Tackling the climate crisis requires creating climate champions of all ages—people who are educated on climate science, passionate about addressing the climate crisis, and engaged in concrete efforts to “bend the curve” of global warming. Thus, Climate Champions aims to get more teaching, learning, and action on the climate crisis in regional schools. 

Launched in late spring 2020, this pilot project, based at UC San Diego, aspires to be a model for connecting K12, university, and community, ultimately in service of climate action and climate justice. The UC-CSU ECCLPS initiative (Environment and Climate Change Literacy Project and Summit) has inspired and informed the direction of Climate Champions. Reciprocally, this project seeks to inform the statewide scaleup of climate education, showing how the ECCLPS recommendations can be put into action, leveraging state university systems to support curriculum development, pre-service and in-service teachers. 

The Climate Champions action plan and work in progress targets these objectives:

Build a climate champion teacher leadership corps.
Create and curate climate curriculum adapted to teachers’ needs and local conditions.
Host learning events designed for teachers to support teaching about the climate.
Oak woodland at Crestridge Ecological Reserve.

Our Team

UC San Diego Leaders

Nan Renner, Ph.D.

Project Leader, Senior Director of Learning Design and Innovation, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, Learning Scientist at CREATE


Darren De Leon

CREATE, Administrative Assistant

Sherice Clarke, Ph.D.

UC San Diego, Education Studies Assistant Professor

Kim Douillard, Ed.D.

CREATE, Director of San Diego Area Writing Project

Crystal Howe

San Diego County Office of Education, Environmental Literacy Coordinator

Minh Mai

CREATE, Program Manager for Code.org and CSTA San Diego

Chenoa Musillo

Education Studies Ph.D. Student Researcher

Cheryl Peach

Director of Scripps Educational Alliances

Sarah Peterson

CREATE, Regional Director, California Reading & Literature Project

Mica Pollock, Ph.D.

CREATE, Director and Education Studies Professor

Heather Ponchetti Daly, Ph.D.

UC San Diego, Lecturer, Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel

Laura Santos

CREATE, Program Coordinator

Kathryn Schulz

CREATE, Regional Director of San Diego Science Project

Ovie Soto, Ph.D.

CREATE, Co-director of UC San Diego Math Project and Executive Director of Math for America San Diego

Climate Champions Teacher Leaders

Rosina Garcia

Wilson Middle School

Cindy Jenson-Elliot

Nativity Prep Academy

Janis Jones

Surfside Educational Academy

Adrienne Marriott

Bonita Vista High School

Shirley Miranda

Morse Middle School

Sara Odioso

Nativity Prep Academy

Tina Tom

Chula Vista Middle School

Aletia Trepte

Lincoln High School

Mike Tritchler

Madison High School

Gina Woodard, MPH, Ed.D.

Hilltop High School

Project Advisors

Ashley Batchelor | UC San Diego, Education Studies Ph.D. Student Researcher
Ben Bergen, Ph.D. | UC San Diego, Cognitive Science Professor, Climate Action Lab Director
Karen Cowe | Ten Strands, Executive Director
Fonna Forman, Ph.D. | UC San Diego, Political Science Associate Professor, Center on Global Justice, Director, Bending the Curve, Co-author
Alexander (Sasha) Gershunov, Ph.D. | UC San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Research Meteorologist
Bonnie Ludka, Ph.D. | UC San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Postdoctoral Scholar
Ed Parnell, Ph.D. | UC San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Associate Researcher

Youth Leaders

Seven brilliant young leaders are curating Climate Justice resources for Humanities, History, and Social Sciences. These middle and high school students represent diverse life experiences from across San Diego County.

Elea Castiglione

Annie Do

Miranda Mendoza

Meghan Pugh

Bella Santos

Emma Weibel

Kate Vedder