Environmental Program at Lake Worth High

Pilot Program at Lake Worth High Helps Students Learn About the Effects of Climate on the Community
Posted on 07/06/2021
Students sitting at their desks in a classroom

Students at Lake Worth Community High School now have the opportunity to better understand climate change, coastal flooding, winds, and other effects climate can have on their community, thanks to a pilot program brought to the school by EcoRise and AT&T.

EcoRise is a national sustainability education nonprofit organization. By establishing this program, it hopes to inspire students to make a positive change toward sustainability, climate preparedness, and environmental justice.

“With the support of AT&T, EcoRise is able to design classroom materials that bring this hyper-local data to life, giving students the tools to explore and develop solutions for climate resilience in their own communities,” said Gina LaMotte, EcoRise Founder, President, and Chief Innovation Officer. “We are excited to continue improving our data and visualization tools in order to provide ways for students to make a tangible impact on a local level.”

Students and teachers say that the program helped them do just that. One student is glad she can share valuable information with family and friends, and learn why it is important to be aware of environmental issues.

“At first it was really hard to understand [the effects of climate change], but once we were able to learn about the effects on our specific area, that made it more fun and understandable,” said Lake Worth High School ninth grader Chelsea Louis.

Caleb Rice, a science teacher at the school who used the program in his classes, says that the GIS map allowed the class to use graphic overlays to understand social vulnerability, census data, and other factors to better explain climate resilience.

This also opened up the conversation of gentrification and how to connect the student’s understanding at a much higher level than a textbook could offer. His students were then able to analyze environmental effects on Palm Beach County over the next 50 years.

“The whole goal is to create a more climate-resilient awareness for the student body, and the students got really in it,” Rice said about the class that was integrated into the physical science classes.

“At first our knowledge on climate change was superficial, but the more we learned about where we live, how it could affect my family and how it can affect us in the future, we really started to understand and grasp the situation, said Michael Torres a ninth grade student.

Torres says he hopes that the lessons can be further integrated into the curriculum so that other students can learn and take action.

The feedback from the teacher and students will help EcoRise continue to develop its lessons, and the school is planning on implementing the program further in its Advanced International Cambridge Examinations (AICE) Environmental Science classes and high-level biology classes.

Ultimately, students hope that they can take the information they have learned to their community leaders to see what can be done to increase sustainability in their city.

The School District of Palm Beach County