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Rising seas. High-tide flooding. More extreme storms. Miami is already feeling the impacts of climate change, and kids know it.

“It’s in the news now, and they see it,” says Linda Coolen, a fifth grade teacher at Oliver Hoover Elementary School. “They’re listening. They’re seeing things on social media. They see the impacts it has on our communities.”

To help students understand the problem and help solve it, Coolen’s school participates in the Green Schools Challenge.

The environmental nonprofit Dream in Green runs the program. It provides teachers in Miami-Dade and Broward counties with a free curriculum and ideas for hands-on activities about climate change and sustainability.

Coolen’s students learn about sea-level rise by letting ice melt into a kiddie pool. And they create miniature beaches on baking sheets to model erosion.

Participating schools also develop their own environmental projects. Some reduce their energy use. At Oliver Hoover, students led a campaign for recycling and reducing the use of plastic.

“Those are habits that hopefully starting now will be implemented for future generations,” Coolen says.

So the program empowers young people with knowledge they can use to help protect the Earth.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media