Brooklyn students learning how to protect shoreline

Post-Sandy education project offers lessons in resilience

March 6, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Students are busy learning how to protect their neighborhood in the event of another Superstorm Sandy-type of weather disaster. Photo courtesy of David Boody Intermediate School
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Students who attend schools in neighborhoods hit hard by Superstorm Sandy six years ago are getting the chance to learn about resiliency thanks to special project funded through an environmental grant.

David Boody Intermediate School in Gravesend is one of seven schools in Southern Brooklyn taking part in the Resilient Schools Consortium (RiSC).

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More than 300 students will be designing and installing resiliency projects in their communities, according to a RiSC spokesperson. The kids are currently busy assessing the conditions of their school buildings, as well as their neighborhoods, to determine how vulnerable they are to extreme weather events.

The participating schools will be given resources to enable them to design and install a resiliency project, like a water garden, to help the buildings withstand bad weather, the RiSC spokesperson said.

The seven participating schools were chosen because of they are located in shorefront areas of Brooklyn that were badly damaged when Superstorm Sandy hit New York City on Oct. 29, 2012, according to the project’s coordinators.

Two-hundred school buildings in New York City sustained heavy damage in the storm and 1.1 million school children were unable to attend school for a week. Twelve percent of the city’s teachers lived in flood zones at the time of the storm, according to RiSC.

The Resilient Schools Consortium was created by Brooklyn College and the National Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools USA program through a partnership with the New York City Department of Education, New York Sea Grant and the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay.

The program is funded by a three-year $500,000 environmental literacy grant from by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that was awarded in the fall of 2016.

Hudson Estuary Specialist Nordica Holochuck, a member of the Resilient Schools Consortium development team, presented lessons to the students on climate change that were developed for the Hudson River Valley.

The curriculum, which can be found at, introduces students to tools to enable them to analyze the impacts of climate change.

“This is really a wonderful project because many of the students involved in this after-school climate literacy program have vivid memories of living through Sandy and have experienced the recovery, and community resilience in response to that extreme weather event. The young people in this program, through planned student summits will have a chance to contribute to NYC adaptation planning efforts,” Holochuck said in a statement.

Helen Cheng, New York Sea Grant’s coastal resilience specialist at the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, is planning a summit to take place on June 1 to bring together students from all of the participating schools.

Scientists, government officials and community leaders will also be invited to attend the summit.

The summit will also give students the chance to talk to resiliency professionals about internships.

“Students are very aware of the cultural and social impacts of climate change. RiSC is well-needed and will support the next generation of people who are ultimately going to take after us. Providing this opportunity to city public school students, many of whom experienced the effects of Hurricane Sandy, is a great way to empower those students to be stewards and take action,” Cheng stated.

The New York Sea Grant, a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 33 university-based programs operating under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

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