CICSS works to provide climate smart resources and training for communities, through research, engagement, Extension support, and volunteer programs. We are also developing a new Extension Climate Stewards Volunteer program, and evaluating municipal adoption of climate action plans, and development of community climate change adaptation and mitigation projects.

Climate Stewards Volunteer program

CICSS, along with the USDA Northeast Climate Hub and University of MD, was awarded a USDA NIFA planning grant for develop a new Extension Climate Steward Volunteer Program. This project will develop a plan for an innovative Climate Stewards Program to train Extension volunteers who can support their communities to engage in climate change adaptation, resiliency, and mitigation projects at the local level. Climate change is one of the most urgent issues facing humanity and swift action is needed at all levels, including by local communities. We are focusing on the feasibility in the Northeastern United States, an area comprised of large variability in geographies and land use types, and communities from the largest cities and urbanized areas in the United States, to some of the most rural areas. Therefore, our program will specifically address several USDA NIFA long term priorities including: food safety, nutrition, and health; natural resources and environment; and agricultural economics and rural communities.

Long term vision and program goals

  1. Goal #1: Develop and Implement a Climate Steward Program to support Climate Smart Communities
  2. Goal #2: Incorporate Climate Change into Existing Master Volunteer Programs

Progress

To date, the team have completed an inventory of community-based programs and the team has conducted 18 focus groups with community groups across the Northeast. We are in the process of analyzing all of the data. Keep an eye on this site as we share reports and recommendations. Our inventory of community-based programs is available in a Google Map –  link is below. This inventory is continually being updated as we become aware of new programs. If you think there is a program we missed, please let us know!

Climate Action Planning Evaluation Project

The climate action planning project is exploring how cities engage in climate action planning and assessing how well prepared cities are to the local impacts of a changing climate. We hope to improve upon the links between communities, policy makers and researchers.

Community research

Resources for Communities

 It can be difficult for a community to know where to start when it comes to assessing the risk and vulnerabilities associated with climate change. Below are a few resources to help communities with climate action planning, but contact our team or your local Cooperative Extension educator if you have questions and we can point you in the right direction: