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

September 15th, 2010 - August 31st, 2013 | PROJECT

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.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products
Global Climate Change as Seen by Zoo and Aquarium Visitors
Youth Volunteer Interpreters as Facilitators of Learning about Climate Change in Zoo Settings
Global Climate Change as Seen by Latin American Zoo and Aquarium Visitors

Team Members

Chicago Zoological Society, Contributor
Lisa-Anne DeGregoria Kelly, Project Manager, Chicago Zoological Society
Alejandro Grajal, 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


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


Audience: Adults | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Families | General Public | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Parents | Caregivers | Pre-K Children (0-5) | Scientists | Seniors | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Climate | Geoscience and geography | Life science | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Aquarium and Zoo Exhibits | Aquarium and Zoo Programs | Exhibitions | Games | Simulations | Interactives | Media and Technology | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Public Programs | Resource Centers and Networks