Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Inspiring Young Students to Take a Closer Look at Our Changing World

Tune in for the opportunity to be inspired and amused by the work of talented youngsters determined to change the world. By inviting 80 students to participate in an immersive, science-education experience, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder is hoping to influence a new wave of young environmental scientists. Through an innovative program, the CIRES Education and Outreach group is seeking to both inform and inspire middle and high school students this summer.

The Lens on Climate Change (LOCC) program focuses on getting students from mostly first-generation college bound families to think harder about the effects of climate change on their everyday lives. CIRES graduate mentors will work closely with these students throughout the course of the program, as they explore critical environmental issues through creative brainstorming, research, and film-making. 

"We want to get students excited about jobs in the field of science and technology," says Anne Gold, an educational specialist at CIRES.  

The LOCC program, which is funded by the National Science Foundation's Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program, consists of three, week-long camps this summer. With the support of their CU Boulder science mentors, students will investigate specific topics related to climate change (such as glaciers, landloss, and agriculture), and work together to create a concept map and script for a short film. After incorporating interviews with CIRES climate scientists and footage of local environments, students will edit their films under the guidance of film mentors from the Colorado Film School. To celebrate the students' accomplishments, each week of camp will end with a public screening event of the final films, open to the students' peers, teachers, parents, mentors, and members of the community.  


The first camp this summer is a group of students from the Math Science Upward Bound program, who will be in Boulder from Trinidad, Colorado from June 17 through 23. The final screening for this group will take place in the CIRES Auditorium on main campus on June 23. The second camp will be held in Salida, Colorado from July 11 through 15. This program hopes to reach more rural students, to offer educational science programs that might not otherwise be available. The third and final camp, entitled I Have A Dream (IHAD), will host a group of 30 middle and high school students on the CU Boulder campus, from July 12 through 22. The LOCC team hopes to expose these students early in their schooling to the opportunities that a college education provides–and thereby opening a new world of possibility for these young dreamers.

For schedules of upcoming film screenings and past student films, see the LOCC website.

CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and CU Boulder.

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