National Wildlife Federation’s Resilient Schools Consortium Program Presented with FEMA Award
Jamaica Bay / NYC - Press Release

RiSC students at Coney Island Creek Park receiving planting instructions from NYC Parks staff in April 2022. Learn more via the NWF blog. Credit: Emily Fano


Katie Graziano, NYSG Coastal Resilience Extension Specialist, E:, P: (718) 951-5415

May 12, 2023, Brooklyn, NY - The National Wildlife Federation’s Resilient Schools Consortium (RiSC) program in New York City was named the winner of FEMA’s Cooperative Technical Partners (CTP) Recognition Program Award for “outstanding efforts to increase risk awareness [and] to help advance equity and inclusion.” 

“Centering the voices of community partners and local resident advisors is central to the RiSC program’s mission and has led to the creation of a program curriculum that is focused on issues facing the Coney Island community, specifically climate impacts, socio-economic conditions, development pressures, and inadequate resiliency plans,” said Emily Fano, senior program manager for RiSC. 

The RiSC program has been embedded in Coney Island, Brooklyn since 2020. Coney Island is a frontline coastal community that was devastated during Hurricane Sandy and remains vulnerable to sea level rise, coastal erosion, and flooding. This year, as part of the RiSC program, participating students and community members planted over 15,000 American beach grass culms to stabilize dunes along the shoreline, and to protect nearby homes from coastal flooding and erosion. Students planted 10,000 culms the prior year.

“Residents want solutions such as better coastal protections and equitable resource allocation for resiliency projects to face problems facing our communities including worsening flooding and impacts from extreme weather events. We are honored to be recognized for our work and will continue working in Coney Island and across the city to expand the program to other frontline communities,” says Fano. 

“Resilient Schools Consortium” (RiSC) was launched in 2016 to empower students to understand and address climate impacts in their New York City neighborhoods. In support of the project, New York Sea Grant (NYSG) helped design and implement a locally-specific climate curriculum in collaboration with teachers and partner organizations. In 2022, NYSG applied its coastal resiliency expertise to help update the RiSC curriculum with the best available climate science, and designed and implemented hands-on, field-based opportunities for student learning in partnership with the Coney Island Beautification Project. For more, see the recent NYSG impact statement "Adapted Curriculum Helps Students in NYC Explore Sea Level Rise Past and Future".

The RiSC program is a collaboration between the National Wildlife Federation, the Coney Island Beautification Project, the American Littoral Society, New York Sea Grant, advisors at the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, Coney Island residents and seven NYC Department of Education middle and high schools. New Jersey Audubon is adapting the program in three schools in New Jersey, as part of NWF’s FEMA-funded program in Region 2. The RiSC program has also been adapted in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Texas and will soon be adapted in Puerto Rico with local partners at Organización Pro Ambiente Sustentable thanks to an EJ4Climate grant from the Canadian Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

In May 2023 the National Wildlife Federation was recognized by FEMA’s Cooperative Technical Partners for its Resilient Schools Consortium.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly.

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