Extension Climate/Extreme Weather Programming

https://nifa.usda.gov/sites/default/files/resources/climate_ext_summit.pdf. Major recommendations for the summit included the following: ● Building capacity through additional internal training opportunities for current Extension staff and faculty about climate science basics, written and oral communication about climate issues, risk management strategies, recruiting climate specialists, and training in meeting and small group facilitation and conflict management. ● Embracing and advancing the use of new technologies like social networking, social business tools, and mobile technologies to reach new audiences. ● Exploring opportunities for joint climate Extension initiatives that will enable Land Grant and Sea Grant programs to reach out and establish new partnerships and explore additional funding opportunities. ● Expand partnerships with other climate information networks and professional associations. ● Offer more training in Extension skills and tools to willing climate researchers. In terms of regional efforts, a summit was held at University of California (UC), Davis in February, 2015 with the goal of developing a preliminary plan for Extension’s Southwest regional activities associated with climate change, and with an immediate focus on the USDA’s Climate Hub activities. Representatives from Cooperative Extension in all six Southwest region states, the Southwest Regional Climate Hub (SWRCH), and the California Sub-Hub were in attendance. The format of this summit was a two-day, semi-formal workshop designed to achieve focus and consensus. The result was a consensus for a sea change in Extension’s approach to climate change. The SWRCH and California Sub-Hub representatives endorsed the views that (i) Extension has been late to the table with respect to climate change; (ii) many of Extension’s clientele are significantly underserved when it comes to this topic; and (iii) Extension can fill the critical gap of bringing locally-relevant science into communities in a way that supports important decisions. The participants articulated the following shared vision for the outcome of Extension climate change activities moving forward: “This regional partnership will lead to climate literate communities, with: (i) climate resilient and adaptive agriculture and natural resource management (ii) market adaptations adopted and enabled; and (iii) widespread acceptance and adoption of mitigation practices.” This plan was enthusiastically endorsed by the SWRCH and California Sub-Hub representatives. Emerging from the UC Davis summit has been not only a vision of climate literate communities, but also a strategy for achieving this vision. Broadly, this strategy is based upon integrating the topic throughout existing Extension programs as much as possible. Rather than utilizing climate experts to engage directly with Extension clientele, the notion was to employ those who already have established relationships with their communities — which is existing Extension professionals. In order to realize this approach, the following roadmap was drafted: I. Regional Needs Assessment . Extension’s absence from the issue of climate change has left broad gaps in understanding and capability. Specifically, what are the needs of Extension’s


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