CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 5 is teaming up with Earth Force, the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) Foundation and the Environmental Education Association of Illinois (EEAI) to create the RISE Challenge Illinois project. The project teaches children in fifth through 10th grades about how they can help their communities become more resilient to natural disasters through mitigation.

Through this project-based curriculum, students will learn how to be an active voice in their communities and implement projects that will protect their cities and towns from the impacts of natural hazards. RISE Challenge Illinois, which includes inquiry-based learning, an end-of-year competition and summit, engages students in exploring their local communities to identify real-world environmental issues and develop solutions and action plans for making their communities more resilient. Groups with the top proposals will present to a panel of expert judges at a virtual summit in Spring 2021 for the chance to win prize money.

“Building a nationwide culture of preparedness is a FEMA priority,” said Kevin M. Sligh, acting regional administrator for FEMA Region 5.  “The innovation young people bring to making our communities stronger will be an important part of our overall readiness for future disasters.”

FEMA Region 5 and the ASFPM Foundation will also provide implementation funds and summit prize money enabling students to see their environmental solution ideas come to fruition.

Educators and students can participate in the project. Educators received curriculum training in September, but students across Illinois can still get involved or learn more by visiting the EEAI website at https://www.eeai.net/rise-challenge-illinois.html

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