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Are you passionate about tackling the biggest environmental and social equity challenges facing communities today while launching your social purpose career?If so, CivicSpark, a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program, is right for you!
CivicSpark is dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address community resilience issues such as climate, water, housing, and mobility. During the 2020-21 service year, 90 CivicSpark Fellows will support over 100 cities & towns, counties, schools, and other public agencies to implement local sustainability projects on topics including sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, climate action planning, water conservation, drought response, equity and affordable housing. Fellows gain exceptional career experience, training to become leaders in California’s response to community resilience issues.
CivicSpark is looking for individuals with at least a Bachelor’s degree who want to gain real-world experience, start their career in the sustainability and resilience fields, and make a lasting impact!
Apply now to be part of the movement!
Priority deadline: Feb. 29, 2020
CivicSpark team worked diligently to refocus program goals for new cycle at 2019 strategic planning retreat.
December 3-4th, statewide CivicSpark Staff came together for the 2019 strategic planning retreat to bring new staff members up to speed on 2017 three-year strategic goals, share successes and challenges and set top priority areas for 2020. During this two day planning effort staff exchanged ideas, talked candidly about and reassessed historical programmatic priorities in order to refocus goals going into 2020-21. Conversations converged around strengthening Fellow and Partner experience by exploring and compiling resources, streamlining operations, boosting diversity and integrating equity as a crosscutting focus of the program.
CivicSpark and Climate Corps Fellows teamed up in the Bay to take on waste at the Davis Transfer Station
Bay Area CivicSpark Fellows, alongside Climate Corps Fellows, had the opportunity to visit the Davis St Transfer Station in San Leandro On November 22nd, as part of a tour facilitated by StopWaste, a public agency driving waste reduction in Alameda County since 1976.
The tour included a discussion about the food and waste cycles in the region that allowed Fellows to deepen their understanding of food systems, their social and environmental repercussions and how to reimagine a more sustainable system.
Question of the Month: “As you get started on your project, what resources have you found that have been the most helpful?”
Evelyn Hall | Sac – NorCal Region
“My projects aims to build capacity in long term recovery efforts for children, youth, and families in Butte County after the Camp Fire in 2018, Resources that have been critical to the work include any reports published by local and state agencies, the network of professionals I’ve been connected with at the federal, state and local level for advice and expertise, as well as my local Fellows in the county to bounce ideas off of and share relevant resources.”
Rebecca Pope | Sac – Sierra Region
“When I started my project, I found that the most helpful resource was the people around me. I am grateful for the sincere support that I received from other CivicSpark fellows as well as the direction and feedback from my site supervisors. It’s been valuable to have a team that is so knowledgeable and willing to help me develop. Additionally, I have heavily relied on my notebook. I am constantly breaking down my work — both research and tasks — into lists or smaller chunks of information so that I can work more diligently. Writing it out this way allows me to create a work plan and analyze information in a way that I can comprehend. “
Carol Scianna | Environmental Services Manager – City of Winters
“We are very pleased to have our CivicSpark Fellow Chris on board to assist the City withseveral CAP projects. Our 5 year old draft CAP was never adopted, but with our Fellow taking the lead, I feel confident that we’ll be able to revise and move the CAP forward to the adoption and implementation phase. Additionally, we’re working on the formation of a Climate Action Citizens Committee that several residents had been interested in developing, having our Fellow forming this committee and moving it forward is a huge benefit, welcomed by staff and City Council alike.
With Christopher’s efforts, we’ll make great strides in implementing both climate mitigation actions and adaptation strategies to move our City past discussion mode and into action mode. I would like to see Winters become a model of how much a little town can accomplish, when residents and City staff work together to build a more sustainable community.”
Rachel Salazar | Energy Commission Specialist – CEC
“We are very excited to be working with Hannah on our first ever CivicSpark project that will help inform future R&D solicitations for clean electricity projects benefitting vulnerable communities. Hannah is compiling information on climate action goals and interest in adopting clean energy technologies for various communities. Additionally, she is serving the cities of Arvin and Paramount to help increase adoption of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean transportation. This project includes development of private and public partnerships, a clean energy fair, informational resources, and possible workforce development for these disadvantaged communities that can be duplicated in similar areas across the state.”
