Tuesday, December 8

The session will begin with a welcome from the conference planning committee and the President of Montana State University, Dr. Waded Cruzado. Dr. Nick Silverman from the Montana Climate Office will present on climate science basics covering such questions as why does climate change; past climate data and current climate trends for Montana and the region; weather versus climate; and periodic fluctuations in climate versus global climate change.

The second half of the session will be spent hearing from Montana stakeholders from Extension program areas (agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community development, and youth development (4-H)). Three panels comprised of four to six panelists each will address the questions “What concerns, issues, and needs regarding climate change are you hearing from your constituents or organization?�, “How can MSU-Extension assist your constituents or organization in addressing those concerns, issues, and needs?�, and “What actions are your constituents or organization taking, if any, to address climate change.� Each panel will include time for questions and discussion between the panelists and audience members.

The evening keynote address will be given by Bob Inglis, former U.S. Representative from South Carolina. He will provide his perspectives on how free enterprise can solve climate change.

Wednesday, December 9

This session will focus on tools and resources for communicating climate science. First, conference sponsors will present, including representatives from USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA-Northern Plains Regional Climate Hub, Montana University System’s Montana Institute on Ecosystems, and the Western Rural Development Center. Then, educators from across university and Extension systems will provide presentations on how they have communicated climate science with clientele. Presenters will allow time for questions and discussion with audience members.

As part of the Montana Institute on Ecosystem’s “Rough Cut� seminar series, Dr. Michael Mann will provide a seminar titled “Dire predictions: Understanding climate change� in order to provide the audience with more information on our most up-to-date understanding of climate science. He will also provide a keynote address in the evening in which he presents his experience with the science and politics behind the controversial topic of climate change.

Thursday, December 10

The final session will begin with comments from Dr. Jeff Bader, MSU Extension Director. Three MSU Extension faculty will follow by presenting about their experience in climate science programming with examples from agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and youth development. Audience members will then break into small groups based on program area to discuss how climate science programming might be integrated into existing programming and what new opportunities might exist based on feedback from stakeholders during the first session and examples from other educators during the second session. The session will culminate when small groups reconvene and the larger group strategizes about how to move forward with climate science programming both within Montana and with regional cooperators.