Extension Climate/Extreme Weather Programming

they start with personal engagement, listening, and assessing needs to ensure that their work is most relevant and useful for the communities they serve. ● “Every year is different. And that’s one of the things that I really like about Extension, that as new needs and issues arise, we’re trying our best to meet those and develop programs on those [needs and issues]. There is definitely always more that we could do and sometimes our capacity is limited to do that based on how we’re funded. But I think that is one of the great things about Extension and I know a lot more local counties have started working on climate change and so I think that’s really exciting.” (R02) ● “We have a group of farmers who are super progressive, and a lot who are really interested in just the science of climate change and who want to talk about what they can do on their farms .” (R09) ● One interviewee shared that if given the opportunity and the funding, “I would develop what I would term a ‘climate shop’, which would be not unlike a state climate office, but maybe more focused on kind of rapid turnaround, quick, data-driven projects that would help rural communities in the sort of the Extension aspects of climate adaptation . These would have to be collaborative, so there would be things that could be very ag focused and maybe there's some need for climate information for longer term planning of where orchards and vineyards go using climate projections. Maybe it's better access to weather information for managing freeze events and they need help with that.” (R04) Strategic Messaging & Issue Framing Communication strategy, message framing, and terminology choice matter a great deal to program relevance, effectiveness, and long-term success. C/EW early adopters shared that this could be as simple as framing climate issues in terms of tangible outcomes and impacts clientele are experiencing or avoiding certain “trigger” terminology when engaging communities or audiences for whom the term ‘climate change’ might signal government intervention or regulations. A number of respondents stated that to reach more conservative and/or rural audiences, their climate programs often need to be couched within the context of extreme weather, drought preparedness, flood management or recovery, adaptation, personal health and safety, and/or economic resilience. ● “ I have had good success with—instead of saying ‘climate change’—saying ‘a changing climate.’ It’s just such a small thing, but I think that that has been well received.” (R09) ● “You know, it used to be ‘climate change’ and even ‘climate resiliency’ and then ‘climate variability’, and when people see that, it just seems like it turns them off. So you just have to find ways to get around that terminology. ‘Extreme weather’ seems to work very well. ” (R08) ● “One-on-one on a farm or with a small group of farmers, we don’t start the conversation with that broad kind of topic of climate change. We start to talk about, for example, soil management practices …‘here's what it can do for yield improvement’, and then we come in and say, ‘by the way, this has tremendous benefits in terms of resilience.’ I think this really keeps


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