G-WOW! Climate Literacy

New GWOW logo
Gikinoo’wizhiwe Onji Waaban”
(“Guiding for Tomorrow” in the Ojibwe language) or 


When I saw that we would be teaching about climate change…, I thought Ugghhh!!!  Now I see that the cultural impact of climate change is how to approach  middle school kids with this topic.“-G-WOW  Institute Teacher

“G-WOW” is a unique climate literacy, communication, and leadership model for increasing climate change awareness and encouraging action to address it. G-WOW investigates climate change through its impact on cultural and economic practices we value based on how it is affecting sustainability of species and habitat conditions that support those practices.  The model integrates “scientific” climate research with “place-based” evidence we can observe.  G-WOW curriculum weaves in the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, a culture with a long relationship with the environment, to demonstrate place-based evidence of how the climate is changing.  G-WOW promotes community level action to increase resiliency to a changing climate and reduce its impacts, no matter your location or culture.

We welcome you to adapt the G-WOW  model to help your community understand more about climate change and what can be done about it.  Do culture and science agree that climate change is real?  You be the judge!

G-WOW Climate Change Curriculum  www.g-wow.org

Click on the G-WOW icon to open portal

Four seasonal curriculum units, with a new unit on climate change and water, engage middle school to adult learners in applying scientific research, Ojibwe traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), and place-based investigations to determine how climate change is affecting all of us. The G-WOW curriculum guides learners to investigate climate change within their own culture, take action, and share the results with others.

The G-WOW website features lesson plans, activity guides, climate change resources, program data bases, visual resources, games, and more.Ojibwe culture and language are integrated into the curriculum.

The G-WOW model has proven effective in increasing skills and confidence in teaching about climate change across different communities and cultures. Click here for research by Patty Carpenter-University of Minnesota-Duluth Master of Education candidate documenting the effectiveness of the G-WOW model in climate education and communication.


NEW:  Climate Strong” Climate Leadership Program 

The new Climate Strong! initiative uses the G-WOW climate literacy framework for the professional development training institutes, youth training opportunities, and climate change community events.  Jump over to the Climate Strong! webpage for more details.



Climate “Camps” and School Programs

Create a customized climate change learning experience for middle school and above students based on the G-WOW approach. Programs range from indoor experiences at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, WI to “hands on” outdoor field activities at the Center, on the Apostle Islands, within the Bad River Watershed, and the area’s Tribal communities. Partial day to multiple day programs can be arranged with advanced reservations. Contact Cathy Techtmann, cathy.techtmann@wisc.edu for reservations.


Professional Development Training & Field Courses

Professional development and customized field courses for college level to adult participants have increased awareness and climate leadership in college level to adult participants based on the G-WOW model can be arranged at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, WI and within the Chequamegon Bay region, tribal communities, and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Check out our Ecology and Culture Field Courses to get an idea of what the type of learning experiences we can offer.  Professional development presentations on climate change can also be arranged for workshops and conferences upon request. Contact cathy.techtmann@wisc.edu for more information.


Archive of G-WOW Changing Climate, Changing Culture Institutes

In 2019 our G-WOW institutes expanded into the new Climate Strong! Leadership Initiative.

Browse the 2012-2016 G-WOW Archives to see what we learned at past G-WOW Changing Climate, Changing Culture Institutes. The 2016  “G-WOW Hear the Water Speak” Institute provided climate change professional development training to 28 classroom and informal community educators, including 5 Canadian First Nations tribal elders focused on water and climate change.


Kudos for G-WOW

2019: G-WOW Climate Literacy Initiative was presented at the International Symposium for Society and Natural Resources, the Climate Generation Science Standards Workshop, Wisconsin Lakes Conference, NW Wisconsin Lakes Conference, UW-Stevens Point natural resources courses., 

2018:  G-WOW Climate Literacy Initiative presented at the 5th Annual Rising Voices Indigenous Climate Conference, Wisconsin Science Festival, UW-Madison Life Sciences class, North Central Tribal Water Summit, and the New York Academy of Science’s “Science Denial” conference.

2017: G-WOW Climate Literacy Initiative presented at Wisconsin Science Festival, Minnesota Outdoor Educators Conference, Will Steger Summer Climate Institute, Nicolet College’s “critical conversations” adult learning program

2015: The G-WOW  Climate Literacy Initiative was featured in the North American Lake Management’s LakeLines magazine. 

2015: G-WOW presentation was featured at the Rising Voices Conferences “Bringing Together Science and Indigenous Ways of Knowing to Create Positive Solutions”. 

The G-WOW Project received the prestigious 2012-13 Honor Award from the Eastern Region of the US Forest Service in the category of “Courageous Conservation.” G-WOW Team members receiving the award (left to right) are Jason Maloney-US Forest Service, Sue Erickson and Jim St. Arnold-Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Neil Howk-Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and Cathy Techtmann-UW Extension.

G-WOW Team Receives USFS Honor Award

For more information about the G-WOW Changing Climate, Changing Culture Initiative or assistance in adapting the model in your community, please contact Cathy Techtmann-Environmental Outreach State Specialist at cathy.techtmann@wisc.edu


The G-WOW Initiative is a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Extension, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest-US Forest Service, and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore-National Park Service

With funding through the WI Coastal Management Program, NOAA, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, NASA, and the National Parks Foundation. With assistance from the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science-USDA Forest Service, and many others!