2021 – 2022 Educational Sessions

The New Jersey Student Climate Challenge starts with a question—how can we meet the challenges posed by the climate crisis? To help answer it, middle and high school students are encouraged to identify and complete a school or community project to address a cause or impact of climate change. 

To support and inspire student action, student educational sessions spotlight local impacts of climate change and strategies to address them, as well as success stories about what students are already accomplishing.

Teacher professional development sessions will guide teachers from across content areas on ways to identify the big ideas of climate change and to integrate those climate concepts into the curriculum using high-quality (and free) educational resources. Strategies for scaffolding and supporting student-centered action projects will also be shared. 

Participation in the Climate Challenge is not required to register for a session. Links to the session recordings will be posted on this page and can be as a great resource for all teachers and students.

Click here to download a sharable pdf of all sessions!

Student Sessions Teacher Sessions


Student Sessions

Climate Challenge Student Kick-Off

Wednesday, February 2, 9:30am - 10:15am

Andrea Drewes, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Graduate Education, Rider University and Svanfridur Mura, Student, Newark Academy

This session will provide students with an overview of the Climate Challenge, tips on selecting a project, resources, and a review of how submissions will be evaluated. A New Jersey youth climate activist will also share her experiences and how you can make a difference in your community by joining the Challenge too!

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Crafting Your Digital Story

Friday, February 4, 11:00am - 11:45am

Andrea Drewes, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Graduate Education, Rider University

Wondering about what a 'digital story' is and how to make one for the NJSCC? This session will share tips for creating a great digital story video about your climate action project. We will also discuss expectations and ideas for improving your entry into the NJSCC content.

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Zero Waste Revolution

Monday, February 7, 10:00am - 10:45am

Maura Toomey, Zero Waste Organizer & Development Assistant, Clean Water Action

Learn how student activists can rethink the idea of waste altogether to tackle the root causes of both climate change and plastic pollution. Explore solutions that stop waste before it starts and how to bring the zero waste movement to your school and community.

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Energy Saving Strategies at School and at Home

Wednesday, February 9, 1:00pm - 1:45pm

Audrey Christopher, Education Associate, Alliance to Save Energy

Energy efficiency and conservation are critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change. Learn about the Empowered Schools Program and how it has helped students to lead energy saving efforts at school and at home. Participants are sure to take away ideas for their Climate Challenge projects.

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Trees & Climate Resilience

Monday, February 14, 1:00pm - 1:45pm

Lisa Simms, Executive Director, NJ Tree Foundation

Trees play an important role in storing, or sequestering, carbon from the atmosphere. During this session, students will learn more about how planting and caring for trees helps combat climate change and how you can start a tree-planting initiative in your community.

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Getting Your Voice Heard

Thursday, February 17, 10:00am - 10:45am

Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters

As the impacts of climate change are being felt more and more, governments are tasked with lessening the impacts. Learn about major policy initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels and how students can effectively have their voices hear. Food production, distribution, and consumption can all play a critical role in the climate change story.

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Student Action Panel

Thursday, February 17, 7:00pm - 7:45pm

Joyce Mo, College Co-Chair, NJ Student Sustainability Coalition; Navyaa Jain, High School Co-Chair, NJ Student Sustainability Coalition; Frida Ruiz, Co-Chair, NJ Student Climate Advocates; Rhythm Chaudhary, Co-Chair, NJ Student Climate Advocates; Helena Chan, Environmental Education Team Lead, The Green Cause; Claudia Rienes, Environmental Education Team Lead, The Green Cause

Students across New Jersey are already taking action against climate change. In this session you will hear from top student leaders about the strategies they're pursuing, how you can get involved, and gather ideas for your own action project.

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How Can We Help People Change their Behavior to Help Solve Climate Change?

Tuesday, February 22, 9:00am - 9:45am

Rachael Shwom Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University

Awareness is only the first step – social psychologists have developed an approach called community based social marketing that provides a number of tactics to encourage people to change behaviors to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In this presentation you will get a quick review of high impact behaviors to target to help solve climate change and an introduction to approaches you can use to help people change their behaviors.

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Idling! What's the Problem?

