- Author: Sarah-Mae Nelson
On July 7, 2020, we launched the first UC Climate Stewards Instructor Training with 17 instructors from 11 pilot partner organizations across the state. Due to COVID-19 restrictions on meeting in person, we turned our planned 3-day, in-person training into a virtual venture. We chose to spread our 24 hours of training out over 8 days to best accommodate our trainers' schedules and offer the breaks and timing needed in the virtual environment.
Our first day of training focused on the key principles that make UC Climate Stewards unique from other climate change courses currently being offered. These core concepts include exploring cognitive, psychological, and social science of communication; the social-emotional labor of climate change and environmental education; how trauma-aware practices in education and communication support community resilience; and the importance of building relationships in the formation of community. Our second meeting was a full-day workshop on the evidence-based, climate change communication training from the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI). Subsequent sessions were each two-hours long and covered topics ranging from course administration to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Environmental Justice in the Climate Context.
It is wonderful to finally be setting off on this journey that has been more than three years in the planning. Our instructors are engaged, excited, and enthusiastic about our pilot course offerings that begin at the end of August and extend into early next year. We couldn't have accomplished this milestone without these program partners and the help of our Strategic Planning Committee, Climate Science Reviewers, and Core Team. Special thanks to California Naturalist Kate Greswold who has spent countless hours helping us achieve our vision and improve the course, and Adina Merenlender who spearheaded, researched, and co-authored our text (Merenlender, A. & Buhler, B. (2020). Climate Stewardship: Collective Action Across California. Manuscript submitted for publication).
We are working diligently to produce more materials about UC Climate Stewards to help spread the word. If you or your organization is interested in finding out more about UC Climate Stewards courses, check out our webpage.