Climate Action Now (CAN) – Bring climate education to your state, district, community, school, home…

Teachers CAN (Climate Action Now​) is a two-year climate education program offering training to 200 teachers and impacting 20,000 elementary, middle and high school students – primarily in coastal communities. Our climate education training and resources are offered in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Climate Literacy and Awareness Network (CLEAN), Climate Generation, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), SubjecttoClimate and others. The science-based climate resources we share with you during a training program are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards​ ​and provide valuable information on:  1) what climate change is;  2) why it’s happening;  3) how it impacts oceans, coastal communities, and our lives; and  4) what students, teachers, and community members can do to take action to reduce carbon pollution. For those interested, climate education programs include an innovative Climate Olympians for Ocean Leadership​ ​(COOL School)​ ​initiative that empowers youth climate action in schools and local communities (click this link for more details on our COOL School program). Our CAN program addresses the challenges of climate change while focusing on solutions (i.e. what people can do to mitigate and adapt to the threats of climate change). This is a seed project that will be nurtured and grown through dissemination to state departments of education and schools across the United States and Bahamas.


Climate Action Now (CAN) is a professional development program that empowers educators to bring climate education into their classroom and year-long teaching sequence. Through participation in Teachers CAN, you will:  

      • Increase your understanding of the science of climate change: what it is, why it is happening, and what the solutions are   
      • Join a cohort of educators dedicated to improving their teaching practice through collaboration and active learning strategies
      • Design climate education lessons that build hope for the future through highlighting inspiring renewable energy and other sustainability solutions
      • Gain access to an abundance of climate education materials vetted by some of our nation’s most experienced educators, scientists, and engineers; and aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
      • Empower students with the 21st Century Skills of critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration and learn how to facilitate student climate action projects in your school and community.

Research indicates that most professional development is a mile wide and an inch deep and much of it is ineffective in transforming classroom practice and student learning. Our approach is different: we go a mile deep. We offer an effective, systemic approach to professional development that enables you to try out new ideas within a supportive and collaborative team environment. Our Teachers CAN program will challenge you to improve your teaching and enhance student learning, and  incorporates research-based best PD practices, including:

Content-focused on teaching/learning strategies for your classroom and aligned with your educational learning standards.

Incorporating active learning strategies that enable you to try out the same learning styles you will be designing for your students.

Using models of effective practice you will develop a vision of practice on which to anchor your own learning and growth.

Providing coaching and expert support on how to infuse climate education into/across your curriculum.

Offering feedback and reflection time for you to think about, receive input on, and make changes to improve your teaching practice — and quality of student learning in your classroom.


The future of our world and the health of our social and economic resources depends on how we are able to understand, value, and protect the natural resources and ecosystems that sustain our planet. And climate change impacts all of the above. Today’s youth are the generation that will be called upon to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and yet a Yale study of American Teens Knowledge of Climate Change indicates they’ve had little exposure to the issue, with just 25 percent of high school students demonstrating a basic understanding of climate change. 

Dr. Donald Boesch, President of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, states: “The principal challenge we’re finding is that climate change really isn’t, in any formal way, in the curriculum that the schools have at the moment, and teachers haven’t been trained [in climate science].” Furthermore, a 2018 Yale Program on Climate Change Communication report found that Americans overwhelmingly support schools in providing climate education.

The need is clear: climate change is the largest threat to our health, safety and well-being; it is not being taught systemically in our schools; and a critical need exists for science-based climate education materials and teacher training.


We offer our climate education programs for teachers, school staff and administrators, parents, school board members, community members, and others interested in learning about the science of climate change, how to incorporate climate education into your curriculum or classroom, and what we can do to reduce climate pollution.


Our Climate Action Now (CAN) program is offered as a year-long professional development opportunity. We typically offer a 3 day summer institute followed by five 3-hour PD sessions during the school year and a 1 day follow-up session the second summer. These are not cookie cutter programs, however, and we work in concert with you to design a program that will best meet your needs. Note: We have two tentative summer 2020 year-long cohorts beginning in August: 1st cohort begins with a three-day training on August 12 to 14; and a 2nd cohort begins August 19 to 21. Contact us to schedule a PD program that works best for you.