Where are our alumni now?
Zachary Reda | Energy and Sustainability Coordinator, City of Pleasanton
2018-19 Civic Spark Climate Fellow
As a 2018-2019 CivicSpark Climate Fellow with the City of Pleasanton, I was tasked with writing a feasibility report on whether the City should join the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), East Bay Community Energy (EBCE). As my service year drew to a close, I concluded that EBCE would be a great fit for Pleasanton.
After CivicSpark, I was hired on as the Energy and Sustainability Coordinator to continue advancing Pleasanton’s climate initiatives. I presented my EBCE analysis to City Council, and they unanimously voted to join the CCA. So in 2021, Pleasanton residents and business owners will have the opportunity to choose their carbon free and renewable electricity levels, and ultimately lower their carbon footprint.
After the presentation to Pleasanton City Council, the City Manager decided to move energy and sustainability to the City Manager’s Office. This has been an incredible experience so far, because I get to dive into the nexus of policy and sustainability on the local level. From this position, making healthy, positive policy changes for the Pleasanton community seems more possible than ever, and I look forward to seeing these sustainable improvements come to fruition.
None of this would have happened without CivicSpark.
This program provides newcomers to the ever-expanding climate field with invaluable experience. After college, I found it really hard to start my career focusing on environmental policy. That’s where CivicSpark come in. CivicSpark is the perfect stepping stone that gives people the experience they need to kick-start careers that help local communities, and ultimately the world.
Throughout this experience, I’ve learned that the best way to learn and grow is to say yes to new opportunities, embrace new projects, and volunteer to take on new assignments. As a young professional, believe in yourself! Believe in the work that makes you want to get up in the morning. Keep fighting for the work that you believe in.
California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services is currently updating the Adaptation Planning Guide.
Also known as the APG 2.0, this is a state-produced tool that can be utilized to support community-level climate adaptation planning and implementation. The APG 2.0 public review draft is slated for release early December and will be available on this web page. The purpose of the APG 2.0 includes
- Providing local and regional governments with the latest adaptation resources and planning methodologies;
- Incorporating findings from the Safeguarding California Plan: 2018 Update, California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, and other State climate documents;
- Integrating with the Adaptation Clearinghouse through the development of a web-based tool; and
- Integrating with planning processes (general plans, local hazard mitigation plans, local coastal plans, climate action plans, etc.).
2020 California Environmental Assembly:
Beyond Seawalls and Electric Vehicles
January 25, 2020 | Sacramento, CA
Each year, PCL addresses top environmental policy issues that face California. In addition to panels on water, energy, climate change, transportation, housing, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), this year, they’re adding new workshops on environmental advocacy and environmental writing/photography. These workshops will help teach important skills to anyone interested in entering the environmental activism world.
PCL will continue their Emerging Leaders Panel as a way to bring young advocates into the environmental policy conversation to discuss their perspective on a more sustainable future.
CivicSpark Fellows and Alumni can apply to receive sponsorship to attend the Assembly for free. Follow this link to fill out an application. You will be notified within the weeks following your application of whether or not you received sponsorshipFind more about the environmental assembly here
2020 California Adaptation Forum:
August 18 -20, 2020 | Riverside, CA
The biennial California Adaptation Forum gathers the adaptation community from across California and beyond to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and mutual support to create resilient communities and tackle our state’s most pressing climate change challenges. The Forum offers a series of engaging plenaries, sessions, workshops, tours, networking opportunities, and more to support our transition from adaptation awareness and planning to action on the ground.
CivicSpark Fellows and Alumni can apply for volunteer opportunities! For more information regarding volunteer opportunities send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive further instructions within the weeks following your inquiry. Find more about the California Adaptation Forum here!