- (Public Value) UCANR: Building climate-resilient communities and ecosystems
- Author: Sabrina L. Drill
The US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is hosting a series of public engagement workshops in January and February as part of its Fifth National Climate Assessment “to solicit feedback on climate change-related issues that are important to the public.”
Developing the USGCRP was a key component of the Global Change Research Act of 1990. With representation from 13 federal departments and agencies, the USGCRP's mission is to coordinate “a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.” Every for years, the Program delivers a National Climate Assessment to congress and the people of the US. From their website, the "NCA is required to a) integrate, evaluate, and interpret the findings of the Program and discuss the scientific uncertainties associated with such findings; b) analyze the effects of global change on the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, human health and welfare, human social systems, and biological diversity; and c) analyze current trends in global change, both human-induced and natural, and project major trends for the subsequent 25 to 100 years."
Work is underway to produce the 5th National Climate Assessment (NCA5).
Thirty public engagement workshops will be held in January and February, beginning January 11th. Workshops are free to attend but registration is required. Each workshop will focus on a different topic or region. Topical sessions are listed below. Go here to see the complete list of Topical and Regional sessions by clicking on NCA5 Engagement Workshops.
February 4 | 10 AM–2:30 PM PT
January 11 | 12 PM–4 PM ET
Ecosystems, Ecosystem Services, and Biodiversity (PDF)
January 12 | 12 PM–4 PM ET
Energy Supply, Delivery, and Demand (PDF)
January 18 | 10 AM–2 PM ET
Sector Interactions, Multiple Stressors, and Complex Systems (PDF)
January 18 | 11 AM–3 PM ET
Land Cover and Land-Use Change (PDF)
January 18 | 11 AM–3 PM ET
Air Quality (PDF)
Jan 18 | 12 PM–4 PM ET
Tribal and Indigenous Peoples (PDF)
January 26 | 12 PM–4 PM ET
Coastal Effects (PDF)
January 28 | 1 PM–5 PM ET
Agriculture, Food Systems, and Rural Communities (PDF)
January 31 | 12 PM–4 PM ET
February 1 | 2 PM –6 PM ET
February 7 | 11 AM–3:30 PM ET
February 7 | 1 PM–5 PM ET
February 9 | 10 AM–2 PM ET
Climate Effects on U.S. International Interests (PDF)
February 9 | 12 PM–4 PM ET
February 11 | 11:30 AM–3 PM ET
Human Health (PDF)
- Author: Joy Shindler Rafey
The Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP) conducted the ANROSP Annual Awards Ceremony as part of the organization's 2021 Annual National Conference.
The UC California Naturalist Program was recognized with the 2021 ANROSP Outstanding Educational Materials Award for their UC Climate Stewards curriculum. This award recognizes ANROSP member programs for their development and use of educational materials including print, video, online technology, or other program materials/applications.
Shelly Johnson, ANROSP President with the Florida Master Naturalist Program, said "ANROSP provides member programs an opportunity to share their best work in the areas of Outstanding Educational Materials, Outstanding Volunteer Project, Outstanding Team, Outstanding Program Evaluation and Program of the Year. Each year ANROSP is proud to highlight programs from across the United States in each of these categories." Award applications are peer reviewed and selection is made by the ANROSP Awards Committee, chaired by an ANROSP Board Member.
The Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs is an international network of natural resource programs with the mission of promoting awareness and stewardship of natural resources through science-based education and service programs.
For more information on the UC California Naturalist Program's UC Climate Stewards curriculum, please contact Sarah-Mae Nelson, UC Climate Stewards Academic Coordinator, California Naturalist Program, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-482-4633.
Guest author Chloe Van Loon is a certified Grassroots Ecology California Naturalist, and writes about the Mojave Desert Biogregion for California Biodiversity Week 2021. You can follow more of Chloe's writings posted on Chloe Van Loon's Nature Blog.
For most of the past year and half I have nomadically roamed around California, chasing nature's “blooms”. That meant spending the winter in Mendocino County finding fungi, and springtime in the Bay Area wandering around for wildflower displays. Between these two Northern California spots, Joshua Tree was my home. For two months my husband and I searched for flowering annuals, prickly cacti, quick-footed reptiles, jumping rodents, and magnificent nocturnal moths.
Many California Naturalists may already know the desert ecosystems of California are incredibly diverse. I was well aware of this myself before spending time in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. But a weekend trip really isn't enough, a week isn't enough, and two months isn't enough to fully grasp the ecology of desert ecosystems! I think it takes multiple years of visiting at different times. I think it's equally important to visit during a super bloom year as it is to visit in a non-super bloom year to see the diversity of species that have adapted to the extreme temperature fluctuations, long dry spells and the winter rain deluges.
This year, 2021 wasn't a super bloom year as the winter rainfall was pretty poor for much of the state. So we had to get smart about where and how to search for angiosperms and accompanying insect visitors. One resource that was super valuable was Tom Chester's Bloom Reports (tchester.org) for the Anza-borrego Desert, located about an hour and half south of Palm Springs. Unlike the alpine meadows of the Sierra mountains where at peak bloom my senses are overwhelmed with color, textures, and scents, iNat-ing the California deserts is a treasure hunt: it takes time for the human eye to hone in on the often cryptic and small plants amongst the desert floor. Having a general sense of the area's plants before heading out for a hike really helped in order to spot the common plants, rarities and lifers. Fellow California Naturalist, Colin Barrows' iNaturalist observations were also very helpful study tools. His Coachella Valley Wildflower iNaturalist Project was a great photo reference source. Projects like these are a fantastic resource and fortunately exist in similar forms all across California. Doing your homework by brushing up on what's been recently observed before heading out is totally worth it. You might be surprised how diverse the desert is.
