endangered by climate change, leveraging the associative and affective pathways known to dominate decision-making. Utilizing a polar theme, the partnership brings together a strong multidisciplinary team that includes the Chicago Zoological Society of Brookfield, IL, leading a geographically distributed consortium of nine partners: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, OH; Como Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul, MN; Indianapolis Zoo, IN; Louisville Zoological Garden, KY; Oregon Zoo, Portland, OR; Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, PA; Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, RI; Toledo Zoological Gardens, OH, and the organization Polar Bears International. The partnership leadership includes the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. The partnership is joined by experts in conservation psychology and an external advisory board. The primary stakeholders are the diverse 13 million annual visitors to the nine partner zoos. Additional stakeholders include zoo docents, interpreters and educators, as well as the partnership technical team in the fields of learning innovations, technological tools, research review and education practice. The core goals of the planning phase are to a) develop and extend the strong multidisciplinary partnership, b) conduct research needed to understand the preconceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and learning modes of zoo visitors regarding climate change; and c) identify and prototype innovative learning environments and tools. Internal and external evaluations will be conducted by Facet Innovations of Seattle, WA. Activities to achieve these goals include assessments and stakeholder workshops to inventory potential resources at zoos; surveys of zoo visitors to examine demographic, socioeconomic, and technology access parameters of zoo visitors and their existing opinions; and initial development and testing of participatory, experiential activities and technological tools to facilitate learning about the complex system principles underlying the climate system. The long-term vision centers on the development of a network of U.S. zoos, in partnership with climate change domain scientists, learning scientists, conservation psychologists, and other stakeholders, serving as a sustainable infrastructure to investigate strategies designed to foster changes in public attitudes, understandings, and behavior surrounding climate change.


Funding Program: GEO /PLR
Award Number: 1043284
Funding Amount: 1206278.00


  • Chicago Zoological Society
  • REVISE logo
    Project Manager
    Chicago Zoological Society
  • 2014 07 18 image
    Principal Investigator
    Chicago Zoological Society
  • Michael E. Mann
    Co-Principal Investigator
    Pennsylvania State Univ University Park
  • Susan R. Goldman
    Co-Principal Investigator
    University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Discipline: Climate | Geoscience and geography | Life science | Social science and psychology
    Audience: Families | Parents/Caregivers | Pre-K Children (0-5) | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Adults | Seniors | General Public | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists
    Environment Type: Media and Technology | Games, Simulations, and Interactives | Public Programs | Aquarium and Zoo Programs | Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks | Resource Centers and Networks | Exhibitions | Aquarium and Zoo Exhibits

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