Last month we were thrilled to award 23 participants their UC Climate Stewards Certification in collaboration with the University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources program. Similar to the California Naturalist Certification, these climate stewards engaged in conversations about climate change science, adaptation, mitigation, and resilience strategies over the course of this 10-week program designed to prepare them to become better climate change communicators. The second pilot program in California, Pepperwood’s new climate stewards created innovative and engaging capstone projects which both reflected what they learned during the course as well as framed what they hoped to contribute to community-based efforts to mitigate climate change in their communities.
Final projects ranged from monitoring pH changes in the Yuba River to the benefits of erecting tiny homes immediately after wildfires to reduce costs during rebuild efforts; from how local health centers are incorporating nature wellness walks to foster appreciation for natural areas and drive passion for climate-friendly behaviors to strategizing community rebuild efforts after devastating wildfires and fortifying homes in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) zones. Students reported on how this class has inspired them to build food gardens in their yards to reduce their carbon footprints, measure rainfall as part of community science efforts, and educate neighbors on being “firewise” in their communities. A group of students collaborated on a “climate adaptation certification” label for wine, similar to a biodynamic or organic certification, exploring how local wineries and vineyards can be more “climate friendly” from soil to glass.
Other students used this course as a springboard to create education products for their audiences, such as this game, climate change fortune teller, that local environmental educator Michala Roan created. We look forward to seeing how these climate stewards will share what they have learned from this program as they continue to create climate-based solutions in their communities.