As the climate warms, communities in Colorado face more severe wildfires, droughts, and floods. And the risks will increase as today’s young people grow into adulthood.
“So educating students about these hazards, and really empowering them as community members that can take action to make their community more resilient to these hazards, is where we focus,” says Katya Schloesser, an education and outreach associate at CIRES, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.
Her team developed a middle- and high-school curriculum that’s being used in about 30 schools in rural Colorado.
Teachers choose to focus on fires, floods, or droughts.
“And students first learn about the causes, the impacts, and the likelihood, how that hazard might be changing with climate change … and what history that hazard has within their community,” Schloesser says.
Students participate in a role-playing game that helps them think through what communities need to do to respond in a crisis.
And to share what they’ve learned, some classes have organized wildfire awareness expos and distributed emergency evacuation kits in their towns.
So young people are learning about the risks they’re inheriting and helping their communities prepare.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media