Depending on the time of year - really even the week! - will dictate what might be blooming. Will the common Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) still be producing its wonderful yellow compound flowers? Will my personal favorite the Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) finally produce its glorious apricot orange petals? Will the gorgeous Sand Blazingstar (Mentzelia involucrata) have Sweat Bees visiting? But how will these plants, associated insects, and wildlife that use them for food or shelter cope with rising temperatures, altered rain regimes, and all the other compounding effects of climate change? A recently published study by Hantson et al. (2021) from UC Irvine suggests climate change is to blame for recent “strong” declines in vegetation cover, and these hardy dryland ecosystems are more at risk than previously thought to the effects of climate change. Oh no.
The Western Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia), the charismatic, long-limbed Dr. Suess-like trees of the Mojave desert, are the first plant species reviewed by California's Endangered Species Act to attribute climate change as a primary threat. Among other reasons like habitat loss, developments, and invasive species, the Western Joshua Tree's habitat may be almost totally gone by 2100. What other vulnerable species should be citing their primary threat to existence as climate change? For myself it's hard to imagine that any native California species escapes the negative effects of human induced climate change. Throughout my time in the desert I saw a Ladder-backed Woodpecker checking out the flowers of the Joshua Tree, Northern Mockingbird and Loggerhead Shrikes perched up high while LeConte's Thrasher and Gambel's Quails run between its shadows. Turn over a fallen branch and you might find beetles or weevils scurrying on the ground, or Giant Water Bugs crawling around if the branch had fallen in a creek. How will all these species fare with altered or absent Joshua Tree populations?
How will the biodiversity of California's desert's change in the near to distant future? Is the future only one round of Ocotillo's flowering? Will the Desert Bighorn sheep at lower elevations become locally extinct like Eeps et al. (2004) predicted? Both these species along with the other incredible flora and fauna of California's deserts evolved over time to produce the mosaic of biodiversity we see there today. How climate change is going to change this assemblage is perhaps predictable for some species, but I'm sure surprising for others. So I encourage everyone to visit, learn and appreciate how the species you see while visiting the deserts of California, and to ponder what adaptations they evolved over time to flourish there, and most importantly what you can do to keep it thriving in perpetuity.
September 4-12, 2021 is California Biodiversity Week. Join us in celebrating the unique biodiversity and renewing our commitment to stewarding the state's incredible natural heritage! During the Week, CalNat is posting blogs authored by members of our community, ending in our September 14th CONES event from noon-1:00 PM. Be sure to also check out a list of activities and resources online from the CA Natural Resources Agency!
Hantson, Stijn, et al. "Warming as a driver of vegetation loss in the Sonoran Desert of California." Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 126.6 (2021): e2020JG005942.
EPPS, C. W., McCULLOUGH, D. R., WEHAUSEN, J. D., BLEICH, V. C., & L. RECHEL, J. (2004). Effects of Climate Change on Population Persistence of Desert-Dwelling Mountain Sheep in California. Conservation Biology, 18(1), 102–113. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00023.x
Center for Biological Diversity. “Court Upholds Protection for California's Western Joshua Trees.” Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Biological Diversity, 22 Feb. 2021, biologicaldiversity.org/w/news/press-releases/court-upholds-protection-for-californias-western-joshua-trees-2021-02-22/.
Olalde, Mark. “Joshua Trees Can Be Legally Protected in California, Court Rules.” The Desert Sun, Palm Springs Desert Sun, 25 Feb. 2021, www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2021/02/24/joshua-trees-can-legally-protected-court-rules/4552210001/.
Climate Stewardship focuses on regenerative approaches to energy, agriculture, and land and water use across forested, agricultural, and urban landscapes. Climate science that justifies these approaches is woven throughout the book, making it easy to learn about Earth's complex systems. “It's science in a narrative form to share what can be done and why,” says Merenlender.
The shared experiences of climate stewards featured in the book, including volunteers, Indigenous leaders and community members of color addressing climate justice, reveal that connecting with others to prevent climate disruption transcends self and provides a path to joy and hope for a better future.
Become a certified UC Climate Steward and discuss the stories with others interested in climate action.
- Author: Sarah-Mae Nelson
We've been working hard behind the scenes this year to launch the new UC Climate Stewards course in fall 2020. The 40-hour certification course from UC ANR's UC California Naturalist Program, empowers individuals to become leaders within their communities on climate solutions. Courses are delivered throughout California by trained partner organizations with expertise in science education. Many UC Climate Stewards partners will already be familiar to certified California Naturalists! Our fall partners include Pasadena City College, Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Community Environmental Council, and UC Riverside Palm Dessert Center.
The UC Climate Stewards course addresses the growing demand for training on the skills needed to effectively communicate and advance community and ecosystem resilience. Instructors combine in-person, online, and field experiences to achieve this goal. The course's five units are designed to help participants connect with each other through their personal experiences with climate change; communicate with a wide range of audiences and leverage their community connections; understand the science behind climate and earth systems along with observed and expected climate changes; develop the skills to engage in community and ecosystem resilience efforts; and demonstrate their own ability through a service oriented capstone project. A focus on the importance of social and emotional support for climate educators and learners, using systems thinking to address root causes, emphasizing community-level solutions, and the role of community and citizen science help set the course apart from other climate change education efforts.
Building on the success of the UC California Naturalist network, UC Climate Stewards will establish and support inclusive communities of practice that develop and share knowledge, as well as build statewide support and capacity to advance local and state climate goals. Our vision is for a California with engaged communities and functioning ecosystems that are resilient in a changing climate.