Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station [Jersey Roots, Global Reach: 4-H Climate Science Educational Program: A Sustainable Communities Project at Rutgers NJAES]

Camden County

Project Description

The Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk program in Camden, NJ called Jersey Roots, Global Reach is delivered to middle school youth during school hours and in an afterschool setting in one hour sessions spanning 12-14 weeks. The program encompasses the major themes of teaching youth about the differences between climate and weather; evidence of climate change; the impacts of climate change; and exploring potential solutions to climate change that can be created by program participants. Youth not only learn about the scientific principles behind the causes of climate change, but also how to address this societal problem through character building, teamwork, and collaboration. Students at the Charles Sumner Elementary School also helped plan and install a rain garden at their school in June 2010 as their service learning project and as a local student-led solution to helping decrease climate change. The rain garden helps manage stormwater runoff, improve water quality, increase local biodiversity, and beautify the schoolyard. 

Short-term Program Impact

Observing a cloud in a bottle.

During the course of the program, sixth grade students at the Charles Sumner Elementary School participated in hands-on activities exploring the key principles of the carbon cycle, the relation of temperature to carbon dioxide, the movement of energy, water and carbon, annual cycles, and understanding the concepts of weather and climate as it relates to the historical timeline of climate and climate change. 

The first retrospective pre/post evaluation on these activities demonstrated impact on the general knowledge participants are learning. Dramatic changes in knowledge gained include:

  • How to measure weather (58% change);
  • Understanding that the atmosphere traps the sun’s heat energy and keeps Earth warm (54%);
  • The major events in Earth’s history that created the weather/climate system (44%); and
  • Increase in understanding the difference between climate and weather (31%).

The participants’ evaluations noted a 42% change in how to compare data in recognizing climate trends.

Partners

Creating strong partnerships with schools in Camden has been critical to the initial success of Jersey Roots, Global Reach, which include:

Charles Sumner Elementary School
Janis Kauffman, Principal
1600 South Eighth Street
Camden, NJ 08104
(856) 966-8908
http://www.sumnerelementary.org  

LEAP Academy University Charter School
21st Century Afterschool Program
Mary Rivera, Director
639 Cooper Street
Camden, NJ 08102
(856) 614-5600
http://www.leapacademycharter.org  

Rowan University Upward Bound Program, Camden Campus
Margarita Olivencia, Coordinator
200 North Broadway
Camden, NJ 08102
(856) 756-5437
http://www.rowan.edu/camden/story

 

Camden Project Staff

Sharon Kinsey, Camden County 4-H Agent
Community Project Director
1301 Park Blvd.
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
856-216-7130
Kinsey@aesop.rutgers.edu

Maggie Mc Cann
Camden County 4-H CYFAR Program Assistant
1301 Park Blvd.
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
856-216-7130
camden4h@aesop.rutgers.edu

Debbie Troiani
Camden County 4-H CYFAR Program Assistant
1301 Park Blvd.
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
856-216-7130
camdenccyfar@aesop.rutgers.edu

Nick Timpanelli
Camden County 4-H CYFAR Program Assistant
1301 Park Blvd.
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
856-216-7130

Useful Links

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