RI Student Research and Class Projects
Hazard Mitigation Planning
Students in Hazard Mitigation Planning, a course at Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment, explore mitigation planning across the United States. As part of their final project, groups create webpages describing the Disaster Mitigation Act 2000 hazard mitigation planning process, how it is implemented in various states or counties, and offering a critique of those counties and states' plans.
For more information, please visit the Natural Hazards Planning (ENVS 372) website.
Disaster Risk Reduction Planning Studio
In 2014, studentsin Disaster Risk Reduction Planning studio, a course taught at Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment, partnered with Skagit County Emergency Management to develop a public outreach strategy for elderly and Spanish-speaking residents. The students created a website to help residents personally understand their hazard exposure and what they could do to reduce their vulnerability to floods, earthquakes, winter storms and other hazards.
They also designed two brochures targeting these groups. Skagit Emergency Management has printed and will distribute these brochures throughout the county.
In 2010, students explored strategies for improving disaster preparedness and community-based disaster recovery in Haiti. The following are short descriptions and links to their final projects:
Rural Community-Based Risk Management: Strengthening Haiti’s Resilience
Travis Mabee, Hope Rietzen, and Sam Tilley produced an informational booklet that can decrease Haiti’s future risk to natural hazards. For their course project, this group created a booklet with strategies for rural risk mapping and risk management. This booklet, entitled "Rural Community-Based Risk Management: Strengthening Haiti’s Resilience," may be useful in work dedicated to sustainable development and building resilience in communities to combat vulnerability.
This project seeks to provide simple ways to decrease vulnerability to natural hazards and increase resilience by promoting community mobilization and participation, identifying early indicators of natural hazards, and providing simple instructions for hazard monitoring systems. This group created an informational booklet that is divided into two sections. The informational booklet is intended to be distributed by local NGOs who are working with rural communities.
Agricultural and Ecological Recovery in Haiti
Amanda Edwards, Rosalie Germond, and Sheena Sokolowski intended to conduct a research project that will be beneficial to Haitians livelihoods and aid in the recovery efforts occurring as a result of the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Focusing on agricultural and ecological recovery in Haiti, this group conducted research on different plants suitable for growth in Haiti. The result of their research is a table highlighting aspects of cultivation and uses, as well as a detailed technical document describing each plant.
The plant table was developed to provide a visual document that NGOs could quickly reference while working in Haiti and use as an informational guide. Each plant in the table was chosen primarily for its resilience to the current soil and climate conditions in Haiti and its ability to provide food and building materials. Additionally, some of the plants can also be used as charcoal, which is a necessity to most Haitians. These crops are intended to provide a small farmer a more suitable range of crops for an income and food source.
Disaster Preparedness Adult Education
Mallory Abston, Cameron McDonald, Jeff Underwood, and Anthony Vendetti’s final deliverable was usable disaster preparedness presentations for the Haitian community. Specifically, this project focused on creating adult education presentations on hazard awareness to improve individual and community resilience and to reduce vulnerability. This group’s intention was centered on making a tangible difference in the lives of Haitian people.
The presentations were created in PowerPoint and are meant to be very visual with substantial speaker notes to guide the presenter. The content of the presentations could also be taught using just the speaker notes and a chalkboard. The presentations are designed to take about an hour and a half each. Each presentation includes activities and videos, and encourages discussion. They are designed to facilitate an active learning process, where the students are involved in their learning.
Promoting Preparedness against Hazard Events through Primary Education in Haiti
Craig Duncan and Megan Frazier focused on teaching disaster prevention and emergency preparedness in primary schools. They created a manual of classroom activities focused on the areas of preparedness, response, and mitigation with regards to three of Haiti’s major hazard events: hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires.
To increase the success of implementation in Haitian classrooms, this group adapted pre-existing lessons developed in other countries as well as devised some of our own creations. All of their activities are adapted for a context of minimal classroom resources and potentially poor literacy rates among students. This manual is organized into four sections: hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and one culminating section of activities that spans across all hazards. This final section includes first aid, preparedness plans and a trivia game that reviews key learning points from all previous activities.
Haitian Housing Relief: The Sustainable Design Studio also worked on developing design solutions for temporary and transitional housing and settlement plans following the Haitian earthquake.