Public Outreach

The public outreach component of NCAR E&O includes the NCAR Explorer Series, engaging with the public at outreach events, creation of bilingual science material, collaboration with the UCAR Science Education team, and collaboration with various scientists and organizations.

Explorer Series

The NCAR Explorer Series was initiated in 2016 to reach out to and inform the general public about research being conducted at NCAR and its impact to our society. The NCAR Explorer Series consists of quarterly lectures and events, and has expanded to include videos to highlight the Explorer Series speakers and NCAR supported field campaigns. The Explorer lectures have attracted hundreds of viewers from the Front Range area and received several thousand views on YouTube

This year, Explorer Series events reached more than 900 people in-person at the Mesa Lab. These events included:

  • quarterly lectures

  • kid's science show with special guest Jo Hecker

  • film screening of “The Human Element”

  • special joint lecture and panel with scientists in collaboration with the Denver Boulder American Meteorological Society (DBAMS) chapter.


A special lecture was hosted as a joint Explorer collaboration with DBAMS to bring a panel of scientists and specialists to discuss the 2013 Boulder flood, with positive feedback from guests:

“I enjoyed the varied perspectives focusing on different aspects of the same event. Thank you for the talk!!"

"Really like the Explorer Series - interesting and informative. So good to have the opportunity to hear our local experts."

"Such good information provided + reminder of how dangerous flooding is and importance of awareness of escape routes from cabin in the mountains."


A film screening and panel was also held at NCAR. The film “The Human Element” was shown followed by a question and answer session with a panel panel of scientists from NCAR, NOAA, and CU Boulder, and with the film director James Balog. We received positive feedback for this film screening and panel.

"This was very valuable - Thank you"

"Outstanding film by James Balog. Impressive comments from panel's discussion. Presented alarming data that needs to be better known."

"This was the perfect setting for this important film! The panel and audience questions was also very informative."


Explorer Videos

Short videos of the Explorer lecture speakers were created and shared via social media, receiving more than 500 views on Facebook. Videos of NCAR supported field campaigns have also been created for the WE-CAN field campaign (western United States), and are underway for the RELAMPAGO field campaign (international campaign in Argentina).

Collaboration with UCAR SciEd

The E&O team in collaboration with UCAR SciEd is creating a travelling climate exhibit and creating an exhibit for the public at the NCAR Mesa Lab museum lobby which will highlight field campaigns funded by the National Science Foundation.

Bilingual science communication

Bilingual (Spanish-English) efforts continued into this fiscal year. Bilingual flyers were created and shared with information about hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, and radars for the RELAMPAGO field campaign. While in Argentina, the E&O team engaged with the local public during the field campaign open house and visited local schools to share the science of RELAMPAGO with students.

Staffing at the USA Science and Engineering Festival included a Spanish speaker and bilingual material to share with the general public.

A paper regarding bilingual science communication in the Geosciences is being reviewed for publication in the Journal of Geoscience Education. A session, poster, and talk will be presented at the American Geophysical Union conference and the American Meteorological Society meeting in an effort to foster a bilingual science community of practice.

Jo Hecker at his No Fear of Science show at NCAR

Jo Hecker presents a science activity with a guest from the audience during NCAR Explorer special Kid’s Science Show “No Fear of Science” in May 2018.

Rich Loft during his Explorer Series talk

Explorer Series lecture speaker Richard Loft during his talk “What are the limits of modeling out planet?” in April 2018.

Students view the sky to identify clouds using the NCAR Spanish Cloud Viewer handout.

Students view the sky to identify clouds using the NCAR Spanish Cloud Viewer handout. The activity took place in Córdoba, Argentina during an educational outreach event as part of the NCAR-supported RELAMPAGO field campaign.