Introduction

The following educational resources on climate change were compiled for the online "Plan It for the Planet" Environmental Summit held on April 10, 2021. Sponsored by the Association for Zoos and Aquariums https://www.aza.org and the Fund for Teachers https://www.fundforteachers.org that aim to inspire educators to provide current environmental information that engages students and empowers them to design and implement authentic plans of action. This resource page was developed by Leah Schrodt, Mark Madison, Rhonda Miller, and Randy Robinson of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For more information, please contact Leah_Schrodt@fws.gov.

Climate Change presents a defining challenge for the conservation community and requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to join with partners to apply our collective skills, determination, ingenuity and commitment to conserve our nation's natural resources. This webpage provides multiple educational resources and information on the many ways the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to combat and mitigate climate change. 

Climate Change is no longer something in the future that other generations need to worry about. The last five years were the hottest on record in the 139 years since temperature has been tracked. Climate change is described as the most compelling conservation challenge of our time. Its rapid acceleration is affecting our nation's fish, wildlife, and plant resources in profound ways. While many species will continue to thrive, some populations are already in decline and in some instances, may go extinct. Other species may require direct and continuous intervention by managers for their very survival. Humans are also being significantly impacted. Now is the time to act – the future of fish, wildlife and humans hangs in the balance!  

And we cannot do it alone… 

USFWS Climate Change Education Resources

Climate Change and the US Fish and Wildlife Service Presentation (PDF)
Presentation Notes with Extended Resources and Information (PDF)

 This presentation explores the many ways climate change is guiding our work at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The NOTES section included with each slide introduces a number of different aspects of how climate change is being addressed in our work with a brief summary, as well as extensive website links and follow-up resources covering the following topics: Migratory Birds, Sea Otter and Ocean Acidification, Polar Bears, Salmon, Bumblebees, Monarch Butterflies, Remote Hawaiian Islands (Endangered Family of Birds called Honeycreepers and Invasive Mosquitoes, Sea Turtles, Coral Reefs, Extreme Weather Events, Disappearing Islands), Frogs and Invasive Disease, Invasive Species, Moose and Ticks, Extreme Weather and Wildlife, Coastal Refuges and Rising Sea Levels, Carbon Sequestration, Phenology and Community Science, Under-represented Communities and Cultures at Risk, and Traditional Ecological Knowledge 

Climate Change Conservation Education Curriculum: Our Changing Climate and Migratory Birds – The Story of the Arctic Tern (PDF) 

This activity is focused on the journey of the Arctic Tern, but it is applicable to many migratory birds – Loss of wetlands and important stop-over sites, loss of food, and warming temperatures in polar regions, all play a role in making an already tough journey even harder for migratory birds. Today, more than 2/3rds of North American birds are at risk because of many factors, including habitat loss, pollution, disease, outdoor cats, window collisions, etc., all of which are compounded by the devastating impacts of climate change. 

Climate Change Conservation Education Curriculum: Recovering Sea Otters in a Changing Climate (PDF) 

This activity explores the many ways recovering this important, iconic species is being made even more challenging due to climate change. The Federally threatened sea otter is a keystone species, meaning, their presence helps support the health and survival of many other species. They are also greatly at risk from the harmful impacts of climate change. Increased atmospheric CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels not only causes the climate to warm, but it also makes the ocean more acidic – up to 25% of the carbon from the atmosphere is dissolved into the ocean and causes ocean acidification. Acidity in the water breaks down calcium and makes the shells of many of the species sea otters eat literally dissolve and they don’t survive.

Climate Change Conservation Education Curriculum: Changing Climate, Changing Habitats, and Salmon (PDF) 

 Across the globe, cold water dependent fisheries are being impacted by climate change, and salmon are no exception. In the Pacific Northwest, the populations of many salmon species are already in significant decline and many are now protected under the Endangered Species Act. The effects of climate change are altering the timing and magnitude of stream flows, increasing stream temperatures, raising the sea level, and changing shorelines and ocean current patterns; all of which make recovery even more challenging.

USFWS Educator Resources and Programs

Learn More About Climate Change:

USFWS and Climate Change Websites:

Other Useful Climate Change Websites: