National Wildlife Federation’s Resilient Schools Consortium Program Presented with FEMA Award

RALEIGH – The National Wildlife Federation’s Resilient Schools Consortium (RiSC) program in New York City was named the winner of FEMA’s Cooperative Technical Partners (CTP) Recognition Program Award for “outstanding efforts to increase risk awareness [and] to help advance equity and inclusion.” 

“Centering the voices of community partners and local resident advisors is central to the RiSC program’s mission and has led to the creation of a program curriculum that is focused on issues facing the Coney Island community, specifically climate impacts, socio-economic conditions, development pressures, and inadequate resiliency plans,” said Emily Fano, senior program manager for RiSC. 

The RiSC program has been embedded in Coney Island, Brooklyn since 2020. Coney Island is a frontline coastal community that was devastated during Hurricane Sandy and remains vulnerable to sea level rise, coastal erosion, and flooding. This year, as part of the RiSC program, in partnership with NYC Parks, participating students and community members planted over 15,000 American beach grass culms to stabilize dunes along the shoreline, and to protect nearby homes from coastal flooding and erosion. Students planted 10,000 culms the prior year.

“Residents want solutions such as better coastal protections and equitable resource allocation for resiliency projects to face problems facing our communities including worsening flooding and impacts from extreme weather events. We are honored to be recognized for our work and will continue working in Coney Island and across the city to expand the program to other frontline communities,” says Fano. 

The Resilient Schools Consortium (RiSC) program is a collaboration between the National Wildlife Federation, the Coney Island Beautification Project, the American Littoral Society, New York Sea Grant, advisors at the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, Coney Island residents and seven NYC Department of Education middle and high schools. New Jersey Audubon is adapting the program in three schools in New Jersey, as part of NWF’s FEMA-funded program in Region 2. The RiSC program has also been adapted in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Texas and will soon be adapted in Puerto Rico with local partners at Organización Pro Ambiente Sustentable thanks to an EJ4Climate grant from the Canadian Commission for Environmental Cooperation.


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