For seven weeks this summer, nine high school students from the Chicago side of the Calumet Region participated in the Ford Environmental Leadership Internship run by The Field Museum. These interns worked to create and implement an action project that addressed a pressing climate change issue they saw in their community – citywide water management given the predicted increase in floods and droughts in the Chicago region. When they learned that flooding in the city results in combined sewer overflows into our lakes and rivers, they decided to focus on reducing water consumption and encouraging green storm water infrastructure tools like rain barrels, rain & native gardens, permeable pavement and storm water bump outs.
Through an inventory of environmental issues in their community and subsequent research, the interns learned about climate impacts and solutions, environmental justice and storm water issues through field trips, museum exhibits, videos, and presentations by community organizations and scientists. Interns decided that the best way to address the issue of storm water management in the age of climate change was to create educational tools. They created a diorama of a water efficient house to show choices people can make to conserve water, and an informational flier to go with it (download attachments below). The diorama will be on display at the William Powers State Recreation Area starting fall 2013. Interns also created a short educational video titled GOT WATER? Do your part, be water smart! on the importance of conserving water.
The interns took action in their communities by visiting local libraries, community centers and a farmers market to display their diorama and flier and educate the public. They showcased their work during two final presentations; one at Calumet Park on August 13, 2013 and the other at the Field Museum on August 14, 2013. For more information or questions please contact Alison Paul at [email protected].