Trauma-Informed Communication About Wildfire
As a program coordinator for Oregon State University Extension's Natural Resources Education Program, Yasmeen Hossain, Ph.D. supports educators by providing educational resources in environmental education. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and destructive wildfires have been impacting the lives of many in the west, including students. Consequently, Hossain noticed that the educators she worked with were asking for tools and resources to help support students who may have personal experiences with these potentially traumatic events. To fill this need, in 2021 Hossain published the Trauma-Informed Toolkit. A Resource for Educators.
“I kept wanting to have some kind of written document, like a resource document that I could give them before the workshop, or that they could come back to after a workshop. And I couldn't find one that encompassed everything I wanted them to have at their fingertips. And so at some point, I was like, Well, I guess I just got to write it myself,” said Hossain.
Wildfire can be very stressful, and it’s possible for children and adults to experience a trauma response related to wildfire, for a variety of reasons as Hossian explains. “So the topic of fire wildfire it is has a lot of potential to activate our nervous system to again create that overwhelming out of control feeling that we might have. And the reason for that is because of the magnitude and the impact that it can have on our lives.”
Hossain emphasizes that when someone is experiencing a trauma response, especially a child, it is more important to help them manage their stress than to try and explain why it is happening. “So really knowing about and utilizing tools and strategies and information to help them balance their nervous system again, and boost their resilience.”
To learn more, check out the resources below: