Pre-Conference Workshop

Pre-Conference Workshop

Introductory National Network for Ocean and Climate Change (NNOCCI) Workshop

Nicole Killebrew and Katie Hart, Seattle Aquarium
Global climate change and ocean acidification are among the primary environmental challenges of our time. The National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI) is trying to address these challenges with a goal to change the national discourse around climate change to be productive, creative and solutions focused. We are using a capacity-building approach that draws on social sciences as well as climate and ocean sciences and the skills of professional educators from informal science education centers.

NNOCCI is led by New England Aquarium in partnership with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, FrameWorks Institute, National Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium, New Knowledge Organization, Penn State University and the Center of Science and Industry. Our work is funded by the National Science Foundation.

We think training professional interpreters to use strategic framing can create opportunities for meaningful learning about climate change through conversations with visitors, students and other public audiences. As effective messengers, we can tell a trusted and coherent story about global climate change and invite thinking about community and civic solutions that we can all participate in.

This one-day workshop will include a review of some core components of climate science including mechanisms of warming temperatures, sea level rise and ocean acidification, and changing weather patterns. The majority of the day will be used to explore strategic framing – a research based structure for communicating about complex issues. Strategic framing uses values to explain why the issue matters, carefully selected metaphors to explain how the problem works and points toward actionable solutions that convey a sense of hope and empowerment. Small group activities and individual exercises will provide opportunities for practice throughout the workshop. Finally, we will provide concrete examples of what this looks like in action with time for participants to try framing a conversation as a team.

The focus of the work with NNOCCI has been on oceans and climate change. The tested principles of strategic framing can help anyone who is grappling with teaching and interpreting complex and controversial subject matter. By reflecting with colleagues and sharing stories of success, we are able to sustain the emotional and mental fatigue that can come with communicating such challenging topics.

Learning Objectives:

  • Introduce participants to elements of strategic framing – a research-based approach to communications that helps to engage audiences in thinking productively about how they can participate in creating or supporting solutions to important issues of our time.
  • Explain how strategic framing elements, when put together, tell a story about climate change that can help communicators to engage audiences in positive ways, by overcoming traditional barriers and cuing people to think productively about solutions.
  • Teach participants some framing tools using values, metaphors, solutions and causal chains and provide opportunities to practice applying ideas.