Our workshops are offered on-site at your school or facility (or remotely). This enables us to offer the workshop to more of your community members. As we are sailing with sustainable systems, we will also reduce carbon pollution from travel by us coming to you (or doing the training remotely)!

Workshop Structure?

You will participate in pre-workshop online climate education modules that prepare you for the workshop (see sample agenda below), and follow-up activities that grow what you learn in the workshop.

Climate Action Now (CAN) Workshop

Middle and High School Teachers

One Day Training 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Tentative Workshop Agenda

  1. 8:30 to 9:00: Welcome, Introductions, and Goals for the day: By the completion of this workshops, teachers will:
  2. Understand our workshop assumption that climate change is real; It is happening now; It is exacerbated by burning dirty fossil fuels; and, most importantly, We have the knowledge, skills and technology to solve this crisis.
  3. Understand how to find quality climate education resources (e.g. CLEAN, StC, NOAA, and others).
  4. Understand how climate change lessons dovetail with learning standards.
  5. Identify climate education resources and lesson plans/activities that they can use in their teaching.
  6. Understand a framework for empowering students to take local action on climate change at their school and/or in their community.
  7. 9:00 to 9:15: Overview of Climate Change
  8. Present an adapted Climate Reality Project (Al Gore) slide show providing an overview of what climate change is, why it is happening, and what we can proactively do to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change – ending with inspiring examples of what is being done today in solar, wind, geothermal, energy efficiency, building design, transportation, and agricultural technologies to reduce carbon pollution.
  9. 9:15 to 10:00: Introduction to CLEAN Resources
  10. Introduce three aspects of CLEAN: 1) Collection of Educational Resources, 2) Guidance in Teaching Climate and Energy, and 3) Network of people: nce.html  
  11. Break
  12. 10:15 to 11:00: Introduction to SubjecttoCimate (StC) Lesson Plans and other resources
  13. 11:00 to 11:30: Introduce NOAA’s –’s Toolbox for Teaching Climate and Energy –
  14. 11:30 – 12:00 – Introduce other climate education resources in handout
  15. 12:00 to 1:00: Lunch – at workshop facility
  16. 1:00 to 3:00  – Teachers work individually or in pairs to design their own climate or energy lesson plan outline using the NGSS-aligned planning template and tools
  17. 3:00 to 4:00 – Student Climate Action Plan Process and COOL School (Climate Olympians for Ocean Leadership) – How to form a team to tackle climate issues at your school and/or in your local community: SubjecttoClimate: School Climate Action Plan
  18. 4:00 to 4:30 – Questions, Evaluation, Next Steps
  19. Optional Sail on Kaia


Contact us for details.

How to participate?

Give us a call or drop us an e-mail at the contact information below. We can then have a conversation about what your interests and goals are; what workshop length would best work for you; who you would like to attend; when you would like to have the training; where you would like to host the training, and how and where you would like climate education infused into your school, classroom, or community setting.

To schedule a climate workshop or to request additional information, contact Dave Oakes by telephone: 207-230-4025; by e-mail: or

Who we are:

The Center for Ecological Living and Learning (CELL) is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit with over fifteen years of experience offering climate education courses, workshops, and presentations for schools, colleges, and civic organizations in the United States and internationally. Our home base is in Hope, Maine.

To foster student climate action, we utilize NOAA’s’s 7 step Climate Action Learning Process:

Climate Action Learning Process

Big Problems, Bigger Solutions.

