Educating for Environmental Change (EfEC)

Educating for Environmental Change (EfEC)

Since 2017, Educating for Environmental Change (EfEC) has provided professional development programs to help K-12 science educators effectively teach the science and policy of climate change.

Utilizing hands-on activities co-designed by IU environmental scientists, EfEC helps elucidate and deepen educator understanding of key concepts related to climate change including its causes, impacts, and steps we can take to mitigate its severity. EfEC is a collaboration between Indiana University faculty, K-12 educators, and the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology.

In 2020, EFEC received Indiana’s top environmental award, the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence, for “extraordinary initiatives in protecting the environment.”

This workshop has been mind-blowing, overwhelming (in a good way), and exciting. It has absolutely given me the confidence to teach climate change.

EfEC Participating Teacher, 2020

“First Tuesdays” Programs

Since November 2022, we have been offering shorter evening science education workshops focused on topics pertaining to climate change on the first Tuesday of each month. Some of the workshops are held virtually while others are held in-person. Each program is designed to be fast-paced, interesting, and educational.

The Irish Lion Restaurant, Celtic Room
212 West Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, IN

Ecosystems play a central role in the global carbon cycle, removing CO2 via photosynthesis and releasing CO2 back to the atmosphere via autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration. Thus, there is great interest in understanding which factors control carbon uptake and release, and how these factors vary within and among ecosystems, and respond to climate change. This First Tuesday event will provide a primer on soil respiration and the role it plays regulating our atmosphere, including the drivers of soil respiration. This event will take place in-person at the Irish Lion Restaurant in Bloomington, IN.

Participating educators will receive a $25 Amazon email gift card for attending.

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This year, we have seen two devastating earthquake disasters—a series of earthquakes near the Turkey-Syria border in February 2023 and one in Morocco in September. Together, these two disasters left over 60,000 dead and hundreds of thousands left homeless. In this presentation, I will examine the causes, impacts, and implications of these devastating earthquakes. We will discuss the unusual geologic and seismological aspects of these natural disasters, and we’ll explore the geographic, social, and political context that often contribute to the widespread devastation associated with these disasters.

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Tuesday, October 3: Some (Don’t) Like it Hot: Climate Change and the Summer of ‘23

The summer of 2023 was probably one that many Americans would prefer not to repeat—record-breaking high temperatures across the country, wildfires in Canada setting off air-quality warnings in cities across the northeast, ocean temperatures that made beach vacations feel more like a hot tub. What’s going on here? Are they just some odd “black swan” event or are they signs of our climate future. Atmospheric scientist Paul Staten explores the climate science behind these weather-related phenomena, exploring the role of natural variability, anthropogenic climate change, volcanic eruptions, and short-term variations like the El Nino-Southern Oscillation. Participating teachers came away with a clearer idea how to distinguish between these various processes and ways to bring this state-of-the-art science into your classroom discussions.

Tuesday March 7, 2023: Take Me to the River: Researching River Flood Plains

River floodplains and deltas are some of the most dynamic surface environments on Earth. However, because these landscapes are flat, it is difficult to perceive with the naked eye how fast they change over time, and how they are responding to a warming climate. Dr. Eric Barefoot will showcase some of the techniques geologists use to measure the impact of changing climate on these sensitive landscapes. The methods range from the high-tech (lasers mounted on satellites and drones), to the extremely low-tech (shovels and sticks). By combining different methods, we will see how seemingly flat, quiet marshlands transform in slow-motion, sometimes with disastrous outcomes.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023: The Future of Nuclear Power

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"The Future of Nuclear Power." Two professors of nuclear physics, Dr. Tim Londergan and Dr. Steven Vigdor will present “the future of nuclear power”. Nuclear power is one among several alternatives for carbon-free energy production to address global climate change. There are two basic types of nuclear power, utilizing the fission of heavy nuclei or the fusion of very light nuclei. Past serious accidents at fission reactor plants and the daunting engineering problems facing attempts to harness thermonuclear fusion in power plants have led to great public skepticism about the future role of nuclear power. However, renewed interest in the design of small modular fission reactors and recent technical breakthroughs in achieving fusion energy have spawned a new nuclear industry featuring many start-up commercial companies. This program will describe the advances, challenges, and prospects for modular fission reactors and nuclear fusion power plants and how they can play an important part in our carbon-free energy future. For more information, please contact Adam Scribner (

Tuesday, December 6, 2022: Three Billion Missing Birds, What Can We Do?

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"Three Billion Missing Birds, What Can We Do?" Dr. Ellen Ketterson and researcher Sarah Wanamaker will share their knowledge of the extent of the decline in bird populations in North America and globally over the past 50 years including the causes of the decline and information on what individuals can do to help. They will also share tools for students and adults to identify birds by sound and sight. For more information, please contact Adam Scribner (

Tuesday, November 1, 2022: The Pandemic, Natural Disasters, and the Teachable Moment

Dr. Michael Hamburger, Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Indiana University will present “The Pandemic, Natural Disasters, and the Teachable Moment”. This program will help teachers turn recent disasters -- whether in our city or a thousand miles away – into meaningful classroom discussions for our students. The program’s driving questions are how can we be prepared, as teachers, to discuss these recent events, to share the science behind them, and to use these events to connect our students to the science that we study? To attend, please RSVP to Adam Scribner (

2023 Educating for Environmental Change Summer Science Institute

June 19-23, 2023

This summer, middle and high school teachers from across the country gathered at Indiana University Bloomington to learn new ways to teach climate science in the classroom. The free workshop featured hands-on activities designed by IU scientists and K-12 education leaders.

Since 2017, more than 300 teachers have participated in the Educating for Environmental Change Summer Science Institute. Collectively, these teachers are engaging thousands of students each year.

Educating for Environmental Change is a collaboration between IU faculty, the IU Environmental Resilience Institute, the IU School of Education, and local science educators. The program is made possible by two anonymous foundations and the IU Center for Rural Engagement.

Summer Science Institute Resources

This project is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute and Indiana University’s Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative. The project is generously funded by the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement and two anonymous foundations.

Our Team

Affiliated Faculty
  • PI, Adam Scribner, Director of STEM Education Initiatives, School of Education
  • Co-PI, Michael Hamburger, Professor, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
  • Daniel Beverly, Postdoctoral Fellow, O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
  • Gabriel Filippelli, Chancellor’s Professor, IUPUI School of Science, Executive Director, Environmental Resilience Institute
  • Paul Goddard, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Ellen Ketterson, Distinguished Professor, Biology
  • Cody Kirkpatrick, Lecturer, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
  • Ben Kravitz, Associate Professor, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
  • Tim Londergan, Professor Emeritus, Physics
  • Sarah Mincey, Director for Integrated Program in the Environment and Managing Director of the Environmental Resilience Institute
  • Kim Novick, Professor, Paul H. O’Neill Chair, O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
  • Richard Phillips, Professor, Biology; Science Director, Research & Teaching Preserve
  • Paul Staten, Associate Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Steven Vigdor, Professor Emeritus, Physics
Project Partners
  • Eve Cusack, Elementary School Lead Teacher, Bloomington Montessori School
  • Karen Jepson Innes, Executive Director, WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology
  • Jessica McKinney, Education Manager, Wonderlab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology
  • Kirstin Milks, Secondary Science Teacher, Bloomington High School South
  • Deirdre Sheets, Education Director, WonderLab Museum of Science, Health & Technology
Graduate Students
  • Sander Denham, PhD candidate, Environmental Science, O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
  • Deidra Miniard, PhD Candidate, O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
  • Qiu Zhong, Graduate Student, School of Education