In August, GMRI will launch an educational program for the general public that addresses sea level rise in coastal Maine communities. Funded by NOAA, this program seeks to lift communities’ ability and motivation to use data in addressing key decisions that will have an impact on coastal resiliency. GMRI highlighted the need to address climate impacts in coastal Maine communities in its newly adopted 5-year strategic plan and is excited to be introducing a program that directly addresses this new objective.
The impacts of climate change are becoming increasingly visible in Maine and across the nation and globe. Intense storms, unusual temperatures, and ocean warming are just some of the climate-related stories covered in local news. However, sea level rise is not often at the forefront of these stories, nor are the compounding effects of storm surge and extreme precipitation events. Ensuring the region’s resiliency to sea level rise requires a scientifically informed and engaged public, now and in the future.
GMRI’s sea level rise program has committed to engaging at least 1,000 people from the greater Portland area over the next year in an interactive learning experience that tells a narrative about global and local climate data sets. During this experience, participants will use scientific data and reasoning to explore impacts of sea level rise and weather events on community resources and examine potential resiliency measures. The project goal is for citizens to leave the learning experience with increased motivation and ability to make evidence-informed decisions that create resiliency in the face of sea level rise, increased extreme storm events, and more frequent flooding.
The interactive learning experience uses map based software, which allows participants to focus on personal places such as their homes, work, favorite park, or school and to view how these places might be impacted by sea level rise. The program includes threads that focus on community resources such as transportation, green spaces, or wildlife habitat, as well as historic maps, impacts of coastal storms, and global resiliency options. GMRI’s goal is to create a model that can be adapted and expanded upon in different locations as more communities evolve in their ability and inclination to tackle the challenge of planning for a changing climate and environment.
GMRI will host this 90-minute interactive learning experience in its state-of-the-art learning center starting August 3. They can also bring the program to locations outside of GMRI for communities or organizations that would like to learn more about sea-level rise and its impact on them.