Know Your AQ: Engaging Action and Awareness About Air Quality Issues in Colorado's Front Range

Friday 11:30am-1:30pm UMC Aspen Rooms
Poster Presentation Part of Science Literacy through Outreach Programs


Jennifer Taylor, University of Colorado at Boulder
Susan Sullivan, University of Colorado at Boulder
Alison Rockwell, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Julia Lee-Taylor, NCAR/UCAR
Every summer along Colorado's Front Range, ground-level ozone air pollution periodically spikes to unhealthy levels, despite laws and efforts to control the lung-damaging chemical, but why?

During July and August 2014, nearly 200 scientists from the joint NASA DISCOVER-AQ and NCAR FRAPPÉ air quality campaign converged in the Front Range to help answer this important question by monitoring the region's air with coordinated aircraft flights and ground-based tower-, vehicle-, and balloon- instrumentation. Ultimately, the goal is to share their discoveries with decision makers seeking to clear the air.

As the education outreach arm of the DISCOVER-AQ mission, CIRES bridged the scientific and local communities by articulating an educated awareness of the scientific research being conducted and offering authentic opportunities to engage people in the campaign process. In cooperation with campaign partners, CIRES Education Outreach created and implemented a unique and integrated series of public air quality activities and events with broader impacts:

- Citizen-science air monitoring hikes in Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks and Rocky Mountain National Park enabling a wide range of people to learn about air monitoring techniques and related air quality & health issues

- Educator workshop offering two days of professional development and classroom resources to increase teachers' understanding of Front Range air quality issues via interactive sessions and site visits led by campaign partners

- Developing the "Know Your AQ" curriculum in collaboration with campaign scientists and their data, plus contributing to UCAR's Air Quality Teaching Box

- Supporting campaign public events at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science Free Day and the NCAR Research Aviation Facility Open House by providing air quality information and a hands-on demonstration of air properties