PLAN!T NOW Introduces The Young Meteorologist Program

Hurricane season is in full gear and being educated and prepared for a severe storm is critical to making it through unscathed. In an effort to increase awareness of  severe weather preparedness to children, PLAN!T NOW (P!N), has teamed up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service (NWS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the National Education Association (NEA) to produce The Young Meteorologist Program (YMP). The program is a free online resource and computer game that educates and empowers children and adults alike about severe-weather science, weather awareness and safety.

“We are so grateful to our partnering organizations for their help in creating and promoting YMP,” says Donna Lee, founder PLAN!T NOW. “Together we can help create a weather- ready nation.”

The YMP centerpiece, its online game, features a junior data collector for the Weather Center-   Owlie (a digital evolution of the NOAA/NWS’s famed Owlie Skywarn). He helps kids on their online severe weather preparedness adventure. Players encounter lightning, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and winter storms- all while learning severe weather science and safety. Players who successfully complete the game earn a Young Meteorologist Certificate. The website, www.youngmeteorologist.org, also provides Young Meteorologist’s opportunities to put their knowledge to work through launching community service projects. Resources for educators, parents and meteorologists to guide Young Meteorologists are also available.

“YMP offers a fun and interactive way to educate our youth about otherwise complex issues,” says Ron Gird, National Weather Service Outreach Program Manager. “In fact, we have found YMP helps them not only retain the information but gets them excited to share what they have learned with friends and family- keeping everyone around them involved and safe.”

YMP is already being incorporated in curriculums across the nation and has plans to reach 55 million kids by the end of 2012 through direct and partner-based outreach. From teachers and camp leaders to parents and youth volunteers, the possibilities to introduce YMP to kids are endless. In addition, the National Weather Service plans to utilize its roughly 120 forecast offices and countless meteorologists to help push YMP even further. The National Education Association will also engage its 3.2 million teacher members and the AMS will promote the program to its 14,000+ members.

YMP is not only helping children stay safe during severe weather activity but it also entices them towards careers in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM),” says Gird. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

For more information regarding YMP, please visit: www.youngmeteorologist.org