As an active Climate Friendly Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan has made considerable strides in reducing its carbon footprint and educating the public about climate change. The park has been recognized at the national level for its “Sustainable is Attainable” program (http://www.nps.gov/piro/parkmgmt/green.htm). Park staff has made progress on the park’s Climate Friendly Action Plan with installation of two climate change interpretive wayside exhibits, summer interpretive programming, and a revision of all K–12 curricula to include climate change topics in the education outreach program.
The most recent climate change–related effort is part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Both Apostle Islands and Pictured Rocks national lakeshores received an EPA grant for “Communicating Stewardship and Sustainable Values” in local communities. At Pictured Rocks the Alger Energy Savers outreach and carbon reduction program is in full swing, with an outreach park ranger to communicate climate change–related challenges facing national parks. Working with the Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust in Marquette, Michigan, Pictured Rocks is providing energy assessments and energy-saving devices to Alger County residents and tourism-related businesses. A total of 1,500 county households are targeted to receive compact fluorescent lightbulbs, faucet aerators, hot water pipe insulation, and a water heater insulating blanket. If fully implemented, energy savings over the life of these devices will be over 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and 16,500 metric tons (18,188 short tons) of CO2.
The Superior Watershed Partnership, in collaboration with George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication, administered a survey of 765 Alger County residents to assess their knowledge and beliefs about climate change, and their percentage representation within the Six Americas. This study has guided the Alger Energy Savers and outreach activities in the park’s gateway communities.
The Alger Energy Savers project also includes application of social marketing research to frame the issue for local residents, and work with local resident beliefs and value systems. A contractor, ICF International, has developed targeted outreach materials for the project.