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Connecting People and Ideas for Integrated Development

SUNY/CID Participates in Climate Science Academy

Students with tree core samples

Students with tree core samples during the PIRE Academy

Fifteen SUNY students from Purchase College, Farmingdale State College, and SUNY Sullivan came to the Purchase campus for a weekend this spring for the 2019 Partners for International Research and Education (PIRE) Academy. Faculty and staff mentors from the University at Albany (including SUNY/CID), Purchase College, and Columbia University collaborated to lead hands-on tree-ring field and lab work activities, educational workshops, and discussions that combined the issues of climate research and policy.

The workshop is part of a larger project led by the University at Albany that is funded by the National Science Foundation called PIRE CREATE. PIRE is a National Science Foundation program that supports international activities across all NSF-supported disciplines. This project is about Climate Research and Education in the Americas using Tree-ring and speleothem Examples (CREATE). The goal of PIRE CREATE is to study climate variations over the last millennium in North and South America by combining climate models with new tree-ring chronologies and speleothem records to improve understanding of past climate variations over North and South America. This will allow us to place future climate projections within a longer-term context, thereby informing policymakers and stakeholders about the risks of climate change. The University at Albany leads this multi-institutional, international collaboration involving six institutions and 18 investigators from the U.S., Brazil, and Argentina.

Postdoctoral and graduate students from the UAlbany’ s Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University led sessions on climate science and dendrochronology respectively. SUNY Center for International Development staff Cecelia Skott, Heather Senecal, and Kyle McQuay collaborated with Purchase College professor Ryan Taylor to demonstrate linkages between science and policy and the normative roles scientists can play in the public policy making process. Keynote speaker David Buchwald, Assemblyman for New York’s 93rd Assembly District, provided a perspective on New York State climate change readiness and policy opportunities for New York State. Liz Moran, Environmental Policy Director at NYPIRG (and UAlbany alumna), discussed policy advocacy and how citizens and scientists can participate in the policy process. In addition, she facilitated a mock public hearing of the New York State Senate, providing students with an opportunity to put their new knowledge of climate science to practice. As a result of the PIRE Academy experience, the students are exploring research and career opportunities in climate science and public policy.

The hope of the PIRE academy, as well as the overall PIRE CREATE project, is to inspire students to draw connections between the difference they can make as future scientists and policy makers to the global threat of climate change. The PIRE academy will take place annually each spring across New York State so that students across the SUNY system can have an opportunity to participate. SUNY/CID will continue to partner on the PIRE CREATE project as well, working to link the data the project collects with policy action opportunities at various government levels and institutions. For a short video about the PIRE Academy 2019, please click here.

Posted May 24, 2019