Are you interested in doing a YESS project in your community? We’ve put together a few resources for students, teachers, planners, and community leaders to get started!
Step One: Why Do This?
The overarching goal of this project is to give young people a voice on the issue of sea level rise, and to empower them to engage meaningfully in the planning and policy that takes place in their own communities. Ideally, you would undertake a project by building a partnership among a school, the local planning department, and a community based organization. Here’s how everybody benefits:
- Teachers are currently implementing Next Generation Science Standards in classrooms across America, but many don’t have access to relevant, high-quality educational resources that meet these new standards. The YESS curriculum was developed by leading coastal education specialists and tested in our first cohort with over 350 students.
- Local planners are responsible for developing the long-range plans that govern how communities grow, change, and respond to disasters. Planners need to hear as many voices on important issues as possible, yet it is often difficult for them to reach a broad spectrum of those who are affected by planning decisions. Working with young people to collect data increases the visibility of projects and increases the information that planners have access to.
- Community-Based Organizations often act as an interface between the people who live in an area and the government agencies that serve them. These organizations are often trusted sources of information and provide some of the “glue” that keeps communities together.
Below are a few introductory materials to get the conversation started
- Project Overview: YESS Postcard
- California Coastal Voices Article: Partnering to Promote Youth Participation in Coastal Planning
- YESS video, produced by the Community Media Center of Marin and students working with Shore Up Marin
Step Two: Planning Your Project
Once you know who’s on your team, it’s time to dig into the details. If you do have a partnership like the one described above, you’ll be able to implement the full framework. That framework consists of 3 main phases:
- Learning About Sea Level Rise: The first phase equips students and teachers with the basics of sea level rise science: why it’s happening, what the future may hold, and how scientists know what they know.
- Studying Local Impacts Through Data Collection: Now it’s time to get out in the community and learn about what sea level rise means to your local area. The data that students collect is vitally important to local planners.
- Reflecting and Communicating: After learning and doing comes communicating. Young people will be the most impacted by climate change, and need to have a voice in the decisionmaking process. In this phase, students use the knowledge and skills they’ve gained to present the data that they collect in ways that are meaningful to them.
Some helpful resources for this step:
- Sea Level Rise Planning in the Bay Area talking points
Step 3: Doing Your Project
Now the fun begins. The classroom component of the project can be undertaken in just a few periods, or expanded over a semester or longer, depending on time and interest.
The resources you’ll need in this step:
- NGSS and Common Core Aligned Sea Level Rise Curriculum
- Game of Floods resources
- What is Planning? presentation
- Media Release Form
Step 4: Tell Us About It!
We’d love to hear how it goes! Please drop us a line to share how things went, what you learned, and how your community was impacted!