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Sea Level Rise on the California Coast

Youth summer camp program


Melting ice and warming temperatures are causing sea levels to rise around the world. The California coast has seen only 4 to 8 inches of sea level rise in the past hundred years, but scientists expect much higher levels in the coming decades. How do we measure this rise? Why is sea level rise in California going to become more and more important? How are changes in sea level already affecting California, its people, and its organisms?

This one-week summer camp for students entering grades 8 – 12 will explore these crucial questions, delving into the scientific basis for a topic that gets a lot of news coverage but that often isn’t taught in schools. No special background is required! Students will learn how to analyze data and news articles to develop their own understanding of sea level rise and its impacts. At the end of the week, students will create a report or presentation that evaluates a technique used in responding to local sea level rises. While the camp focuses on the California coast, students will have the chance to investigate sea level rise in other places that they may be interested in.

This camp is a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous online work and it should take 3 to 4 hours every day to complete camp activities. We will meet for half an hour each day for group discussions. Students will schedule two, short 1-on-1 meetings with the course instructor for personalized attention, as well as daily meetings with groupmates to foster community. We will also use pre-recorded instructor videos, exploration activities in Google Earth, reading assignments from newspapers, short written reflection pieces, and online exercises to think deeper about the material.

After attending the Sea Level Rise Camp students will be able to:

  • Explain why global sea level is rising and how we measure sea level change
  • Analyze sea level gauge data to identify the magnitude of sea level rise along different parts of the California Coast
  • Describe coastal geology and ocean currents that influence sea level along California
  • Describe effects of sea level rise on local ecosystems and human communities

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July 20-24, 2020

This course is a hybrid course blending live instruction as well as independent learning materials. Live discussions will take place on the following dates and times:

Monday-Friday: 10am-10:30am

Additional live discussions will be scheduled with small groups following registration.

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This non-credit camp is being offered at a discounted tuition rate of $89.

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Kelsey Winsor

Kelsey Winsor earned her doctorate in geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she focused on connections between the Greenland ice sheet, ocean temperatures, and climates of the past. Her postdoctoral research at the University of Massachusetts Lowell then took her south to Antarctica to examine the resilience of glaciers in warming climates. For the past three years, she has worked at NAU as a Lecturer in introductory geoscience courses and taught over 2000 undergraduate students. She has several years of experience with students aged 6 to 17 working in science summer camps and volunteering at Boys & Girls Clubs.

Kelsey has worked in coastal areas throughout North America, from Belize to Massachusetts to Greenland. She lives in Flagstaff, AZ, with her spouse, Scott, and two adorable cats. She is passionate about geoscience education, improving equity in higher education, learning languages, and gardening.

For questions about the content of this course, please contact Kelsey Winsor.

For all other questions, please contact NAU Online by phone or email.