Chesterfield Academy Visits City Manager’s Office of Resilience
Last month, the City Manager’s Office of Resilience and the Department of Public Works welcomed some of Norfolk’s youngest and brightest water stewards. Twelve Chesterfield Academy Cheetahs, accompanied by parents and Elizabeth River Project education staff, filed into the Resilience Office eager to learn about what the city is doing to build the coastal community of the future.
The students are no strangers to talking and learning about sea-level rise and flooding in their communities. They are Climate Change Leaders, a student-run committee created by the Elizabeth River Project, which is also creating a Youth Resiliency Plan for sea-level rise in Norfolk. The plan will include strategies for how Norfolk youth can get involved through education.
During their visit, the students used a map of Chesterfield Heights, which allowed them to see their neighborhood from a new perspective, to identify their home and school. They also learned how much stormwater runoff is created by their school during different rain events: half an inch of rain fills 339 bathtubs of runoff; two inches fills 1,358 bathtubs; and three inches fills 2,037 bathtubs. These numbers were calculated with the city’s runoff calculator app, Retain Your Rain.
Furthermore, the students had an opportunity to learn about Norfolk’s resilience goals and how citizens play a critical role in achieving these goals. One of the initiatives presented to the students was Retain Your Rain, a collaborative, community-based initiative to manage stormwater through parcel-level green infrastructure projects like rain barrels and rain gardens.
In the last part of the visit, the students gave their input about stormwater management to the city by answering two important questions: What does too much water keep you from doing? And, how can we store/contain some of this water? On giant pieces of paper, the students wrote that flooding keeps them from playing outside and from getting to school and the grocery store. They also said that it destroys animals’ homes. Then they got really creative and brainstormed solutions like adding more storm drains to streets that flood easily, putting large rain barrels outside of houses and schools, and planting trees and gardens. We can tell that these students will be a huge help in living with water in the 21st century!
We enjoyed hosting the Climate Change Leaders from Chesterfield Academy and look forward to seeing their Youth Resiliency Plan. Their work is testament that resilience planning is happening at all levels in Norfolk!