Climate Pathfinders Program Offers New Way to Learn About Climate Change


By Beth Ruhl
Winter 2008

CReSIS has implemented a new weekly after-school program called Climate Pathfinders for low-income students at several schools in Lawrence, Topeka and Kansas City. Students learn about issues such as recycling, carbon emission from cars and the effects of leaving a large carbon footprint.

The program was started by CReSIS K-12 Outreach Coordinator Cheri Hamilton, and will be lead by Marci Leuschen, who recently joined CReSIS as the Climate Pathfinders Coordinator in October. “We want to raise awareness about climate change and get kids excited,” said Hamilton. The Pathfinder’s curriculum uses what it calls “action projects”to help students improve their schools and communities with ideas like recycling programs and science education.

“We really want kids to learn more about science,” said Donna Divine, the community projects program manager for Rosedale Middle School in Kansas City. She would like to see more enrichment programs for students. “We want the students to feel that they can make a change,” said Hamilton. She added that students sometimes feel powerless, but Climate Pathfinders gives them concrete ways to make environmentally- friendly changes, like putting a recycling bin out for used milk cartons in the student cafeterias.