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New ORISE Fellows join USDA Northeast Climate Hub Team


The USDA Northeast Climate Hub welcomes two ORISE Fellows, Jennifer Evans and Sara Kelemen. Each fellow brings ample expertise to drive large-scale, network-focused projects across the region to address climate change.

Here’s what you can expect from each fellow in their journey with us:

ORISE Fellow, Jennifer Evans will engage in research and collaboration for two projects focused on climate equity.

The first project will focus on identifying climate equity issues in the region using literature reviews, stakeholder conversations, workshops, webinars and other research methods. Climate equity ensures the just distribution of benefits from climate resilience efforts and alleviates unequal burdens created by climate change. The research will focus on equity and injustice issues specific to working lands and waters, including agriculture, forestry and aquaculture. The first goal is to determine what climate equity issues are specific to the Northeast region and its working lands; the more challenging second goal will be to figure out how to address these issues. The project will be collaborative and co-creative among scientists, researchers, stakeholders, community members and beyond as those personally experiencing the climate impacts will be most aware of their effects and injustices, as well as how it is already affecting their livelihoods.

The second project seeks to develop a network of graduate students who are engaging on topics of climate mitigation and adaptation in relation to working lands. In partnership with West Virginia State University, Jennifer aims to develop and nurture the second round of GradCAMP (Graduate Student Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program). The program will provide a valuable web of emerging climate leaders, and will have a new focus on climate equity and justice issues. The program will allow students to share research, learn from each other, and discuss not only mitigation and adaptation, but also include equity as it is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of climate work. The opportunity to connect with fellow climate students will allow the participants a more robust understanding of these climate topics and successful application of these crucial issues in their climate careers moving forward.

ORISE Fellow, Sara Kelemen will help dairy farmers and agricultural advisors respond to the effects of climate change by providing them with education, resources, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.

Sara will lead the Dairy Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Fellowship program to help farmers and agricultural advisors learn about climate change, experiment with different adaptation strategies, and encourage other farmers to do the same. This work will be important because we know that the dairy industry will be affected by climate change in many ways. Dairy farmers will need creative solutions to improve resilience on their farms. However, research shows that many agricultural advisors are either hesitant to provide information about climate change to farmers or do not believe they have the knowledge to do so. It is important for farmers, service providers, and farmers who serve as informal advisors to their peers, to have the opportunity to build knowledge and confidence around climate change adaptation as it pertains dairy production in the northeast region both so that they can adapt and provide useful information to their peers.

This program builds upon previous USDA Northeast Climate Hub work, including curriculum development for many types of regional agriculture, and the implementation of a pilot program for vegetable and small fruit growers. In collaboration with Cornell University, this program seeks to investigate options to reduce emissions in dairy farming, support dairy farmers in implementing both climate adaptation and mitigation practices, expand the CAF dairy curriculum to include climate mitigation, implement a peer-to-peer learning program, and support development of outreach events and products to encourage climate adaptation and mitigation practices.