“We hope this will increase public engagement in climate resilience efforts in Tampa Bay.”
TAMPA, FL – The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Gulf Research Program has awarded the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf of Mexico Restoration Program an Innovative Communities Engagement Methods grant for $300,000. NWF will use the funds to develop a community dialogue around the risks of climate change and ways to increase resilience in the Tampa Bay area.
“We are looking at yet another above-average hurricane season and Tampa Bay’s climate risks increase every year. We are already seeing a rise in sea levels, an increase in flooding, and warmer waters that fuel red tide outbreaks,” said Amanda Moore, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Program. “We are not alone in this, so we are pleased this grant will allow us to facilitate a dialogue with community leaders from across the Gulf Coast. We hope this will increase public engagement in climate resilience efforts in Tampa Bay.”
The National Wildlife Federation has helped communities across the Gulf create plans and secure funding for resilience efforts, but this is the first project the organization has launched in Tampa Bay to communicate climate change impacts. Specifically, the grant will study how exposure to personal stories from other Gulf Coast residents facing similar climate change impacts affects the level of understanding on risk and vulnerability in Tampa Bay’s communities.
“Storytelling and personal accounts provide a powerful avenue for engaging communities on the many ways climate change affects their daily lives,” said Charlene Milliken, senior program manager for the Gulf Research Program’s Gulf Health and Resilience Board. “We’re excited to support the National Wildlife Federation on this innovative project and look forward to seeing it build engagement and understanding within and across communities.”
In 2013, the World Bank named Tampa Bay one of the ten coastal areas at most at risk of flooding in the world, but resilience planning in the region has lagged -- likely because the region has not been hit with a major hurricane in a century.
Project participants will learn about resilience strategies and projects that are being implemented elsewhere on the Gulf Coast, as well as here in Tampa Bay. The results will inform how hearing personal climate change experiences from other communities impacts awareness about Tampa Bay’s vulnerability to climate change and potential solutions.
“I’m so pleased to be able to bring our community partnerships and climate adaptation experiences from other Gulf states home to Tampa Bay,” Moore said. “This is personal for me, I want my children to be able to enjoy living here the way I do when they are grown.”
If you are interested in participating in this project, please reach out to Melissa Hill, HillM@nwf.org.
Research reported in this press release was supported by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine under award number 200013200.
The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Gulf Research Program or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
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