Young Meteorologist Program Perspective

Chris Garcia, Young Meteorologist ProgramThe Young Meteorologist Program – also known as “YMP” is a free online computer game that educates and empowers children in grades K-8 about severe weather science, weather confidence and safety. The project was produced by PLANIT NOW, NFP in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service (NWS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS), and the National Education Association (NEA). There has been an increase in the number of tornadoes and other forms of severe weather in the past years, and it is essential that children know what to do and to help their families know what to do when severe weather threatens their communities. The YMP is a great tool for children and makes learning fun and

How I Got Involved! Exciting – Visit http://www.youngmeteorologist.org/

It all started one afternoon when I connected with Donna Lee online and I asked if I could ever help with anything and said I would be glad to help. Later I was asked if I wanted to mentor a few kids with weather preparedness and a blog about my experiences with the Young Meteorologist Program that I would be introducing to the children. I couldn’t wait to start the program and working with children and helping to enhance their knowledge on severe weather and what to do when it happens. There are a lot more people involved, Donna with PLAN!T NOW, Lisa from the Space Science Institute, Ron with NOAA, and my advisor Lu who is a climate change researcher. With everyone’s help this project will come together and go above and beyond. I am currently a junior at the University of Arkansas I am interested in atmospheric sciences, like meteorology and climatology. This is one reason why I was so interested in the Young Meteorologist Program and helping kids become weather ready. Also getting a chance to work closely with the NOAA and the NWS is a really great experience.

I’ve always had a passion for the weather, as a child I remember never missing the local weather forecast on television. I would watch and then tell my family what the weather is going to be like in the next few days. When there was severe weather coming in whether it was thunderstorms or a winter storm, I would stay up all night to follow the storm and keep my family updated. I was 10 years old and there was a complex of severe thunderstorms with a threat of tornadoes coming into Northwest Arkansas, I would go outside to check on the storms and even see if there was any inflow or funnel clouds. Later I convinced my parents to buy me a home weather station so I can keep up the all the weather details day after day. I later bought a more complex weather station and I still use it every day. I can connect the stations receiver to my computer and keep records on any weather details for the day. I enjoy recording data to look back at it to see what the weather conditions were like on a particular day.

Library hunting has been a long process but we made contact with Lolly Greenwood from the Fayetteville Public Library, which will be helping us in finding a group of a few children that I could get together with to mentor and introduce the game to. We are working with Lolly to find the location where I will be working with the kids. Also with the addition of Meteorologist Ed Galianese with the NWS in Tulsa and his resources and connections, this project will become even better by hopefully having a meteorologist visit with the children which would be a great experience for the children. Also Lolly from the Fayetteville Public Library would like to make the YMP a bigger event next year which is great news. I think it will be a great thing for the Fayetteville community to have a program like the Young Meteorologist Program to teach about severe weather which strikes Fayetteville quite often, anything from severe thunderstorms to wild winter storms.

We are still in the early stages of the project but it is setting up to be a great project and experience for me and everyone that is involved, also the children that do participate in the YMP will benefit greatly from it while having fun learning about severe weather preparedness. I have played the game a few times and even I had fun with it and I believe that it can really help children with the different types of severe weather and knowing what to do to be safe. I have always had a passion for helping people and for the weather, the YMP and the project we will be staring will put both of those together, which sounds like a lot of fun and I am eager to continue and get started with the main portion of the project which will involve the group of children in the library. I introduced my little brother Alex that is 9 years old to the Young Meteorologist game, he played through it all and I explained a few other things to him. He printed out his certificate and has it hung on the wall. Like my brother enjoyed it I believe other children will benefit greatly from this program.

I have great anticipations for what the project will bring and all that I can learn from it and from everyone that is making this happen.

Submitted by Chris Garcia, Young Meteorologist Program, Junior at the University of Arkansas