Climate Adaptation Fellowship

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Project Status
Ongoing

Together, we envision a better way to support peer-to-peer climate adaptation.

The Climate Adaptation Fellowship is a series of curricula designed to give farmers, foresters, and advisors the information they need to adapt to climate change, bring climate change into their outreach programs, and talk about climate change with peers and colleagues. The free learning materials are composed of four sector-specific sets of learning modules; vegetables/small fruit, tree fruit, dairy and forestry. Each module was crafted by a team of Extension professionals, farmers and/or research experts from the Northeast, and tailored for farmers and land managers in the region. A combination of course outlines, teaching notes, slide decks, and activity materials are designed to be flexible and accommodate the interests of participants.

The minimum amount of time needed to cover core materials is 4-5 hours. These materials can often be delivered in one, two, or three sessions, and can help participants improve their climate communication skills. Optional program activities can require time commitments greater than 8 hours outside “the classroom.” However, time requirements to complete the activities depends on both participant interest and available funding. All-in-all, each module is designed to help farmers, foresters, and service providers improve their knowledge about climate change impacts, and their ability to make good planning decisions related to climate change adaptation. The curricula also include resources to help participants access localized climate data, which can improve on-the-ground decision making.

“The program includes a core set of education lessons and a menu of hands-on activities, and uses a peer-to-peer learning approach to connect land managers and the advisors who work with them… It is responsive to the interests of participants, their skill level, and technical background. Adaptation practices presented in the curriculum (e.g. cover crops, strip tilling, high tunnels) are tailored to a sector-specific audience.” - Rachel Schattman, USDA Northeast Climate Hub Research Fellow, and Co-author of the Vegetable and Small Fruit module

The development of the Climate Adaptation Fellowship curriculum was led by the University of Vermont Extension, in close collaboration with the USDA Northeast Climate Hub, the USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub, the University of Maine, Rutgers University, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Pennsylvania State University, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Manomet, and the Forest Stewards Guild. Development of the Climate Adaptation Fellowship curriculum was supported by the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) (Award #2017-68002-26728), USDA Joint Venture Agreement 14-JV-11232306-103, the Rutgers Climate Institute, and University of Vermont Extension.

If you are interested in running a program using a Climate Adaptation Fellowship module, or if you or your organization would like to discuss funding this effort, please contact Rachel E. Schattman or Erin Lane. Curriculum developers are excited to partner with you, and we will work with you to seek funding and/or design a pilot that can best meets the needs of your community.

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