Professional Development Opportunity:

A Study Circle

for interpreters or communicators who focus on ocean or coastal issues

The National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation announces a professional development opportunity for interpreters who focus on climate change and ocean issues.

What have past Study Circle participants said about the program?

NNOCCI has provided me with an extremely valuable skill set that will enable me to craft more effective messages that help people understand climate change in a way that resonates with them and empowers them to create change in their own communities.” Kathryn Bomey, Detroit Zoo

"NNOCCI has proven invaluable in guiding the development and direction of Oregon Coast Aquarium's climate education programs. In addition, the NNOCCI training provided my volunteer coordinator with the knowledge and confidence she needs to support our volunteers as they interpret climate change to our visitors." Kerry Carlin Morgan, Oregon Coast Aquarium

"As an oceanographer dedicated to furthering marine science and applying scientific results for practical purposes, I have been impressed with the NNOCCI process to date, particularly the use of an evidence-based approach to successful framing and communication of climate change science." Heather Deese, Island Institute

"As a member of the first NNOCCI Study Circle we have found it very rewarding and productive to work through some of the challenges of communicating ocean/climate change to aquarium visitors with peers from other aquariums. Our learning helped to reinforce and inspire each other, and the structure allowed us to experiment in a safe environment. The opportunity to interact with ocean/climate scientists was extremely helpful…" Jim Wharton, Seattle Aquarium

"We discovered that we can communicate about climate change and ocean change in positive ways that evoke interest in learning more and hope for making a difference." Jennifer Metzler- Fiorino, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

"NNOCCI's approach, drawing on ocean and climate science as well as social and cognitive science, and engaging practitioners like our staff, is powerful. It can help all of us to advance the broader goal of public engagement in learning and thinking about climate and ocean changes." Aaron Pope, California Academy of Sciences

About the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI)
NNOCCI is a collaborative effort led by the New England Aquarium with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the FrameWorks Institute, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Monterey Bay Aquarium, the New Knowledge Organization in partnership with Pennsylvania State University and the Ohio's Center for Science and Industry. With support from the NSF Climate Change Education Partnership program, NNOCCI's goal is to establish a national network of professionals who are skilled in communicating climate science to the American public in ways that are engaging and stimulate productive dialog.

What is a Study Circle?
A NNOCCI Study Circle is a cross-disciplinary learning group made up of peers with expertise from fields of professional interpretation, climate and ocean sciences and communications and cultural sciences. Through a series of facilitated in-person meetings, webinars, conference calls and practical activities, participants build knowledge of ocean and climate science and communications and cultural sciences. They apply lessons learned to communications or educational opportunities in the context of their work environment through several cycles of development, practice, sharing and reflection. Participants continue to build knowledge of ocean and climate science and communications and cultural sciences throughout the Study Circle, and gain resources and materials to train staff, volunteers, and other audiences at their home institutions.

The Study Circle has two major phases. During the first six months participants engage in a formal, facilitated learning process. Upon graduating participants join the larger network of colleagues and continue to experiment, evaluate and share successes from their work with each other. Through the Study Circle, participants will learn about the latest findings in climate science and oceanography and how to apply these to interpretive contexts in their home institutions. In addition participants build trust and lasting bonds among colleagues from multiple institutions who share an interest in developing effective ways to engage audiences in learning about climate and ocean change.

Who is the Study Circle for?
The Study Circle is intended for pairs of staff members from informal learning centers such as zoos, aquariums, science centers, National Parks, natural preserves, and other institutions that have an interest in coastal or ocean issues.

Costs and Compensation:
NNOCCI will pay for direct costs1 for participation in Study Circle activities that are not also part of participants' routine work. This includes travel, lodging and food for in-person meetings. NNOCCI will also provide a $3,000 stipend2 to up to 10 institutions which support two staff members to participate in the Study Circle.

Key Criteria:
Applicants should have institutional support before they apply. The institution should meet the following criteria:

  • Have an ocean or coastal ecology  connection within their work.
  • Have regular interpretation programming led by staff and/or volunteers.
  • Have interest in addressing issues related to climate change.
  • Be willing to support two staff members to fully participate in both the learning and evaluation phases of the Study Circle. Each applicant must fill out their own separate application.
  • Be willing to support NNOCCI’s evaluation efforts, which will entail an onsite visitor survey that the two staff members or volunteers will collect after presentations or other education programming. This survey effort will take place twice: 1) in the months immediately before the Study Circle meetings, and 2) six months after the training is complete.

Criteria for individual participants:

  • Able to commit to 3 in-person meetings (see dates, below) and about 3 hours/week of Study Circle work from approximately January 2016 through May 2016.
  • Ability to apply the content learned in order to change a program, presentation, workshop, tour, or similar interpretive experience for adults that can be surveyed following the in-person study circle meetings.
  • Able to commit to coordinating 75 one-page visitor impact surveys at your institution several months prior to the first Study Circle and another 75 after 9 months following the last Study Circle meeting.
  • Have regular opportunities to apply information and learning from the Study Circle through professional responsibilities such as interpretation for visitors, written communications, educational programming or presenting training for colleagues or volunteer interpreters.
  • Have supervisor support for full participation in the Study Circle.
  • Have a colleague who meets all of the criteria above as a co-applicant.

In Person Meeting Dates:
*Please note that we are offering two distinct study circle options for Spring 2016. You and your partner must commit to the same study circle dates. If these dates do not fit for you and your institution, please note that only one additional Study Circle remains for Fall 2016. Alternatively, AZA is developing a NNOCCI course that will begin in Spring 2017. 

Study Circle 'A'

  • February 3-4, 2016 (Houston Zoo, Houston, TX)
  • March 30-31, 2016 (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA)
  • May 3-4, 2016 (location to be announced upon acceptance)

Study Circle 'B'

  • February 10-11, 2016 (New England Aquarium, Boston, MA please note that this location is likely to change.)
  • April 6-7, 2016 (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA)
  • May 11-12, 2016 (location to be announced upon acceptance)

How to apply:

Both applicants from an institution should submit a separate application. Click here to fill out the online application. Application deadline is Monday, September 28, 2015.

Please email nnocci@neaq.org with any additional questions or comments, or check out our website www.nnocci.org. Thank you!. Thank you.

1NNOCCI will reimburse direct expenses, with receipts. Costs of alcoholic beverages and certain other items are excluded and may not be reimbursed.
2Stipends will be paid to the home institution for each pair of participants.