During the summer of 2013, the interns: developed interpretive display boards in three parks to educate visitors about the relationship between park ecology and climate change; assisted park staff in developing communication material to explain climate adaption in parks; developed a communication guide about tick -borne diseases in the parks; and planned a visitor survey to evaluate NPS climate change messaging.
Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens
Interns Tim Kelly, Nora Davis, and Ian Barin worked at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens to research and develop wayside content and associated media around potential climate change impacts to the phenology (seasonal variation) of the park’s iconic aquatic plant life and other flora. For this project, the interns also conducted an oral history of the lo ng time Gardener Supervisor at the park to obtain and preserve a firsthand account of the history and management practices unique to the park and how they might relate to climate change.
Rock Creek Park
Interns Kelly Engle, Claudia Harris, and Max Stiefel worked at Rock Creek Park to research and develop wayside content and associated media around potential climate change impacts to the Wood Thrush, the official bird of Washington D.C. As part of their work, Kelly, Claudia, and Max researched Wood Thrush migratory patterns, food and habitat choices, and what makes Rock Creek Park an ideal habitat. To accompany the wayside content, they also created a storyboard for an animated cartoon giving visitors a bird’s eye view of a Wood Thrush in-flight and a scrollable migratory timeline that will be accessible to visitors using smart phone technology.
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
Interns Melissa Clark, Jenell Walsh-Thomas, and Max Stiefel worked at Wolf Trap National Park to research and develop wayside content and associated media around the relationship between native bees and bloom times of native plants and how this relationship is being impacted by climate change. Melissa, Jenell, and Max also created educational materials which raise awareness of the diversity of native bee species and challenge visitors to complete an activity to identify native plants, as well as citizen science activities supporting phenological monitoring.
Intern Max Stiefel worked on an outreach and education project for Park rangers and staff in which he created a science briefer to assist National Park staff in adapting management practices to protect park cultural, historical, and natural resources against impacts to hydrology.
Climate Change Communication Guide
Interns Jenell Walsh-Thomas, Nora Davis, and Tim Kelly worked on a project to research and design a climate change communication guide containing summaries of the Global Warming’s Six Americas and examples of climate change communication guide containing summaries of the Global Warming’s Six Americas and examples of climate change impacts in the bioregions found in the United States. The guide is intended to help NPS staff engage in conversations about both climate change and mitigating actions with the varied audiences they encounter at NPS sites. You can find an electronic copy of the guide here.
Visitor Survey Project
Interns Nora Davis, Melissa Clark, Kelly Engle, and Jenell Walsh-Thomas worked on a project to develop and test key messaging and a survey instrument around park visitors’ responses to NPS climate change communication strategies. The project is intended to investigate how visitors respond to variations in NPS climate change messaging and how these reactions may be related to visitors’ day-of park experiences and other psychological and demographic variables. The work was conducted in anticipation of submission to the Office of Management and Budget as a project to be completed by a subsequent team of interns.
Ticks Communication Guide
Interns Claudia Harris and Melissa Clark worked on a project to develop a ticks communication guide on the effects of climate change on ticks in the Capital region and how to educate the public on the spread of tick -borne diseases. The interns visited parks in the region that had high levels of tick prevalence and researched information that other counties in the region had produced about ticks as well as additional tick information and tools from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The intended final product is a bi-fold brochure which will be available to all National Parks in the Capital Region.