Impacts & Action: Interpreting The Influence Of Climate Change At Cabrillo National Monument

Over the past century, the influx of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere from human industrial activities has increased exponentially. From drastic changes in weather patterns, sea level rise, ocean warming and acidification, the threats associated with climate change no longer remain distant predictions. Natural resource teams across the Pacific West Region are currently working together to establish a shared long-term monitoring program to investigate the influence of climate change in intertidal ecosystems. This ongoing research will address many unknowns for coastal parks and play into the greater NPS climate change conversation.

To assist in this monumental endeavor, Cabrillo National Monument looks to lead the science interpretation charge by developing relevant educational programs and traveling interpretive displays that explain the climate monitoring challenge. These will act to connect our community to this cutting edge climate science research and provide tangible opportunities to take action. Specifically, this effort will engage and inform park guests of the monitoring program and how we, as resource managers, are collaborating to shed light on questions we could not answer individually.

The first of these programs consists of a mobile interpretive display that explains the tactics, techniques, and take home messages driving the monitoring program through the instruments we are using to collect the data. Non-operational models of the tools will be mounted to exhibit displays and presented to the public so that they can interact with them directly. Each tool will accompany interpretive information that explains how the tool is used and how the recorded data is needed to answer individual pieces of the climate change puzzle. A larger exhibit backdrop, along with a series of short films, will also be created to tell the overall climate change story and shed light on how the NPS is using this monitoring program to carry out our ongoing mission.

Additionally, in our partnership with the Climate Science Alliance and their Climate Kids program, Cabrillo is part of a larger bi-national effort focused on supporting youth engagement on climate change through action based science activities, storytelling, and art. Climate Kids projects seek to inspire youth of all socioeconomic levels to become environmental stewards in their communities. To further contribute to this mission, we are currently developing hands-on curriculums based on the 10 Climate Action Items for Kids, as well as ocean acidification investigations. These programs will connect students directly to climate change topics as they relate to park research and include art-based activities that exemplify student commitment to climate action.

At Cabrillo National Monument, we are dedicated to enhancing the conversation around climate science through these and other programs. Answering the Centennial Call-to-Action we hope to foster the current and next generation of global stewards in new and innovative ways. For the choices we make today, how we educate our communities, and ultimately how we change our collective behavior moving forward, will determine the sustainability of our future on Earth.

Alexandria Warneke

Last revised 09-Nov-16