“G-WOW” Changing Climate, Changing Culture Initiative
“When I saw that we would be teaching about climate change…, I thought Ugghhh!!! Now I see that the cultural impact of climate change is how to approach middle school kids with this topic.“- G-WOW Institute Teacher
“G-WOW” is a unique model for increasing people’s knowledge of climate change and encouraging them to take action to address it. The G-WOW model is based on investigating how climate change is affecting cultural practices we value, based on how climate changes is affecting sustainability of species and habitat conditions that support that practice. The model integrates scientific research with real world “place-based” evidence we can observe and experience. G-WOW curriculum uses traditional lifeways of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, a culture with a long relationship with the environment, to demonstrate place-based evidence of climate change. Ojibwe language, traditional ecological knowledge, and cultural components are integrated. The project’s service learning approach promotes community level action to mitigate or adapt to a changing climate, no matter your location or culture.
We welcome you to adapt the G-WOW model to help your community understand more about climate change and what can be done about it. Do culture and science agree that climate change is real? You be the judge!
New in 2018: The “Changing Climate, Changing Culture… Planning a Climate Change Institute Based on the G-WOW Model” video. This 28-minute video is a how to guide in applying the G-WOW model and planning a climate change professional development institute based on this model, not matter what the location. The video will be available via YouTube and streamed on the G-WOW website. Click here to see this video.
G-WOW Outreach Tools for You!
G-WOW Climate Change Curriculum www.g-wow.org
Four seasonal curriculum units, with a new unit on climate change and water, engage middle school to adult learners in applying scientific research with place-based investigations to determine how climate change is affecting traditional Ojibwe lifeways as an indicator of how it is affecting all people. Investigate climate change within your culture, create a climate change service learning project, and share it with others. Because the G-WOW climate change literacy model is based on investigating the sustainability of key plant and animal species that cultural practices rely on, it is transferable other cultures and locations. The G-WOW website features lesson plans, climate change resources, program data bases, visual resources, games, and more
New for 2018:
- G-WOW website curriculum unit called “Hear the Water Speak” on water and climate change.
- Interactive NASA climate change maps, now available on the G-WOW website showing projected changes in environmental variables (such as temperature) across the Ojibwe Ceded Territory of northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan.
G-WOW Culture and Climate Change Discovery Center
This 200 sq. ft. interactive exhibit and dynamic 32-inch touch screen kiosk at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, WI explores the impacts of climate change on Lake Superior’s natural resources and peoples and what we can do about it. The exhibit and kiosk use the G-WOW model to engage learners in exploring place-based evidence of climate change impacts on seasonal cultural practices the Lake Superior Ojibwe people while investigating the latest climate science research through intreacive maps, videos. Student groups can schedule guided G-WOW climate change programs at the Visitor Center.
Customized climate change learning experiences are available for learners from middle school and above. Educator-guided training options range from indoor experiences at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, WI to outdoor field place-base climate change field activities at the Center, on the Apostle Islands, or within the Bad River Watershed and the area’s Tribal communities. Partial day to multiple day programs can be arranged with advanced reservations.
New G-WOW Youth Climate Camps in 2018
- Northern Waters Environmental School G-WOW Climate Camp, 35 students and chaperones, April 5, 2018
- Iowa-Grant County Schools G-WOW Climate Camp, 26 students & chaperones, June 25-27 2018
- Marathon Venture Academy G-WOW Climate Camp, 175 students and teacher chaperones, October 10-11 2018
G-WOW Changing Climate, Changing Culture professional development training and customized field courses are available at our location or yours! Training is based on the G-WOW model and integrates place-based climate investigations with science, plus provides resources for developing community-based climate service learning projects. Field courses are based at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, WI and feature climate investigations within the Chequamegon Bay region, tribal communities, and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Professional development presentations can be arranged for workshops and conferences.
New G-WOW College to Adult Field Courses for 2018:
- University of Wisconsin-Madison “Exploring Ecology, Culture, and Health in the Wisconsin Lake Superior Region” field course, May 29-June 7, 2018
- Carroll College “Ojibwe Culture, Society, and Ecology” field course, July 23-27, 2018
- University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point “Natural Resources, Culture, and Climate” field course, September 13-17, 2018.
Browse the G-WOW Archives to see what we learned at past G-WOW Institutes.
The 2016 “G-WOW Hear the Water’s Voice” Institute provided climate change professional development training to 28 classroom and informal community educators, including 5 Canadian First Nations tribal elders. This year’s Institute focused on water and climate change. Participants learned how to create climate change service learning outreach by integrating place-based climate change investigations and climate science. Read more here.
Kudos for G-WOW!
- 2018: G-WOW climate literacy models presented at the 5th Annual Rising Voices Indigenous Climate Conference, Wisconsin Science Festival, UW-Madison Life Sciences class, North Central Tribal Water Summit, and the New York Academy of Science’s “Science Denial” conference (November, 2018)
- 2017: G-WOW climate change literacy model presented at Wisconsin Science Festival, Minnesota Outdoor Educators Conference, Will Steger Summer Climate Institute, Nicolet College’s “critical conversations” adult learning program
- The G-WOW Initiative was featured in the North American Lake Management’s LakeLines magazine. Read more @ G-WOW LakeLines Article-Fall 2015
- G-WOW presentation was featured at the 2015 Rising Voices Conference “Bringing Together Science and Indigenous Ways of Knowing to Create Positive Solutions”. Rising Voices 3 Indigenous Climate Conference Highlights. Take a peak at what we learned.
The G-WOW Project received the prestigious 2012-13 Honor Award from the Eastern Region of the US Forest Service in the category of “Courageous Conservation.” G-WOW Team members receiving the award (left to right) are Jason Maloney-US Forest Service, Sue Erickson and Jim St. Arnold-Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Neil Howk-Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and Cathy Tecthmann-UW Extension.
If you would like more information about the G-WOW Changing Climate, Changing Culture Initiative or assistance in adapting the model in your community, please contact Cathy Techtmann-Environmental Outreach State Specialist at email@example.com or call 715.561.2695.
The G-WOW Initiative is a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Extension, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest-US Forest Service, and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore-National Park Service
With funding through the WI Coastal Management Program, NOAA, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, NASA, and the National Parks Foundation. With assistance from the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science-USDA Forest Service, and many others!