Empowering Communities to Tackle Climate Hazards

Student Competition Profile: The Battelle Climate Challenge

Student Competition Profile: The Battelle Climate Challenge

Robust Adaptive Network (RAN) robots were among the entries in the Battelle Climate challenge. Image courtesy of Battelle.

The Battelle Climate Challenge invites 9th to 12th grade students in the U.S. to research past and future impacts of climate-related hazards in the community, including drought, wildfire, flooding and extreme heat, and then develop a proposed action to help build a more resilient community. In a recent challenge, there were nearly 200 applicants.

Each entry includes a written explanation of the proposed climate action and a poster that supports the action. The climate action should explain at least one way the community can prevent, withstand, respond to or recover from a climate-related event.

The grand prize winner is to present their poster at the Innovations in Climate Resilience Conference in Columbus, OH, and will receive a $5,000 STEM grant for their school, nonprofit, library or organization.

Students were encouraged to use these five steps to resilience to guide their entry development process:

  • Understand Exposure and Climate Hazards: What is the normal climate for the community? What is changing or likely to change in the local climate?
  • Assess Vulnerability and Risk: What aspects of the community (e.g., roads, parks, schools, businesses) does the climate hazard effect?
  • Investigate Options: Brainstorm potential actions to help build a more resilient community. The climate action could be a technology solution, a change of behavior, a school or community program, a response plan or more.
  • Prioritize and Plan: Develop a plan to implement the proposed action.
  • Take Action: This student challenge is asking for proposed climate actions. Actual implementation of the proposed climate action will not be judged; however, students are encouraged to take steps in the community to make the climate action happen.

Katy Delaney is the director of media relations for Battelle, and T.R. Massey is a senior media specialist for Battelle. Both provided input into this Q&A for Battelle. We spoke to them to understand how the competition works.

Digital Engineering: Can you tell us about some of the designs that are part of the event and how they came to be? Can you provide some examples of what the event has produced or what you expect it to produce?

Battelle: Yes, you can see the entire gallery of entries here.

DE: Does Battelle have a particular stance on adopting an innovation that is linked to the program? What drove them to sponsor the event and coordinate it?

Battelle: Yes. Battelle is focused on innovations in climate resilience. To take bold leaps and action to address changes in our climate, a wide variety of ideas are necessary. With that in mind, the inaugural Battelle Climate Challenge is now asking U.S. high school students to share their ideas for mitigating the effects of human-made climate change. Battelle seeks to help students build the same critical thinking skills that Battelle scientists rely on every day and this challenge bridges Battelle’s climate expertise with their commitment to expanding quality science, technology, education and mathematics (STEM) educational opportunities for all students.

DE: Anything else you’d like to tell us about the event that the above questions haven’t given you the opportunity to express?

Battelle: Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, OH, since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries.

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About the Author

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Jim Romeo

Jim Romeo is a freelance writer based in Chesapeake, VA. Send e-mail about this article to [email protected].

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