Extension Climate/Extreme Weather Programming

Funding Availability, Allocation & Stability The continuous ebb and flow of funding, discontinuity, and lack of federal funds has constrained Extension’s ability to not only offer these programs in the first place, but also to develop and deliver them effectively, at the scale and scope necessary to reach target and underserved audiences, and in consistent and sustained ways over extended periods of time. ● “It [funding] is really challenging and you have to be kind of creative in that the funding for applied climate work has really gotten sort of pulled off in different directions in the last ten years. And my hope is that that changes again and we start really getting focused on the right scale of information and funding local efforts.” (R04) ● In response to community demands for a new climate program, one respondent stated that “I say ‘sure, we can do that… it’s going to cost some money, sadly. I wish it didn’t.’ I wish I could just educate people and do the work without having to worry about where the funding comes from to pay my salary and that of the people who I work with.” (R05) ● “I am fully funded 100% - including my fringe benefits - by the USDA and because of that, I mean the university is very supportive of whatever I do and doesn't ask questions. But they have not invested in my work ...Do I think the university would try to find a way to continue to fund a position like mine, I don't think so.” (R10) ● “We did a lot of education on climate change topics related to flooding and resiliency, and [the program focus] kind of changed throughout the years depending on what our funders wanted from us .” (R02) ● “And then I have a partially state-funded position, which allows me to do my Extension work. I may get a call from somebody at the city [saying] ‘Could you help us out? We're developing a new sustainability plan.’ So I can contribute to that and maybe bring in a graduate student or something along those lines, but I have license to do it through my state appointment. Without that kind of [salary] continuity, it would really be challenging. ” (RO6)

CES Institutional Challenges Administrative Resistance

Administrative resistance to C/EW initiatives and efforts was raised by several “early adopters” as one of the most significant challenges they’ve encountered in their CES work. They expressed the belief that most Extension administrators do not currently view climate and extreme weather programming as a high priority, especially relative to traditional programs. A handful of interviewees described situations where they were subject to censorship and/or pressure by administration to abandon their science- based climate programming efforts altogether, and one noted an encouraging turning point with respect to this resistance.


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