OWL Project

Here + Now + Us Initiative

Strategy to Increase Community Engagement in Climate Change Impacts

Antioch University collaborated with Climate Access and Marin County, California on a cutting edge engagement project to test the use of visualization and dialogue to motivate action on climate change. In the near future in Marin County, sea level rise will cause significant flooding for communities in the region.

The San Francisco based company Owlized LLC installed two OWL digital viewfinders – a device modeled after the classic coin-operated binoculars commonly found at scenic viewpoints. The OWL viewfinder has been modernized with a virtual reality environment housed inside the viewfinder that allows people to see the potential impacts and responses to sea level rise in the location they are standing at rendered in 3D. Research data collected from these OWLS helped us to gain insights into how to make seal level rise and related flooding impacts relevant to citizens, as well as best practices moving forward.

The project was funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IX and Autodesk LLC. Advisors on the project were; Frank Niepold, Climate Education Coordinator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Program Office; Heidi Nutters, Coastal Training Program Coordinator at San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve; and Tristan Randall, Special Projects Executive at Autodesk.

To learn more about how this project can affect local community members, read the September 2015 article in Scientific American: “Virtual Reality Viewfinders Show Sea Level Rise and What to Do about It.”
To find out more about this project, contact Christa Daniels, Antioch University New England at .

Upcoming Events


Policy Advocacy: Climate Change

This course will provide participants with step-by-step skills in utilizing the tools of democracy to take meaningful civic action on climate change. Participants will learn the levers for building political will and the essentials of climate change communication. You will apply your learning by taking action in collaboration with a local environmental organization, and further your learning with your peers via Antioch’s online learning platform and optional one-on-one meetings with the instructor.
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Climate Impacts: Vulnerability and Adaptation Planning

Local and regional governments are leaders in climate change due to their unique position to make a wide range of decisions that can mitigate and adapt to our changing climate. Because they are on the frontline, many communities have conducted vulnerability assessments and engaged in adaptation planning. This module will enable participants to assess impacts to a business, community, or sector based on specific climate projections for a specific locale.
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Climate Impacts: Communication, Facilitation, and Stakeholder Capacity Building

Collective actions at the societal level (civic or political action behaviors) include involvement and support of policies, plans, and funding for implementation of municipal projects that could increase local climate resilience. Community engagement with the issue of climate change typically is lacking at the local level. How individuals feel about climate change, how much they know about the issue, and how they act are all types of engagement that are needed for societal change.
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Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience

Antioch University New England
40 Avon Street
Keene, NH 03431-3516


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