Tuesday, February 22, 7:00pm - 7:45pm

Melissa Evanego, Bureau Chief, Bureau of Mobile Sources, NJDEP

Did you know that NJ has an idling regulation? How can running a car for a few minutes impact the environment? A representative from NJDEP's Bureau of Mobile Sources will explain how idling your vehicle has a real impact on climate change. Learn what NJ is doing to curb the bad habit and learn what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.

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The Student's Guide to Electric Vehicles

Wednesday, February 23, 11:00am - 11:45am

Tracey Woods, Project Research Specialist, Sustainable Jersey and Russell Corbin, Student Leader, Electric Vehicle Association

There is a lot to love about electric vehicles. In addition to being powerful and fun to drive, electric vehicles reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, making them an important tool in the fight against climate change. Students have a role to play in supporting the transition to cleaner vehicles. This webinar will include an introduction to electric vehicles and share ideas for spreading the word about electric vehicles at school, at home, and in the community.

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Food Waste is a Problem: What can you do for your school?

Friday, February 25, 12:00pm - 12:45pm

Sara Elnakib Ph.D., MPH, RDN, Family & Community Health Sciences Educator III, Rutgers University

Food waste is the single largest contributor to municipal landfills resulting in devastating impacts on our environment and public health. Rotting food in landfills produces methane—a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide. It is also a gross misuse of valuable resources since a portion of the food could have been used to feed people. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that over 38 million Americans, including nearly 12 million children, were living in food insecure households in 2019. In this session, we will discuss the unique opportunity schools have to address food waste and food insecurity. Learn what you can do to support food waste reduction and improve food security in your school!

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Help Fight Climate Change with Composting

Monday, February 28, 1:00pm - 1:45pm

Virginia Lamb, Founder, Groundwork Education and Consulting

Diverting food waste from landfills and incinerators lessens the amount of greenhouse gases entering our atmosphere where they contribute to climate change. Composting transforms food waste into nutrient rich materials that can be used in a variety of ways. Find out how you can get started composting at home or at school.

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Teacher Professional Development Sessions

Maximizing Participation in the NJSCC

Tuesday, February 8, 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Andrea Drewes, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Graduate Education, Rider University

Brainstorm with other teachers on integrating the NJSCC into your instruction or club's activities. Example units, associate with NJSLS, tips and strategies will be shared.

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Plans and Recommendations for Implementing Climate Change Education

Thursday, February 10, 4:00pm - 5:00pm

Lauren Madden Ph.D., Professor of Elementary Science Education, The College of New Jersey

This session will provide an overview of the recently released Report on K-12 Climate Change Education Needs in New Jersey and dive deeper into key recommendations. Strategies for interdisciplinary climate change education and both long- and short-term goals for teachers, schools, and communities will also be discussed.

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Igniting Change in Your Classroom

Wednesday, February 16, 4:00pm - 5:00pm

Dan Castrigano, Chief Content Officer of SubjectToClimate, former MS/HS Social Studies & Science Teacher and Margaret Wang, Co-Founder & COO of SubjectToClimate, former HS Social Studies Teacher

Are you wondering how to empower your students to be changemakers in the face of the climate crisis? Join experts at SubjectToClimate for a conversation about the best interdisciplinary resources to use in the classroom to educate and empower your students to take climate action.

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Integrating Climate Change into Your Curricula

Thursday, February 24, 4:00pm - 5:00pm

Missy Holzer Ph.D., Science Standards Specialist, Great Minds PBC - PhD Science

Our climate is changing as evidenced by local, regional, and global data. How to address our changing climate requires the combined efforts of many, including beyond sciences. This session will introduce the CLEAN network and highlight instructional resources for addressing local and regional data and designing curricula for integrated climate change solutions.

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Protecting NJ’s Habitats from Climate Change Through Student Action

Wednesday March 2, 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Allison Mulch, Project Director, School Sustainability, NJ Audubon

NJ’s farmlands, wildlife and habitats are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Exploring data from the 2020 New Jersey Scientific Report on Climate Change and statewide observations, learn the impacts of climate change on NJ ecosystems, how to integrate NJ specific information into lessons, and resources available to assist.

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Previous Session Recordings