Climate Change represents the biggest and most defining issue or our time. The solutions, however, are right in front of us. If you are tired of hearing about the problems we face and want to take action and join a community of doers committed to finding sensible solutions to our climate crisis, come participate in the CAN program. You are not alone. There are over 3 million public school teachers, over 30  million elementary students and over 14 million high school  students in the U.S. (NCES 2019) – many of whom are passionate, creative, tired of feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of the issues we face, and ready to assume leadership roles to make a difference! Additionally, there are millions of parents and citizens who want to focus on solutions to our environmental problems and take action to implement them. Come join with others who are committed to educating people about the science of climate change and what is needed to solve this crisis.  As Helen Caldecott has said, “There is only so much sand in the hourglass; the time for action is now.”  Together, as educators, students, and empowered citizens, we can create a healthy, flourishing, and sustainable future.

The need: In response to the dire predictions of the October 2018 IPCC report, CELL initiated a research project of public schools to determine the need for climate change curriculum materials and teacher training. Our findings were startling. On average, climate change is covered for only an hour or two each year in U.S. high-school classrooms, according to a survey of 1,500 science teachers published in the journal Science. A third of science teachers include climate change denial in their lesson plans and half of surveyed teachers allow students to discuss the “controversy” of climate change without bringing in evidence to encourage a science-based understanding.

Our Climate Action Now project will respond proactively by:

  1. Implementing a seed project training 2,000 teachers in how to infuse climate education across the curriculum. 
  2. Assisting teachers in infusing an engaging science-based, interdisciplinary climate and oceans curriculum impacting 200​,000 public school students.
  3. Identifying pre- and post-assessment strategies for measuring the effectiveness of the curriculum.
  4. Implementing (an optional) Climate Olympians for Ocean Leadership​ ​(COOL School) project that will empower youth climate action in partnering schools and communities (see Team Marine video for an example of youth action). Also, check out this video: Climate Education Empowers Students to Action and  Climate Heroes: Stories of Change.
  5. Growing this seed project through disseminating the climate curriculum and COOL School​ ​project regionally and nationally.                                                                                                

Climate Action Now (CAN)

The focus of CAN is on empowering students with scientific knowledge of climate change so that they can become literate citizens who are capable of making intelligent, informed decisions. Additionally, our professional development programs empower participants with the skills and motivation needed to take proactive action in their schools and in their local communities to reduce carbon pollution and commit to sensible renewable energy and other local sustainable practices. Students represent our future leaders and a bright hope for healthy, flourishing life on planet Earth.  We are finding that many students are eager to learn what they can do to help solve our climate crisis. If you would like to partner with CELL and be part of the solution to our climate crisis, give us a call at (207) 230-4025 or drop us an e-mail at:  Together, we can empower the next generation in taking action today to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The time for ACTION is NOW! 

We look forward to partnering with you!

When and Where

To view a Google Map of our CAN program route, Click this Google Map CAN Program Link.  CELL will embark on the Climate Action Now program September 2020 –  sailing from Maine to Florida conducting CAN programs along the way. We welcome the opportunity to meet with your school, college or community group. During January 2021, we will be in the Miami Florida area. The purpose of the CAN programs is to inspire students, teachers, parents, community members, and non profit and business leaders to take action to reduce carbon pollution at their schools and in their local communities. Let us know of your interest in learning how to include climate education in your classroom and with your students.  Come roll up your shirt sleeves, join a team of inspiring doers, and make a difference in the world! The CAN program will feature:

  1. An interdisciplinary climate education workshop showing you how to infuse climate education into your teaching and how to empower students with with scientific knowledge of climate change and with the skills and motivation needed to take proactive action in their schools and in their local communities to reduce carbon pollution.
  2. Inspiring stories of climate action and what others are doing.
  3. Additional (free) climate education resources that you can access during and after the training.
  4. Climate education networking opportunities with other educators.
  5. Steps for taking action on climate and ocean conservation and an invitation to join the COOL School initiative.
  6. An optional tour of Tusen Takk (CELL’s 37′ Island Packet cutter-rigged sailboat equipped with solar and wind power, composting systems, etc.


To request a CAN workshop program, contact Dave at 207-230-4025 or email  We look forward to hearing from you! 

Get Involved!

Help us make the Climate Action Now leadership program a success!