TD Education: Increasing coastal resiliency by informing and preparing citizens of the northern Gulf of Mexico through hands-on, multidisciplinary K12 education

Stephanie M Smallegan1, Renee Collini2,3, Sonia Vedral2, Alison Rellinger4, Tina Miller-Way5, Eric Sparks6 and Tracie Sempier7, (1)University of South Alabama, Civil, Coastal, and Environmental Engineering, Mobile, AL, United States, (2)Program for Local Adaptation to Climate Effects: Sea-Level Rise (PLACE: SLR), Biloxi, MS, United States, (3)Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative, MS-AL Sea Grant/Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, United States, (4)The Alabama School of Mathematics and Science, Mobile, AL, United States, (5)Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Dauphin Island, AL, United States, (6)Mississippi State University Coastal Research & Extension Center, Biloxi, MS, United States, (7)Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Ocean Springs, MS, United States
Hazard impacts to the northern Gulf of Mexico are exacerbated by coastal flooding and rising sea levels coupled with above-average socioeconomic vulnerability, low-lying topography, and rapid development. In this project, we created an engaging, hands-on curriculum for high school educators in Alabama and Mississippi. The project goal is to develop an informed and prepared citizenry who possess the necessary skills and understanding to reduce coastal vulnerability to flooding and sea-level rise (SLR) through education. To this end, four multi-disciplinary modules were developed: SLR and Flooding Basics describing fundamental processes regarding both hazards; Natural Solutions covering nature-based solutions to SLR and flooding; Ordinance and Policy Solutions explaining political or socially-driven solutions to coastal hazards; and Community Planning providing information to achieve community resilience through planning. Each module is accompanied with enriched learning experiences, such as field trips; networking opportunities with local natural resource managers, community planners, and researchers; and in-class, problem-based pedagogy. The curriculum will culminate in a capstone project that synthesizes and applies concepts from the four modules to one of two fictional towns that are demographically and geographically representative of cities along the northern Gulf of Mexico. This presentation will demonstrate hands-on curriculum activities and showcase the fictional towns created using ESRI Story Maps. The curriculum was developed iteratively with project team members (which includes educators), a panel of advisors comprised of science and social studies educators, and local educators. This ongoing project will be piloted in Alabama and Mississippi in 2020, and two Hazard Summits will be held to encourage the use of the curriculum. This curriculum will build an empowered generation of students prepared to successfully address SLR and other complex topics.