WHO WE ARE
Dr. Merrie Koester is facilitating this educative resilience building effort on behalf of the University of South Carolina Center for Science Education, where she works as a science literacy specialist and STEAM teacher educator/researcher.
The KTFR project is devoted to building Practice-Embedded Educational Research (PEER) partnerships between science and arts educators and civic leaders to effect positive change in historically underserved schools and communities - especially those that are highly vulnerable to extreme weather hazards like flooding. To date, leaders from over 16 organizations, including National Weather Service meteorologists, the Charleston Resilience Network, and four different City government offices, have served as mentors and knowledge generators in the emerging project: Empowering Youth as Flood Resilient Citizen Scientists: Invest, Connect, Act, Reach out, & Empower (I. C.A.R.E.). Both the College of Charleston and the Citadel have served as higher education partners in this collective impact effort.
WHAT WE DO
We ASK: What opportunities for positioning youth as resources of STEM and preparedness knowledge can be developed in partnership with multiple stakeholders around a shared vision of mitigating hazard risks due to extreme weather events - especially flood hazard risks?
Employing a PLACE & PROBLEM-BASED (PBL) approach, a community PEER TEAM is organized. To date, higher education researchers, teachers, principals, emergency management specialists, civic leaders, and community mentors afford students opportunities to gather their own data about why their neighborhood is flooding (or at risk of other extreme weather hazards) and draw their own inferences as citizen scientists.
We BEGIN with NOTICING what is happening in the VULNERABLE PLACE and DOCUMENTING our findings.
We ANALYZE: How is this flooding (or potential hazard) affecting ME and my family? We ask what our families may already know about this problem and what their existing plans to mitigate harm to us may be.
We SEE that we need STEM knowledge to truly understand what’s behind all this flooding (or other hazard) and and why it’s getting worse.
We EXPECT that we’ll have to work hard.
We CONNECT with community STEM MENTORS like the National Weather Service, SC Sea Grant Consortium and the Charleston Resilience Network, who provide us with scientifically vetted information and data. We depend on coalitions of emergency management specialists and other civic leaders to help guide the messaging that is embedded in the emerging curriculum.
We work with PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS, who help us develop the CREATIVE COMPETENCIES we need to MAKE and then publicly share a product that can be used to effectively communicate what we have learned here.
KTFR has been recognized as a Weather Ready Nation Ambassador program.
WE KNOW that our work matters!