Creating change

Catherine Kitts
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Local author publishes Climate Change teaching guide

Janet Nadeau has been teaching biology and physics at Gloucester High School for the past 11 years. In doing so, she has become acutely aware and extremely familiar with the topic of Climate Change and now she's decided to do something about it. 

Local school teacher and author, Janet Nadeau, has created a teacher's guide to educating youth about climate change. (Photo: Provided)

She has created a user-friendly resource that enables teachers to introduce the subject of Climate Change in their courses in a clear and simple way using interesting lesson plans.

"Most teachers are so busy, it's difficult to bring in something new," says Nadeau in explaining the reason why she wrote the book. "What I've done is create a teacher-friendly set of lessons that addresses every part of the secondary school curriculum in biology, chemistry and physics."

In 2006, Nadeau began her journey in the field aboard the icebreaker Amundsen by participating in a trip to the Arctic with Schools on Board, an educational outreach program provided by the polar environmental group ArcticNet.

While on the trip, Nadeau facilitated a group of students through a series of experiments and lectures teaching the principles of climate change and highlighting the ability of individuals to make personal changes that would have a positive impact on the climate.

Nadeau took up this challenge and began a campaign to install climate change education in high school curricula.

In 2010, Nadeau was invited to participate in the IPY (International Polar Year) conference in Oslo, Norway where she unveiled a local, provincial, and national curriculum action plan, called "Operation Snowball" which is aimed at increasing climate change awareness in the classroom.

This past spring, she participates in the final IPY conference in Montréal where she presented her newly-published book, <@Ri>Climate Change at Earth's Poles: 50 Research-Based Lessons for Biology, Chemistry and Physics.<@$p>

One of Nadeau's biggest supporters is Ottawa-Orléans MPP Phil McNeely who has been championing the subject of Climate Change since he was elected, she explains.

"I think what Janet has done is wonderful," said McNeely. "Teachers need the proper tools to teach about Climate Change effectively and her book does just that. I'm not surprised it was a huge hit in Montreal."

In 2008, the province of Ontario announced that the environment and environmental issues would be incorporated in secondary school curriculum at every level. Awareness of Climate Change issues among today's youth is also at an all-time high.

"Students soak up this stuff like sponges," says Nadeau. "If you present them something they can get excited about and give them the proper tools, they'll blossom. They just need inspiration from their teacher and an idea, and pow! They're off."

The book generated interest among the many educators and scientists at the conference from around the globe, selling over 50 copies. Nadeau is currently working on her website which will allow visitors to purchase the book online.

Nadeau plans to use profits from the sale of the book to have it translated into French. She also plans to market the book to the local school boards during the coming school year.

Organizations: Lessons for Biology

Geographic location: Montreal, Arctic, Oslo Norway Ottawa Ontario

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  • Mike Fraumeni
    July 28, 2012 - 21:51

    Congrats Janet, very nice. Hope all is well in Orleans. Would be great to get together some time. As you may know, my wife is from Ottawa, from the French speaking part of Basse Ville, I think is how they call it there. Take care and drop me a line at m_fraumeni@yahoo.ca Mike Fraumeni