Students share solutions to help South MS cities recover from hurricanes

Students share solutions to help South MS cities recover from hurricanes

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Some South Mississippi students are tackling problems that surfaced during and after Hurricane Katrina. On Thursday, they shared their solutions to help the Coast brace for future storms.

It was one of many problems that plagued communities after Hurricane Katrina, how to bring in displaced employees in the aftermath of a disaster to keep businesses open. It was up to a group of students to figure out the answers.

"We would allow employees to work remotely," one student suggested.

"Staffing and Restocking Supplies" was one of 40-projects put together by 80-Marine Biology students from Pascagoula High and Gautier High Schools. Each team was assigned a problem that many cities had to deal with after the storm. Their judges were mayors, city planners, and FEMA liaisons. From beach erosion and saltwater contamination to flood warning systems, each team had to come up with innovative solutions.

"It was just cool to see how everybody else came together in past tragedies and see how we could implement it in our community," said Gautier High Junior Avery Elbin.

Educators with the Gulf Coast Research Lab also visited the schools to teach lessons on climate change, wetlands, and how rising sea levels impact the community.

"I'm impressed! I mean, I've worked with them all through the semester on different lessons that we gave them, but also working with the team projects and these were not easy problems that we gave them to work with," said GCRL Project Director Dr. Jessie Kastler.

"It was a lot of fun to work with them and to see them come out so confident in the end is really gratifying, because obviously, we want them to be able to take care of problems that the city might have in the future," Kastler added.

"I think it gives us an insight on nature and what its effects can be, but also, how we can help prevent loss of land and lives," said Pascagoula High Sophomore Joshua Paulino.

The "Watershed Coastal Resilience Project" was funded by a $100,000 NOAA grant. It will be offered again at both schools during the spring semester.

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