What’s on our minds

We share what we learn and what we’re doing so that others can learn from us and we can learn from others. Comments welcome!

Help us to measure impact: Researcher needed!

Are you a passionate researcher eager to make a real difference?

Do you want to use your skills to help communities to prepare for disaster?

We harness the power of experiential learning and games to empower individuals and communities and help them be prepared for disaster. We’ve crafted two engaging learning experiences that spark interest and propel action. We know that people love playing these (in-person) games, consistently report learning valuable insights, and intend to take action upon returning home. What we don’t know is:

Do they actually do anything?

This is where YOU come in! We’re looking for a highly motivated researcher — possibly a Master’s or PhD student — to design and implement a study to evaluate the short-term impact of our wildfire learning experiences.

What You’ll Do

  • Develop a compelling research question: You can keep your scope focused on our immediate question, “Does participating in one of our learning experiences affect what people think, do, or talk about in the month or so after playing?” Or you can delve into a broader question around wildfire
    risk perception, preparedness behavior, the effectiveness of experiential learning in community education, or even questions around methods for measuring behavioral change.
  • Design a rigorous research study: Develop the methodology, design data collection instruments, oversee data collection, and lead data analysis.
  • Have fun gathering data: Recruit participants and gather initial data at a variety of fun community events where people play our games.

What Awaits You

  • Make a difference: Your work will directly contribute to CCL’s mission of building disaster-resilient communities.
  • Real-world research experience: Design and implement a study from the ground up.
  • Creative collaboration: Work alongside experienced facilitators and researchers at CCL.

Bonus Perks

  • Access to a ready pool of participants: We have connections with numerous communities and events in the San Francisco Bay Area, significantly simplifying recruiting..
  • Funding potential: We can work together to find funding to support your research. (If you’re interested in wildfire and at a US university, this grant is a possibility.)
  • Publication potential: We’re happy to collaborate on research papers and reports.

Are you ready to make a difference?

We are! The 2024 community event season has already started, so the project can start as soon as you’re ready. We’d like to have data by October when events wind down.

“It’s been mobbed!”

Most disaster preparedness educators have a fantasy about people lining up to learn about disaster preparedness.

It’s our reality.

This past Saturday, we brought our Wildfire Board Game to the Steelhead Festival. This was a six-hour event put on by the Friends of Lake Sonoma. It was held at the Milt Brandt Visitor Center and Congressman Don Clausen Fish Hatchery in Geyserville CA, definitely the most beautiful setting we’ve been in:

The festival was somewhat eclectic. Vendors ranged from Fisheries and Wildlife agents demonstrating zebra mussel removal to the local archery association giving bow and arrow lessons, the local running store promoting running events, and independent artists selling hand-made crafts. All backed by live music and food offered by the Kiwanis Club, local restaurants, and two food trucks.

We were there with two game boards and, thankfully, three volunteers. Thankfully, because we were busy the entire time, and would have had no breaks if only two of us had been there.

The event photographer voiced it for us:

“I’ve been trying to get a picture of your booth, but it’s been mobbed!”

We played 45 games (possibly more, we lost count a few times) with 140 individuals racking up a total of 39 hours of learning time. The numbers bear out how busy we were: Given the approximate length of games and number of games played, our boards were in use 104% of the time. Not bad for what’s intended to be a quick learning snack!

This is what it looked like:

Now, we can’t claim sole credit for success. It was a beautiful day, and the event attracted thousands (final attendance estimates still pending).

In stark contrast to an another event we attended recently.

Three weeks earlier, we took the game to Farmers Market in Sebastopol CA. This is not a large market to begin with. That day, it rained steadily the whole time. Not only were there few market-goers, those that were there weren’t inclined to linger.

This is what it looked like:

Nonetheless, we played nine games with 11 participants for a total of three hours of learning time. (Our hope going in was at least five games, so we weren’t disappointed.) Our boards were in play a mere 26% of the time, the lowest number we have experienced.

So, what have we learned?

These events were part of our experiment in taking learning experiences to where people are. As opposed to trying to get people to come to special events such as preparedness fairs. From that perspective, both events were successful. They confirmed earlier data showing that our engagement rate correlates directly to the number of people in attendance. In other words, if there are people to attract, we attract and engage them. If they aren’t there, well, we can’t engage them.

Which bodes extremely well for our claim that our approach of games, fun and experiential learning gets people interested and inspired. Now we need to identify what types of events and locations are appropriate, and refine the game to suit different types of events and settings.

In the meantime, we claim bragging rights. When other disaster preparedness educators complain that they encounter apathy and can’t get people to engage, we can truthfully respond with, “We don’t have that problem!”

New dawn. New year. New chapter!

Leafless tree silhouetted against red sunrise clouds

This morning, dawn painted the sky of this first business day of the new year with promise. On this first business day of the new year, we painted our promise on the sky of a new dawn. We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve officially embarked on the journey towards independent 501c3 status!

This isn’t just a paperwork shuffle, it’s a declaration. A declaration of our unwavering commitment to empowering individuals and communities to navigate the stormy skies of crisis with creativity, resilience, and hope. It’s a declaration of our unshakeable belief in the transformative power of experiential learning, games and fun. It’s a declaration of our infinite confidence in the power of community.

We thank everyone who has helped to get us to this point, and invite you to join us in this exciting new chapter. Share this news, spread the word, and become part of the movement. Together, let’s paint a brighter future, one brushstroke of creativity and compassion at a time.

— Susanne, Garett & Lindsay
Creative Crisis Leadership Board of Directors

Holiday Puzzle 9 | What movie is this?

Disaster movies frequently take liberties with scientific accuracy for the sake of entertainment. Here are three short clips from popular ones.

What’s the movie?

For bonus points, what are the glaring scientific inaccuracies?



Open to reveal the answer

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

This film portrays catastrophic climate change effects, leading to a new ice age. While it raises awareness about climate change, the speed and severity of the environmental changes depicted are highly exaggerated, and admittedly so by the film makers. Climate change is a gradual process, and the sudden, extreme weather events shown in the movie are not consistent with the current laws of thermodynamics.



Open to reveal the answer

Twister (1996)

Centered on storm chasers researching tornadoes, “Twister” dramatizes many aspects of tornado behavior. For instance, the film shows characters surviving in extremely close proximity to violent tornadoes, which in reality would be far more dangerous and likely lethal.



Open to reveal the answer

Dante’s Peak (1997)

A film about a volcanic eruption in a small town, “Dante’s Peak” exaggerates the speed at which volcanic events occur. Additionally, certain scenes, like the one where the protagonists drive a vehicle across a lava flow, defy the actual destructive nature of lava.


So, don’t believe everything you see in the movies — there probably won’t be a film crew standing by to help if this happens to you!

If you've enjoyed playing with us, please consider
supporting our work.
Thank you!


Check out our other Holiday Puzzles.