K-12 and Community Initiatives

Students, teachers, and members of your local community are taking action.

Actions big and small can make a difference and there efforts underway across the state to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy while creating good jobs and retaining our quality of life.  The N.C Department of Environmental Quality is dedicated to providing high-quality educational resources and curricula to the students, teachers, and educators of North Carolina to foster a more informed public and environmentally literate citizenry.  Content provided by our agency is the result of research and analysis from our scientists, as well as from our partnerships with scientific agencies, universities, educational groups, and others. 

DEQ Envisions:

  • Providing students, teachers and community members with information and opportunities to learn about climate change and climate science
  • Helping individuals find well-documented and researched content to learn about the topic
  • Collaborating with and supporting local actions by students, teachers, and community members that aim to reduce pollution, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and improve our environment

K- 12 Education

In 2009, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an Endangerment Finding that greenhouse gas pollution contributes to climate change and threatens the health and welfare of future generations.  But learning about, and teaching, climate science can seem like a daunting task. Our goal is to support and collaborate with a wide variety of educators across the state to help make it a little easier. DEQ offers a wide variety of education and outreach programs, activities, and curriculum to support educators. Learn more about teaching your students about atmospheric chemistry, air pollution, combustion, clean energy solutions and more by exploring our education materials below. The Office of Environmental Education's online resource database has a wealth of curriculum materials and lesson plans.

Need help getting started? 

Try this North Carolina-specific Quick Reference Guide or email us at air.awareness@ncdenr.gov to learn more about activities related to climate change to try out in your classroom. 

Air Quality Education

Teach high school environmental science?  Learn more about our high school air quality education materials.
Try out Activity 1-2 which is all about combustion to get your students thinking about sources of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. 

Visit itsourair.org 

Outreach and Education programs

Learn more about DEQ’s current outreach and education efforts below by clicking on water, air, or land. Several Divisions offer workshops, educator support, and curricula to help N.C teachers.

Water Resources Programs     Air Quality Programs

Coastal Reserve Programs        Geology Programs

Take Action

All of us have the power to impact air quality. Ozone and particle pollution, the two biggest criteria pollutant air quality concerns in North Carolina, come from many of the same sources, primarily motor vehicles, power plants, and other industry. These same sources also release pollution that causes climate change. So simple actions like driving less and using less electricity can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.
Try some of these other actions.

Climate Change 101

Getting started with the basics? A great place to start learning is NASA's global climate change website: climate.nasa.gov
• Have questions about climate change vs global warming. Check out the frequently asked questions (FAQs)
• What is the scientific consensus about climate change?

Community Engagement

Coastal Connections

Scientists have identified the Albemarle-Pamlico region as one of the country's most vulnerable areas to climate change and associated sea level rise. In the coming years, coastal communities will consider adopting strategies to minimize the impacts of a changing climate to their residents and natural resources. Adapting to long-term climate pressures will be a difficult challenge for many coastal communities. The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program, in conjunction with its partner organizations, aims to serve these communities as they develop adaptation planning strategies.
• Learn more about the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program (APNEP)
• Learn more about public forums and events by emailing Stacey Feken.

N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences

The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences occasionally also holds community forums and events related to climate change.
Want to learn more about the research methods used by scientists to understand how and why the climate is changing? Sign up for a two-hour college-style lecture about climate change at the Museum of Natural Sciences. (Science Curriculum Correlation(s):7.E.1, 8.P.2, EEn.1.1, EEn.2.2, EEn.2.6, EEn.2.8, OA2.1, OA6.1 ).
Learn more 


Wildlife, weather, climate & change module:

Try the Project WILD curriculum, Weather, Wildlife, Climate, & Change to bring this topic into your classroom. Each lesson has been aligned with national education standards. Learn more here:

Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network:

Accurate education about climate and energy topics has never been more important, and it can be tough to locate reliable, vetted materials to bring into your classroom. CLEAN is here to help you find the content you need, without wondering about the scientific credibility or the educational suitability. Learn more here:

NC Green Power's Solar Schools Initiative:

The Solar Schools program provides matching grants for 3kW-5kW solar educational projects at schools, complete with a weather station, real-time monitoring, curriculum from NEED.org and training for teachers. Any K-12 school in North Carolina may apply for a 50% matching grant, up to $10,000, and NC GreenPower will assist the school with raising the balance of funds required. Learn more here:

NC Climate Office:

The NC Climate Office website is designed to help educators understand climate and weather concepts and to be able to incorporate the learning material from this site into their course curriculum using examples as aids for learning. It is also useful for anyone else who wants a basic understanding of weather and climate, especially in the southeastern United States. Learn more here:

Grants, Contest, and Awards:

Find funding to support climate-related projects and other school/community educational projects. Also, browse contest and award programs that relate to climate education.


NC state outline

Take Action

Interested in helping NC reduce environmental impacts and achieve its goal to lower consumption by 40%? 

Take Action               Learn More