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Designing stormwater solution plans and developing impactful action oriented initiatives

Hyattsville, Maryland

Featured image for the project, Designing stormwater solution plans and developing impactful action oriented initiatives

The premise of this project is to formulate a solution to residential flooding within Hyattsville, Maryland due to the health concerns and property damage associated with flooding. The focus population is the subset of community members most susceptible to the issue. The city of Hyattsville has already identified possible projects to mitigate flooding and cost estimates for each project. Not only, we are seeking a scientist to expand on current findings by creating flooding conscious architecture alterations.  A secondary tier to the project is to provide culturally appropriate education materials in both English and Spanish available to all community members on how to remediate flooding in their localized areas.


About the Community

Hyattsville is a city in Prince George’s County bordering the suburbs of Washington D.C.  with a very diverse population of over 20,000 residents.  City government as well as a large majority of its residents are environmentally conscious.  With many parts of the city located in flood zoned areas flooding is and remains a major concern.  The City has done some flooding studies in the lower Ward 1 and continues to seek ways to remediate flooding through a myriad of avenues including green streets, implementation of a Watershed Implementation Plan, tree plantings and the like.  The City is partnering with Thriving Earth Exchange to further expand these efforts and develop additional solutions to stormwater issues and educate residents on the small things that can be done together to create a large impact on social, cultural , and economic.

Sustainability & Protecting the Environment | Hyattsville, MD – Official Website



The community would like to introduce flooding resolutions in several areas of the city and engage/share it with city residents so that they can gain knowledge and produce results. The end goal is to  reduce flooding/stormwater throughout the city.


About the Project

Hyattsville Maryland is a community of approximately 20,000 residents who are experiencing the effects of climate change, most notably in the frequency of flooding. The city, separated into five wards, sits at 105’ in elevation and averages 41.3” of precipitation yearly. During the wet seasons, residents regularly experience standing water in their streets, backyards, and seepage into their basements. Water-related damage and the concern of possible contaminants in the water have pushed the community to find their own solutions to mitigate flooding.

The priority of this project is to design permeable pavement (also known as “green streets”) around an area known to be more susceptible to flooding. This project will involve Hyattsville residents, the City Manager of Environmental Programs, and the City Project Manager of Public Works. The project will collaborate with an environmental engineer or architect to design the permeable pavement for the residents and/or other alterations to architecture aimed at reducing impermeable hardscape. If external funding is secured, the prescribed architecture alterations will be tested for effectiveness. A secondary tier to the project is to educate residents about the benefits of city design alterations and how to implement individual alterations to homes. These education materials will be provided in both English and Spanish to serve all residents regardless of their preferred language. Once completed, the project will be measured by a community awareness of flooding risks and actual flooding reduction in the pre-selected areas of the city.


Timeline and Milestones



Project Team

Community Leads

Dawn Taft is the Environmental Programs Manager and Arborist with the City of Hyattsville, Maryland. She manages all city green space to include organic sports fields, food forests, bioretention swales, and rain gardens as well as tree maintenance and planting.  Dawn also directs a citizen stewardship program for invasives removal and develops environmental outreach and education events for volunteers and city residents. While serving the cities 2.7 square miles and 14 unique public parks for the past 9 years, it has become apparent that stormwater and flooding are some of their most pressing environmental challenges. As rainstorms increase in volume and intensity, it is imperative that communities begin to address resolution as soon as possible. Dawn is excited to begin a relationship with Thriving Earth Exchange and is looking forward to partnering with community scientists to develop solutions and gather informative data to address their environmental concerns. 

Colin Morrison headshot

Colin Morrison is the Environmental Programs Coordinator for the Department of Public Works for City of Hyattsville. With years of experience in environmentalism, archaeology, and museum-based education, he is well versed in the rigors of field work as well as connecting with other organizations and members of the public to facilitate major projects. With a wide variety of skills from a diverse background, he is highly capable of approaching any given project with a unique insight. He is currently involved in dedicating his time and talents to a variety of green projects including stormwater management, invasive plant removal and tree conservation.

Community Science Fellow

Trista Brophy Headshot

Trista Brophy is a doctoral candidate of Interdisciplinary Ecology with a concentration in urban and regional planning in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Florida. Her research focuses on progressing community resiliencethrough geospatial data and tools and she is particularly interested in the nexus of urban flooding and climate change. Trista is an adjunct instructor at Flagler College, where she teaches undergraduate coursework in Environmental Science and in Science Communication. She is also interning with NASA’s Earth Science Applied Science’s Open Innovation and Community Applications program, where she supports activities that expand NASA’s Earth observation applications. Outside of her career, she is a social Argentine Tango dancer, pastry baker, and avid hiker


Scientist Wanted

STEM Communicator Role (Remote)

We are seeking a STEM communicator familiar with working with diverse communities. This position will create community outreach and education materials about flooding risks, stormwater management, and flood reduction to the community in Hyattsville Maryland. Material include but are not limited to digital flyers, pamphlets, social media posts, etc. Students with digital media/marketing/STEM education experience are welcome to apply. Materials will all need to be translated to Spanish. Spanish is not a requirement for this position but bilingual communicators are encouraged!

Desired Skills and Qualifications:

  • Experience in digital media design
  • Experience in communicating complex scientific information to communities of varying education levels
  • Experience in and or knowledge of citizen science
  • Strong listening and collaboration skills
  • Willingness to connect science to local concerns
  • Spanish fluency is encouraged but not required


Spanish Translator Role (Remote)

We are seeking a Spanish translator for STEM materials. All materials and templates will be provided. Individuals familiar with working with Latinx communities are encouraged to apply.


Desired Skills and Qualifications:

  • Experience in translating written materials
  • Spanish written fluency
  • Experience in working with Latinx communities

Thriving Earth Exchange asks all scientific partners to work with the community to help define a project with concrete local impact to which they can contribute as pro-bono volunteers and collaborators. This work can also position the scientists and communities to seek additional funding, together, for the next stage.

Interested in volunteering as a scientist? Apply now!