May 1, 2019
The researchers asked the kids to think about how sea level rise will impact individuals and communities. Sea level rise combined with storms will cause significant challenges for people living on the coast as well as for the coastal built environment, infrastructure, and fish and wildlife.
Bukvic and Karpanty concluded with a discussion on possible solutions to combat sea level rise. “There are ways in which we can adapt and help Mother Nature; we can plant marshes that can absorb and buffer the water from communities. Oyster castles are cement structures that can be added along the shoreline that will be colonized by oysters, and they can buffer the mainland against the rising seas and storms,” said Karpanty.
For some communities, it may be necessary to move to higher and safer ground. Changes can also be made to infrastructure to elevate houses and add flood vents.
“In Europe, communities are designing their open spaces to absorb more water, and there are also these great futuristic ideas like designing floating cities,” said Bukvic.
Bukvic and her son then presented a demonstration showing students how to put together an emergency preparedness kit for hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters, and Karpanty and Bukvic concluded with a question and answer session.
Activities in the afternoon consisted of hands-on STEM activities to reinforce what the kids had learned from Bukvic and Karpanty’s interactive discussion.
Coastal@VT is composed of 36 junior and senior faculty participants from eight different colleges and various scientific disciplines at Virginia Tech led by Robert Weiss, an associate professor of geosciences, and Anamaria Bukvic. Coastal@VT’s mission is to foster coastal resilience and prosperity through transdisciplinary education and engagement. Coastal@VT is one of the concept areas of the Global Systems Science Destination Area that is focused on understanding and finding solutions to critical problems associated with human activity and environmental change that, together, affects disease states, water quality, and food production.
Coastal@VT faculty not only conduct collaborative and interdisciplinary research, but also place an emphasis on inclusiveness and diversity by engaging graduate and undergraduate students in research activities. They are also active in numerous outreach and service initiatives like the session with Kids’ Tech University.
Registration for the 2020 Kids’ Tech University program will open in October 2019.