December 2018
Happy New Year from CivicSpark!
Happy New Year to the CivicSpark community! As many of already know, the start of 2019 is bittersweet for me; after three and a half years, I will be leaving my position as the Senior Project Manager of the CivicSpark program. In the weeks since I have told staff and Fellows about my transition, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the work that CivicSpark does and the incredible community of partners, Fellows, alumni, and allies that I have had the privilege of being a part of. As I’ve processed all that this experience has meant to me, I’ve been finding myself reluctant to embrace change, which is ironic given how much change has defined CivicSpark’s path over the past several years.

When I joined the Local Government Commission back in 2015, CivicSpark was still in our inaugural service year. Since then, we have grown from 48 to 90 Fellows and from 2 to 11 full-time staff members. We have added water, affordable housing, and broadband projects to our program scope, and our 300+ Fellows have served hundreds of local public agencies in 52 of California’s 58 counties. CivicSpark is where it is now thanks to all of the feedback and input we’ve received from all of you, and a willingness to embrace change, particularly on the part of our Fellows and staff.

Now that we are in our fifth service year, I strongly believe that the best is yet to come for CivicSpark. While it’s hard for me to step away from the program during such an exciting time, I’m grateful for CivicSpark’s stellar staff, who have been working hard behind the scenes to make this transition as smooth as possible. I’m particularly thankful for Kif Scheuer, LGC’s Climate Change Program Director, who will be stepping in to guide CivicSpark forward in my absence. Much of what I’ve focused on throughout my time with CivicSpark is improving the Fellow and partner experience, and I’m confident that this team will work to make this program even stronger in the years ahead.

There is so much that I will miss about CivicSpark: getting to work with our amazing Fellows and partners, organizing goofy team-building games at Orientation, watching open mic night at Redwood Glen, getting teared up at graduation, receiving updates from alumni as they journey to new cities and roles, and the list goes on. THANK YOU ALL for making these past three and a half years so impactful and memorable. While change is never easy, I will be working on embracing it with open arms throughout 2019. As I look to the months ahead, I’m so excited for all of the transition and growth yet to come for the CivicSpark program (and you can bet I’ll be cheering it all on from afar)!

Kristen Wraithwall
Regional Spotlights
Climate Resilience in the Bay Area
Yeshe Salz is a Climate Fellow working in climate resilience at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission . Yeshe’s biggest project has her serving as the Project Manager for the newly launched Bay Area Climate Adaptation Network (BayCAN). Within this, she is especially focused on developing an equity framework through which BayCAN will function, drawing upon expert advice and research to make sure the regional collaborative is prioritizing equitable practices both within its internal structures and through the resources it provides its members. Right now Yeshe is helping plan a workshop for Bay Area local governments to learn how to implement equitable, community-driven adaptation planning. She is also planning out a unit on climate justice for BayCAN’s coalition-wide meeting in February in which she aims to uplift community voices and help local governments to begin doing this type of collaborative work with their own communities. Yeshe is grateful for this opportunity to gain experience in multi-stakeholder coalition building and equitable planning for community resilience.
Community Climate Adaptation and Resilience in the Sierra Nevada
It’s been a whirlwind few months for Simone Cordery-Cotter, a Colorado native who moved from Denver to Truckee to serve as a Climate Fellow working on community climate adaptation and resilience. Beside the fact that she's moments from the mountains, Simone feels incredibly lucky to be working with the talented and multi-faceted team at Sierra Business Council, a triple bottom line organization that expands the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada region. Currently her work is split between supporting Nikki Caravelli (a former CivicSpark Fellow) on the various initiatives of the Sierra Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership , and implementing the Energy Action Plan for the City of Grass Valley . Sierra CAMP just successfully held the Sierra region’s state workshop for the Fourth Climate Assessment, during which the report’s lead authors presented and engaged with key stakeholders and agency members from the state all the way to the local government level. Simone also recently facilitated the first working group meeting for Grass Valley’s EAP, and will continue to drive community progress forward .
Environmental Education in Riverside County
Early in the month, Water Fellow Oswaldo Martinez was recognized by staff for the Water 101/Professional Development Course he gave to the Fall cohort of Youth Ecology Interns at Eastern Municipal Water District . After weeks of revisions and edits, the Fellow was able to deliver EMWD Career Handbooks to the interns before their program concluded. As the holidays approach, he has been distributing a survey to staff to assess possible strategies to implement a “Sustainable Offices” campaign in 2019. Working with three other Inland Empire Fellows, he is coordinating meetings with Youth Centers in Riverside County to discuss plans to implement an “Environmental Education Program” for 3 rd -5 th  graders. He is excited to return to LA during the holidays, and launch the first steps to kick off his projects after the New Year.
Fellow Spotlights
Question of the Month : " As we approach the new year, what personal and/or professional goals do you hope to accomplish through CivicSpark in 2019? "
Jack Boyce | Central Coast Region
" I hope 2019 brings fresh vigor into my service with RCDCC and the City of Guadalupe. I feel fortunate to have experienced the pride the people of Guadalupe have in their community, and I feel strongly that 2019 will yield concrete progress for the City and it's people. Paired with my personal ambition to pursue a Master's degree in Sustainable Development next fall, I see great promise in the new year to position me for my ideal career while simultaneously contributing to a more resilient Guadalupe. "

