CLN > Climate Change Education Projects > Climate Change Boot Camps

Climate Change Boot Camps

Principal Investigators: Katharine L. Jacobs (lead), University of Arizona; James L. Buizer, Daniel Ferguson, Arizona State University
Project Website:
National Science Foundation

Project Description


This project addresses the development of web-based curriculum/training modules and two different versions of a "climate change boot camp," one for elected officials, opinion leaders and key decision-makers; and a second for "trainers" such as Extension Agents, who will in turn link the modular training materials to a nationwide network of trainers and through the Web. This idea was suggested by urban water management stakeholders in the context of a workshop on Decision Support for Climate Adaptation and Water Management: A Focus on Desert and Coastal Cities held at Arizona State University in January of 2009.

Statement of Work

Problem Identification

Despite significant progress in improving climate literacy among a host of stakeholders, bringing climate change issues into focus in the context of decision-making is an ongoing and growing challenge. Most resource managers are now aware of these issues and many are quite concerned about it. However, very few know what to do about it. There is a strong "pull" for both information and options from stakeholders (including a mandate from the federal government that federal agencies get involved in climate change activities such as adaptation and mitigation). As a result, those who specialize in climate change related fields are in high demand. In fact, there is inadequate capacity to meet the growing demand for climate-change adaptation information and agents in regions and sectors across the US (Sarewitz and Pielke, 2007, CCSP 5.3, 2008, USGRCRP 2009). There are nowhere near enough resources and trained professionals to address the questions posed by public stakeholders, local and regional resource managers, and federal agencies and scientists.

Scientific Objectives

The scientific objective of this project is to develop modular training programs on a series of key climate-change adaptation topics geared toward the needs of 1) decision-makers at various levels of government and within the private sector and 2) people who will train others to use these materials, such as Cooperative Extension agents.


We will conduct four one-day boot camps, two in Phoenix and two in Tucson, to test and refine the presentation and engagement materials. These training sessions are unique in that they will focus more on dialogue, engagement and problem solving and less on science talk or the "talking heads" approach often undertaken in climate change discussions. Although we are working with Arizona decision-makers, extension agents and watershed stewards in the initial development of this program, the intent is to develop materials that are useful throughout the US for a variety of decision processes.

Topics include:

  • How do we know what we know (an exploration of the role of expectations and perceptions in what we believe)?
  • How does past variability (based on paleo data including tree rings) inform the development of future climate scenarios?
  • What techniques can be used for climate vulnerability assessment across multiple sectors?
  • What planning approaches are appropriate in view of the "Death of Stationarity" in water management?
  • What adaptation options are available for water managers to address complex multi-stress problems?
  • How can decisions be made that explicitly acknowledge uncertainty, but then move beyond it?
  • How can we think about optimizing water, energy, and carbon management at the same time?
  • What are the climate change considerations in capital improvement decisions?
  • What visualization and engagement strategies are appropriate for climate change related decision support?

Contact Information:
Principal Investigator, Katharine L. Jacobs (University of Arizona)
Co-Principal Investigator, James Buizer (Arizona State University)
Co-Principal Investigator, Daniel Ferguson (Arizona State University)