Extension Climate/Extreme Weather Programming

Conclusions and Recommendations As a result of our quantitative and qualitative assessments across the Cooperative Extension System, we offer the following concluding statements and recommendations related to Successes, Challenges, and Opportunities. Successes 1. Many of our interview respondents spoke of the openness of both Extension professionals and citizens to proactively engage and learn about issues of climate and extreme weather . There appears to be a new receptivity to talking about the impacts of climate change and extreme weather as well as the causes. This openness is a hopeful sign that Extension can begin the necessary process of engaging both Extension professionals and new and varied audiences. 2. We note that a few states-albeit a small minority-are working proactively to ensure Extension professionals are supported with resources, professional development opportunities and rewards and encouragement from their administrative cohorts. In these states, the programs are well-funded and cross-disciplinary. 3. We observed many examples of education tied to local relevance with positive outcomes . A locally-based approach can be better received by citizens (resulting in buy-in and implementable actions) and used to better prepare Extension professionals about the science behind climate change, and how best to teach relevant content. 4. There exist many diverse and innovative partnerships within and between climate and extreme weather programs. We note these partnerships involve both public and private entities and many are long-term. These collaborative efforts have in many cases enhanced trust and established and built relationships. 5. Extension educators, with their close ties to local communities and deep understanding of community values, are framing climate change in ways that are salient and actionable across a range of clientele. Challenges 6. We found significant gaps in reaching particular audiences including youth, tribal and BIPOC communities . With regard to youth programming, the lack of coordination and leadership is particularly troubling given the potential STEM focus of climate change and extreme weather programming and the need to reach this next generation of leaders. We also note there are only a few tribal programs, which is concerning given the vulnerability of many tribal populations to climate change and extreme weather impacts as well as the potential for the sharing of indigenous knowledge tied to climate change and extreme weather patterns. Another gap is the


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