Ryan: “How do you make climate change relevant to high school students?”

That’s the question that Finn Ryan, at the Wisconsin Media Lab, set out to answer.

Ryan: “And that’s kind of how we got on to the idea: well, let’s use story to look at climate change impacts in Wisconsin, and use a collection of stories that hopefully any student in Wisconsin can identify with at least one of the stories so that they find some relevance.”

The result is a collection of multimedia stories. For example, how warmer temperatures are affecting the annual American Birkebeiner cross country ski race in Hayward, Wisconsin.

Ryan: “And this really made it a way for a teacher to say, ‘Well, here is something that is happening in our community,’ and then the students know about that and they start to think, oh, well, there’s less snow, how does that impact this event?”

Even students who do not cross country ski, or Birkie as it’s called by locals, can relate the changes in snowfall to their own experiences, such as with snowboarding.

Other stories describe the impacts of global warming on maple sugaring and fly fishing — traditional Wisconsin activities that bring home the relevance of climate change.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

More Resources
Climate Wisconsin: Stories From A State of Change
Wisconsin Media Lab
Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts

Bud Ward

Bud Ward is Editor of Yale Climate Connections. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as Assistant Director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission on Air Quality,...