Commentary

Storm Surge’s educational support continues

Presentations for the Youth on Nearby Ecosystems 

Peter Phippen
Allies and Partners

Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship and addressing the impact of COVID-19. The series is coordinated by ACES, the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.



Storm Surge

Storm Surge, a community volunteer group working on local resilience to climate change impacts, has just released three narrated multimedia presentations for middle and high school students.

The presentations and adapting to change

These presentations were created with input from Newburyport schools and include a 10th-grade level introduction to climate change and a two-part program for seventh-grade students on the Great Marsh. Each presentation provides opportunity for class discussion and comes with supplemental material for teachers.

Storm Surge received a grant from New England Biolabs in late 2019 to create educational presentations for Newburyport schools about local climate change impacts.

The presentations were to address the causes of climate change and its impacts on coastal communities. When COVID-19 struck last March, closing schools and making in-person meetings impossible, Storm Surge needed to rethink how to present the information to Newburyport students.

Rather than the in-school presentations originally envisioned in the grant proposal, narrated multimedia presentations were created that could be used by teachers working with students in the classroom or remotely.

As a result, these presentations can be shown to smaller groups of students and can be shared with other school districts, homeschoolers and curious adults.

How it is seen in the classroom and at home

The presentations address climate change issues at the local level. The first, for high school students, presents the causes of climate change due to rising greenhouse gases and rising sea levels and investigates Newburyport's historical role in the burning of fossil fuel. It discusses why climate change is still an issue for political debate.

The others for seventh-graders form a two-part series on the Great Marsh, the green infrastructure that buffers our communities against storm surge and sea level rise.

Together, they present the history of the Great Marsh and the challenges it is facing now, raising and responding to questions about why we should all care about the Great Marsh and what can be done to protect it.

A slide for the middle school presentation about the Great Marsh and its carbon trapping power.

Storm Surge is looking forward to developing another presentation on Newburyport coastal geology for high school and middle school students in 2021 thanks to an additional grant from New England Biolabs.

For more information about Storm Surge visits https://storm-surge.org

To view these and other Storm Surge educational resources, click here: https://storm-surge.org/education-resources/

This column was coordinated by ACES YOUTH CORPS member, Caleb Bradshaw. To share any comments or questions, please send an email to acesnewburyport@gmail.com. To learn more about ACES, please view our WEBSITE –  https://www.aces-alliance.org

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about the author
Sarah Tappan

Sarah Tappan is a Newburyport resident and volunteer in the Storm Surge organization. Sarah retired in 2015 after a long career as a program manager in the Computer industry. She and her husband moved to Newburyport in 2018 and have been enjoying being part of this vibrant community. She can be reached at stormsurge9@gmail.com. 


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