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From 2020-2023, the RiSC 3.0 program is being implemented in Coney Island, Brooklyn in partnership with 9 NYC public schools, Wildwood High School in New Jersey, curriculum designers Lynn Shon and Andrew Zimmermann, and community partners: Coney Island Beautification Project, American Littoral Society, New York Sea Grant, the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, and Coney Island residents and advisors. An adapted RiSC curriculum is educating students about Coney Island’s ecological and social history, including racist housing policies which continue to expose local residents to inequitable climate risks. Through oral history interviews, podcast projects and community surveys, students are striving to amplify Coney Islanders' lived experiences, increase public awareness of local climate impacts, and spark public conversations about climate solutions. In the spring of 2022, students from 9 schools planted 10,000 beach grass culms in Coney Island Creek Park, to stabilize the dunes along the shoreline and help protect nearby homes from coastal flooding.


In 2019-20, five school-based RiSC 2.0 teams focused their learning on coastal hazards, extreme heat, climate justice, and the role of nature-based solutions in mitigating climate impacts. They took boat trips with BioBoat on (American Princess's whale-watching vessel) to learn about NYC's coastal geography and ecology. They took action against extreme heat (made worse by climate change) by planting trees on their school campuses with Trees New York, and took public speaking training with Kid Power Academy to improve their climate communication skills. In mid-March 2020, COVID-19 pre-empted boat trips to Jamaica Bay marshes and planned dune restoration activities with the American Littoral Society. But the RiSC project team and partners were adaptive and responsive and pivoted to live webinars and remote learning. Huffman Studio, Inc. created a RiSC documentary, "It's Our Future," that was screened at 10 film festivals in 2021 and can be viewed at

Over two years (2017-2019) and using the RiSC curriculum, the National Wildlife Federation's Eco‐Schools 7‐Step framework, and seed funding, six school-based RiSC teams put their knowledge to use by designing, and executing small‐scale school‐based resiliency projects to mitigate climate hazards such as extreme rain events.

The RiSC student teams also examined current school-based emergency shelter and/or evacuation protocols and - based on their research and the results of their RiSC Vulnerability Assessments - developed resiliency recommendations for the NYC Department of Education. They also recommended ways that this important information could be equitably and widely communicated, and displayed in all schools.

The RiSC curriculum and the work of the RiSC teams are being disseminated locally, nationally, and internationally through partner channels and student-generated social media campaigns. Through partnerships and collaborations, our learning resources and experiences are being adapted and replicated in schools and communities across NYC, the U.S. and the globe that are looking for ways to increase climate literacy in urban youth and engage them in resiliency planning.

RiSC program Team

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Emily Alix Fano, M.A. 

Senior Education Manager

National Wildlife Federation in New York City

Emily Fano is the Principal Investigator for RiSC 2.0 and Senior Project Manager of the program. In this role she leads on program design and management, partnerships and fundraising, provides input on curriculum, and co-designs professional learning workshops and special events. She also convenes the Climate and Resilience Education Task Force in partnership with WE ACT for Environmental Justice. The Task Force is comprised of educators, students, NGOs, and policymakers working to expand access to interdisciplinary, justice-centered climate and resilience education in New York.


Heather Sioux, B.S. 

RiSC Program Manager

Heather Sioux is the Program Manager for RiSC 1.0 and 2.0 working with the National Wildlife Federation. In this role she supports, oversees and documents the implementation of RiSC projects and activities, liaises with RiSC teachers, administrators and students, and helps to plan and oversee programming, teacher workshops and special events. She also designed and developed the RiSC Vulnerability Assessment - a key resource in the RiSC curriculum.


Brett F. Branco, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences,

Brooklyn College

Brett Branco is a marine scientist and was the Principal Investigator for the RiSC 1.0 project. As the Executive Director of the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay (SRIJB) (as of July 2019), and Co-Chair of the SRIJB's Research Council, Brett provides science and resilience expertise to the RiSC project team and helps connect the project to resilience planning action in New York City.

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Jennifer D. Adams, Ph.D.

RiSC 1.0 Assessment Team

U. of Calgary

Prior to joining the University of Calgary in 2017, Dr. Adams was an associate professor of science education at Brooklyn College, CUNY. Dr. Adams' research has focused on urban place-based environmental education and informal science learning. 


Alexandra Gillis, M.S.

RiSC 1.0 Assessment Team

Brooklyn College

Alexandra focuses her graduate studies on land use in NYC and how it affects the urban mosquito population. She prioritizes subjects with a high chance of government action in response to her research, taking advantage of modern tools such as ArcGIS. 


Helen Cheng, M.S.

Coastal Resilience Extension Specialist

New York Sea Grant

Helen Cheng was a Coastal Resilience Extension Specialist at the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay and played an active role in planning the annual RiSC 1.0 Summits.


Nordica Holochuck, M.ES

Hudson Estuary Specialist

New York Sea Grant (Retired)

Nordica Holochuck was the New York Sea Grant Hudson Estuary Specialist located in Kingston, NY. Holochuck’s extension program focused on the Hudson River and metro NYC coastal region's marine and estuarine education including habitat stewardship and coastal recreation. Holochuck worked in collaboration with NOAA Environmental Literacy Grant recipients at Queens College. In collaboration with the NYSDEC Holochuck developed a set of place based classroom climate change lessons for use along the Hudson Estuary. She was a consultant for RiSC 1.0.