WSU Whatcom County Extension

Stewardship is Where You Are

Weather Watchers

The Big Picture

Do you understand the difference between weather and climate? The weather is what is happening at any given time: it is snowing, it is sunny, it is drizzling rain. It is 42 degrees. The climate is an average of the temperature collected over many years that describes the general conditions of a location. That means that we look at weather reports from a long time ago up to today and use math and science to determine what kind of weather to expect for the place we are studying. If you expect it to be warm and sunny in Hawaii because it always is, you are thinking about climate. As citizen scientists it is very important that we learn the difference between what we perceive and think we remember about past weather, and what has been recorded as data. We can also be a part of that data collecting, and study our own weather for the benefit of others.

Explorer - Skill Level: One Engager - Skill Level: Two Citizen Scientist - Skill Level: Three


Photo by Melissa Ludtke, Sprouts of Hope, Roots & Shoots


Activity 1:  Presenting the Facts

Objective: Research and communicate current data and information on climate change evidence.

Science Skills: Collecting and Interpreting Data

Life Skills:  Cooperation, Communication, Responsible Citizenship
The data on Climate Change is changing rapidly.  Have youth work in teams to create presentations that are built around current information about any of these evidence-based measures of increasing carbon in our environment:

Extreme Weather Occurrences
Ocean Acidity
Arctic and Antarctic Ice & Permafrost
“Safe” Carbon Levels
Sinks and Sources of CO2
Utilize the links and publications in Explore More and the Internet to gather information.


Activity 2: Taking Action 

Objective: Plan and execute a civic engagement project

Science Skills: Hypothesize, Test,  Implement Solutions

Life Skill: Communication, Teamwork
What you choose to do to change your carbon footprint or educate others is up to you.  It’s up to each one of us and the choices we make.  Review information in “Explore More” for action suggestions.   Check out the excerpts from the “Public Adventures” curriculum in “Explore More” to help you plan the steps of effective civic engagement.




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WSU Whatcom County Extension, 1000 North Forest Street, Suite 201, Bellingham, WA 98225, (360) 778-5800, Contact Us