Colorado mountains

Using Narrative to Develop Environmental Empathy: Stories About Polar Regions in the LTER Schoolyard Book Series

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Alex Mass
Diane McKnight
E. Simmons

Presentations on climate change and ecological consequences to children often emphasize threats, particularly in polar regions. This approach can backfire however, as children learn to avoid exposure to problems they cannot solve. An alternative approach promotes development of environmental empathy and environmental literacy through illustrated narrative. The Schoolyard Book series of the Long Term Ecological Research Network published two IPY books on polar regions, The Lost Seal and Sea Secrets. These narratives enhance engagement and extend to a global audience, educating students about polar regions and the Dry Valleys in a context more accessible to children.

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Background Photo by: Nicole Hansen - Jornada (JRN) LTER