Jack Boyce was born and raised in Encinitas, CA and recently completed his degree in Economics at Cal Poly SLO, paired with minors in Psychology and Sustainable Environments. With a passion for studying the intersection of social and environmental science, he hopes for his fellowship to reinforce his capacity in community sustainability and resilience planning. After CivicSpark, he hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development with a long-term aim to cultivate an independent consulting firm focused on aligning private and public environmental benefits.
Claudia Scott| Greater Los Angeles and San Diego Region
" On the professional side I'm looking forward to a 2019 full of new networking opportunities, training events, conferences, and other chances to learn more about the world of sustainability professionals. Personally, as one of GLA/SD's Health and Wellness Coordinators, I'm aiming to get back to being more active. It's been tough moving to a new place with new jobs but I'm excited to explore all of the unique activities Southern California has to offer! My goal is to find fun new ways to improve my health and help my fellow Fellows do the same. "

Originally from Cibolo, Texas, Claudia Scott is a recent graduate of Oberlin College. She holds majors in Biology and Politics with a minor in Environmental Studies. During her time in Oberlin she discovered her passion for sustainability policy while working with the City of Oberlin on their Climate Action Plan updates. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to promote community engagement and support sustainable city policy with CivicSpark in Encinitas. When not in the office you can find Claudia on the volleyball court, hiking, or asking if she can please pet your dog.
Great Stories
Sarah Risher, 2018-19 Climate Fellow - Sacramento and Sierra Region
" Being born into the era of climate crisis, I thought I knew what destruction looked like, watching disasters devastate various parts of the world - one if not more for nearly every year of my life - each time increasing in magnitude. But as I stood amid all the destruction with toxic smokey air filling my nose and lungs, I realized I wasn’t. .. "

Mairany Anaya, 2018-19 Climate Fellow - Inland Empire Region
" When coming back to the IE though, I continued to question whether I still had a place here and if I should have just stayed back east. I felt like an outsider trying to grasp at anything that would validate my return. After joining CivicSpark, much of my worry began to subside. .."
Upcoming Events
Upcoming Regional Climate Symposia
Long Beach, CA | Stateline, NV
Fresno, CA | San Luis Obispo, CA

The State of California has released the  Fourth Climate Change Assessment , which provides the scientific foundation for understanding climate-related vulnerability at the local scale and informing resilience actions. A series of regional workshops are being organized to showcase key findings, as well as to discuss opportunities to advance local adaptation initiatives.

Join researchers, key state agencies, local jurisdictions, and community leaders at a regional climate symposium to learn more and build connections! In the meantime, we encourage you to take the  Cal OES Adaptation Planning Guide User Needs Assessment Survey !

Learn more about the regional events here .
CivicSpark is a Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program implemented by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. Each year, 90 Fellows are placed across California in regional hubs to implement targeted projects that build capacity for local government agencies to better address community resilience issues such as climate change, water resource management, and access to opportunities.

Learn more about CivicSpark at .