The impacts of sea level rise will become greater over time, affecting today’s youth the most. The Matanzas project Steering Committee members recognized the importance of engaging youth in planning for sea level rise, and the project team welcomed the opportunity.
GTM Research Reserve’s coastal training specialist Tina Gordon coordinated with educators in the Matanzas area to offer sea level rise workshops to about 120 high school students and 30 community college students. The participants were six marine science classes at Matanzas High School in Palm Coast, and two environmental science classes at St. Johns River State College’s campus in St. Augustine.
The workshop format was similar to that involving adult residents and professionals. As with the adult workshops, the youth provided ideas for sea level rise planning through a visioning exercise, and they worked in small groups during the role-play game to develop sea level rise adaptation plans. Despite participating in the same workshop activities, youth participants often reacted differently than adults. For example, the high school students approached sea level rise planning from personal rather than professional perspectives. The students showed a strong attachment to place, and they often favored strategies to fortify the area to make it livable despite sea level rise. Alternatively, participants in the adult workshops more frequently considered planned relocation as a viable adaptation strategy.
The project team thanks Mr. Chris Farrell at St. Johns River State College and Mr. Chris Feist at Matanzas High School for arranging the workshops for their students.
A workshop for middle school level kids will be held on June 26, 2013 as part of a summer camp at St. Johns Technical High School in St. Augustine.