At CIRES, a partnership of NOAA and CU Boulder, hundreds of environmental scientists work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people’s relationship with the planet.
Science in Service to Society
At CIRES, the Cooperative Institute for Research In Environmental Sciences, more than 800 environmental scientists work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including peopleâ€™s relationship with the planet. CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder, and our areas of expertise include weather and climate, changes at Earthâ€™s poles, air quality and atmospheric chemistry, water resources, and solid Earth sciences. Our vision is to be instrumental in ensuring a sustainable future environment by advancing scientific and societal understanding of the Earth system.
To conduct innovative research that advances our understanding of the global, regional, and local environments and the human relationship with those environments, for the benefit of society.
Students use online videos and photo galleries to conduct a virtual bolus dissection for the laysan albatross. They investigate how marine debris can be mistaken for food and harm marine organisms.
Our stories explore cultural, social and environmental issues with a humanistic lens. Aligned to National and Common Core standards, our lesson plans, available in both English or Spanish, offer an interdisciplinary approach to learning and facilitates the development of active, critical thinking.
EnvironmentalScience.org’s mission is to be the most reliable and expansive advocate for environmental science education and careers.
About Our Data
Information, statistics, and data featured on our site was taken from federal and state agencies, including:
IPEDS – The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
NCES – National Center for Education Statistics
BLS – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
An unprecedented 40-year experiment in a 40,000-acre valley of Yosemite National Park strongly supports the idea that managing fire, rather than suppressing it, makes wilderness areas more resilient to fire, with the added benefit of increased water availability and resistance to drought.
ATEEC and MIT teamed up to produce Technology and Environmental Decision-Making: A critical-thinking approach to 7 environmental challenges. This is a series of seven high quality instructional modules developed by researchers and instructional designers. The series, aimed at college and high school instructors, delivers science-based background information and the latest research on a variety of environmental concerns. The modules provide a refresher for the instructor on the scientific background of each environmental issue. Additionally, they promote teaching critical thinking through the inclusion of resources and activities for use in the classroom.
Environmental decision-makingâ€”it sounds complicated. It sounds like something that should be left to the experts. And environmental issues can be complicated. But environmental decision-making in a society shares some of the key processes that individuals use to make shared decisions on a daily basis. If we compare the societal decision-making process to that of a family, the issue becomes a much more manageable concept. Picture a typical family problemâ€”a 16- year-old gets his driverâ€™s license and his parents have told him that he will need to pay for his own gas and car insurance. Until now, his weekly allowance from household chores has been adequate for his expenses. He decides to get a part-time job to pay for the extra expense of driving a car, and his parents approveâ€”a fairly straightforward problem, decision, and resolution. More often, however, solutions are not this simple. What may at first seem like a straightforward decision can be affected by variables that complicate the matter considerably. Imagine the same basic problem, this time with added factors. In this family, one parent works second shift and the other parent takes frequent business trips. The 16-year-old boy has the responsibility of watching a 10-year-old sibling most evenings, and a part-time job would require that he work in the evenings. In this instance, there are more people involved in the problemâ€”more stakeholders. The solution in this case is less obvious and will need to respond to the concerns of all stakeholders.
Science comes alive in HHMI BioInteractive short films. From seeing the first microbes to uncovering fossil evidence of human evolution, make science exciting for your students through these stories of discovery!
Made for the classroom, HHMI BioInteractive videos and short films are key supplements to lesson plans at all levels. From biology to genetics to environmental science, these videos bring todayâ€™s latest findings from the top scientists in their fields.
The Tree Benefit Calculator allows anyone to make a simple estimation of the benefits individual street-side trees provide. This tool is based on i-Treeâ€™s street tree assessment tool called STREETS. With inputs of location, species and tree size, users will get an understanding of the environmental and economic value trees provide on an annual basis.
The Tree Benefit Calculator is intended to be simple and accessible. As such, this tool should be considered a starting point for understanding treesâ€™ value in the community, rather than a scientific accounting of precise values.
The high incidence of armed conflicts in biodiverse regions poses significant challenges in achieving international conservation targets. Because attitudes towards risk vary, we assessed different strategies for protected area planning that reflected alternative attitudes towards the risk of armed conflicts. We find that ignoring conflict risk will deliver the lowest return on investment. Opting to completely avoid conflict-prone areas offers limited improvements and could lead to species receiving no protection. Accounting for conflict by protecting additional areas to offset the impacts of armed conflicts would not only increase the return on investment (an effect that is enhanced when high-risk areas are excluded) but also increase upfront conservation costs. Our results also demonstrate that fine-scale estimations of conflict risk could enhance the cost-effectiveness of investments. We conclude that achieving biodiversity targets in volatile regions will require greater initial investment and benefit from fine-resolution estimates of conflict risk.
Students explore the problem of food waste using electronic and traditional modalities. They begin by tracking food waste in the school cafeteria. Then they examine the waste on a larger scale, using multimodal resources and applying metacognitive reading strategies. Considering radical and basic solutions to the problem, students plan persuasive arguments and create blog posts appropriate to their purpose and audience. By interacting with videos, blogs, and online articles, students become more flexible and confident in this emerging area of literacy, learning not only to access and analyze, but also to produce and publish persuasive text in a multimodal environment.