GHS students take initiative on climate change research in Gloucester


With the pattern of recent climate change events, future floods and further destruction are inevitable. Knowing this, Gloucester High School science teacher Rachel Rex is conducting a project to inform the community on how to become more prepared.

Rex and partner Liz Duff are working on the “Seeking Relief from Sea Level Rise : A Student Mapping and Leadership Initiative¨ project with her students in her Ecology and Environmental Issues classes.

Rex and Duff have been doing this project for the last two years, but due to the recent floods the research they find this year is very important. The Mass Audubon Society, the Gloucester Education Foundation, and the Bruce J Anderson Foundation have each given a generous grant to support the project. Along with the grant, staff members at the Mass Audubon Society have also helped students with the project.

With the money given through the grants, various tools and supplies can be purchased and used to investigate different areas throughout Gloucester to see how vulnerable they are to flooding due to sea level rise or storm surge events. Using Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maps, Google Earth, and several other sites, the students will be able to look at certain locations and see how high the water would flood if the sea level were to rise by a couple of feet.

Using this knowledge, the students would be able to predict certain effects caused by the floodings, forecasting which businesses would be damaged and which parts of Gloucester could be isolated.

“In the early January storm, many students’ families lost cars due to the storm, and there was a lot of damage to their homes and Newell Stadium,” said Rex. “In this time of global climate change it is quite likely that sea levels will rise, storms will become more severe, and the effects will be more harsh.”

The research found by the students will be released to the public when they are finished with the project. They will show the findings to the community through multimedia posters and a presentation that is scheduled to take place on March 23rd. This presentation will be from 9:30-10:16 AM in the Gloucester High School Auditorium. Afterwards, there will be time for discussion about the project in the cafeteria from 10:20 to 11:00 AM. Members of the community are encouraged to come to the presentation.

A major focus of the project is to educate people so that they can think and act globally to do what they can to help the environment. To limit climate change, people need to reduce their carbon footprint. One way this can be done is by supporting local businesses instead of purchasing items that have been produced and delivered using fossil fuels.

“Wouldn’t it be great for Gloucester to be proactive instead of reactive?,” concluded Rex.


If you go to the presentation:

When: March 23rd from 9:30-10:16 AM

Where: Gloucester High School Auditorium.

Additional info:

After presentation discussion

When: 10:20 to 11:00 AM.

Where: GHS cafeteria