Extension Climate/Extreme Weather Programming

climate and extreme weather issues and for costs of program development, delivery, and evaluation. For example, very few Extension faculty lines are dedicated to climate programming specifically (or with ‘climate’ in the position title) and this makes it difficult to scale and replicate successful programs within or beyond institutions and states. ● “When I was doing the work and reaching out to Extension educators, that's where I found the ones who weren't interested... And I don't know if there's a shift where people aren't interested in it or just more people just realized this is how it is now and it's part of what we do... But by and large it's not an issue [within Extension]. I've been at it for twenty years and we need to make it a more central part of education because it's not going away. ” (R07) ● “I think there is sometimes a sense of like, ‘ I don't have the support to [deliver a] program about this’ or ‘I don’t know how I would’ …that sort of thing.” (R03) ● “ We do need, at the very least, a core group of people , agents, specialists, and researchers working together on addressing climate change impacts on each state.” (R14) ● “You know there's this concept of safe spaces and this concept of brave spaces and it's especially used in I think some of the racial justice work. Like how we can create spaces where everyone feels safe. But then, if they're not having the real conversations, then they're not really brave spaces and so then we can't really push the sort of collective wisdom forward . And I think that that's something I am thinking about a lot nowadays...have I created such a safe space that we’re pandering to a ‘non fact’ world? Which is sort of a mirroring of the national scene. So I do worry about that.” (R13) ● One respondent expressed the need for a national network of Extension educators/Community of Practice with a unified voice around climate change and recognized that the National Extension Climate Initiative is “a step in the right direction”: “NECI [National Extension Climate Initiative] is a cross-initiative or cross-association with the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals or NACDEP and ANREP [Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals]. And so it’s really nice because we’re bridging across those different Extension professions and roles .” (R08) Tradition, Conventional Institutional Frameworks & Incentive Structures Speaking to the so-called university “silo effect”, interview respondents discussed the lack of a “home” within Extension for systems-level, intersectional, cross-disciplinary, or “nexus” programming. They also shared insights about bias (past and present) of conventional institutional frameworks and incentive structures. A number of respondents shared the perspective that the traditional delineation of Extension program areas (youth & 4-H, FYCS, NR, Ag, etc.) does not provide the appropriate or adaptable framework needed for developing, delivering, and reporting impacts of climate-related programs. Somehow, we need to create and implement an Extension reporting structure that effectively and reliably captures the scope, outcomes, and value of these high-level, trans-disciplinary systems programs. Early adopters argue that Extension needs to break away from this university silo effect.


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