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While climate change project funders, community partners, and researchers are increasingly calling for robust knowledge mobilization plans, including knowledge translation and transfer, there are ongoing debates about how to design and measure the effectiveness of these efforts for specific target audiences. Climate Change S.O.S. – Save Our Syrup! is a knowledge mobilization program that brings high school students out to a working sugarbush in Ontario, Canada. This program was developed by drawing on the outdoor education expertise at the Mountsberg Conservation Area, forestry specialists’ consultation, and the project team’s work on previous community-based studies. Students also contribute to a citizen science project monitoring the health of the sugar maple ecosystem and learn about the impact of climate change on this ecosystem. Pretest and posttest surveys measured the knowledge mobilization program’s effectiveness on the students’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. With 600 grade 9–12 participants in this project, this is one of the largest studies that the team could find that measures climate change knowledge mobilization effectiveness on high school students. Results indicate short-term positive changes in knowledge of climate change and maple syrup, and positive changes in students’ attitudes regarding their ability to lessen their impact on climate change, but no statistically significant longer-term change to behavior. After highlighting some of the key issues and concerns around designing three projects and measuring effectiveness, the paper outlines how the program was developed, its key results and limitations and lessons learned. We argue that although single, targeted knowledge mobilization efforts can be effective, longer-term, multi-pronged approaches are likely necessary to contribute to sustained behavioral change.


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19 Jul 2022
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  • Alternative title
    • Knowledge Mobilization, Citizen Science, and Education

  • Journal title
    • Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship

  • Volume
    • 13

  • Issue
    • 3

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • License
  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Corresponding author. Email: Website: To access our research projects see: Acknowledgements This research was supported in part by the following: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) through an Insight grant; Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) though a New Directions research grant; Canada TREE (Tree Research and Education Endowment) fund though a Jack Kimmel research grant; Wilfrid Laurier University; an anonymous donor, and the Mountsberg Conservation area. Any opinions expressed in this work are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the funding agencies, Wilfrid Laurier University, or Conservation Halton Mountsberg. We would like to thank Brenna Bartley (Mountsberg) for delivering the programming, Dr. David Morris and Dr. Jennifer Baltzer (WLU) who helped with project development, and all of the teachers, staff and students who helped deliver and participate in the program.