Climate Change Education Program

Encompassing nearly 200,000 acres and harboring an incredibly diverse array of wildlife and plant species, Shenandoah National Park has much at stake in terms of the impacts of climate change. In collaboration with the US Geological Service, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the University of Virginia, Shenandoah National Park is conducting a multi-year research initiative to assess the potential impacts of climate change on the park’s high-elevation wildlife species. The initial focus is the federally endangered Shenandoah salamander, which exists nowhere else in the world but Shenandoah National Park. The research will help park scientists benchmark appropriate management actions to best mitigate potential climate-induced effects on these endangered populations, which can then be expanded to assess and address the needs of other high-elevation species in the park.

We’ve provided funding to help the park launch its first Climate Change Education Program based on this research. The program will include new ranger-led interpretive programs, podcasts, web pages, and exhibits to educate park visitors both on-site and via the Internet. We’ve also enabled the park to develop an in-park and in-classroom climate change curricula based on the research.