January 2019
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

More than 50 years after his passing, Dr. Martin Luther King’s words ring true today. They remind us that moral leadership doesn’t require a person to be in elected office or hold a position of power. Instead, exercising moral authority simply requires the will to do the right thing... " Governor Gavin Newsom, Governor Newsom Statement on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

CivicSpark Fellows throughout the state spent the day providing service in their regions with activities ranging from volunteering at local food banks to clearing brush and planting trees.
North Coast Fellows served alongside the Friends of the Dunes organization by participating in a park clean-up event. Fellows helped to clean up the Manila Community Park, situated right on the Humboldt Bay, while enjoying the beautiful king tides.
Sacramento / Sierra Fellows will be working with Yolo Food Bank to help sort donated food and pack rice and beans to be redistributed to partnering organizations and other food banks. Prior to and following the service activity, Fellows will be touring food bank and warehouse and then discussing social equity issues relating to food access and local food systems.
Central Inland Fellows partnered with the Sacramento Food Bank to assist in the packing and boxing of food to help feed the 244,000 food insecure people in Sacramento County. Following their service with the Sacramento Food Bank, Fellows engaged in a discussion on the importance and relevance of Martin Luther King, Jr. to today’s society and their individual lives.
Bay Area Fellows spent MLK day partnered with Groundwork Richmond. The Fellows, along with volunteers from several other organizations, volunteered on the Richmond Greenway by doing trash pick-up, mulching, tree planting, or a mix of all three.
Inland Empire Fellows served with the community gardening organization, Huerta del Valle, in Jurupa Valley as they prepared a site for their second community garden. Fellows also did a toxic tour of several cities in the Inland Empire with the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice in Jurupa Valley, learning about the environmental burdens faced by these communities.  
Central Coast Fellows partnered with the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo (ECOSLO) to help clear brush and plant trees at Los Osos Community Park. In the afternoon, Fellows guided discussions on racial equity and attended “Communities Together, Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” a community event hosted by NAACP San Luis Obispo Chapter, Congregation Beth David, and RACE Matters SLO County.
Greater Los Angeles and San Diego Fellows partaked in a creative workshop and guided tour of the California African American Museum (CAAM) at Exhibition Park, Los Angeles and spent time learning about the Los Angeles Freedom Rally 1963 Exhibition where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed nearly 40,000 people at Wrigley Field in South Los Angeles. Following the tour at CAAM, Fellows continued the service day at RootDownLA's micro-farm, where they helped plant and clean the farm to support their healthy food, equity and environmental justice work in South LA.
CivicSpark "Salmon and Science" Video now on YouTube!
CivicSpark AmeriCorps 2017-18 Fellows Katherine Perkins and Cassandra Miller talk about their experiences with salmon research on the Lower American River, sharing their knowledge of science, strength, and who will save the planet.

Produced by the Local Government Commission, with interviews recorded by StoryCorps, a national nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.

Huge thank you to Jon DeHart at LGC for creating this animated video and to Nirajana Ela Banerjee for sound editing!
Regional Spotlights
Stormwater in Lake County
Alex Sharp is working with the City of Lakeport’s Public Works Department in Lake County. Her primary role is assisting the City in a Stormflow Assessment, in which she is collecting and analyzing stormflow data to identify where infiltration and intrusion issues reside in the sewer collection system. Alex’s findings on this project will help the City mitigate future flood damage following major storm events. Alex is also working with her supervisor to assess the current capacity of the City’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants to effectively prepare the City for future development. In addition, Alex has helped organize regional water utility management trainings and has participated in a number of meetings that aim to support improved community vitality for Lake County and beyond. Alex is enjoying this opportunity to work with influential leaders in the water industry and to be a part of an effort to bring long-term sustainability to Lakeport.
Connectivity in Ventura County
Sasha Burrows has been working as an Opportunity Access Fellow in Camarillo for the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC) and Ventura County. He has been working on a project to improve connectivity within Ventura County by identifying the most important institutions that have the largest social and economic impacts on the communities in which they are rooted. These “anchor institutions” include hospitals, doctors’ offices, schools, libraries, police and fire stations, city halls, and more. Sasha has created a database of these institutions for the entire county as well as the individual cities within the county. His next step is to obtain approval of these lists from the cities and to aid the BCPC in creating more collaboration and discussion between the cities’ GIS teams. The end goal of this project is to create a faster and improved connection between the most valuable institutions within communities. In addition, Sasha has been aiding the BCPC with a communication plan and a website, and has been serving as a liaison between the BCPC and the County GIS team. 
Messaging Climate Change in Los Angeles County
Jessica Cervantes is a Climate Fellow serving the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health . Jessica is working alongside Climate Fellow Michael Jimenez in the department’s Climate Change and Sustainability Program. As part of their service project, they are co-leading the Climate Champions Project, a department-wide initiative to integrate climate change messaging into departmental programs. As a part of the project, they are currently developing messages to inform and engage the general public about the nature of climate change and the health co-benefits associated with taking action to reduce emissions. In addition to her work on the Climate Champions Project, Jessica also represents the department at meetings and workgroups, such as the County Healthy Design Workgroup, County Tree Committee, and County Sustainability Coordinating Council Committee. Jessica is excited for the next steps in the Climate Champions Project and is looking forward to directly engage with LA County residents on addressing the health impacts of climate change.
Fellow Spotlights
Question of the Month : "As an AmeriCorps member, service is a critical component of the CivicSpark model - How do you give back to your community? Why is service important to you ? "
Lizzie Carrade | Bay Area Region
"Service is important to me because it allows me to connect with my community and my Earth. I love how volunteers empower one another and spread kindness and compassion, all while contributing to a good cause. As a nature enthusiast, I enjoy participating in habitat restoration projects."

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Lizzie Carrade became interested in California environmental politics and policy early in life. She graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in government and legal studies in 2018, and plans to apply that knowledge to a career in sustainability. After writing her senior thesis on sea level rise and climate change litigation in California, she is thrilled to be working with the City of Albany as it implements its Climate Action Plan 2.0. She is excited to get hands-on experience working with a city government, and learning more about how local government offices can prepare for the effects of climate change.
Joseph Santiago II | Sacramento Region
"Hurricanes have always been a part of my summers growing up. During particularly bad seasons, (2004 comes to mind) clearing debris from our streets, checking up on elderly neighbors and welcoming people over to use our electric generator became a seasonal activity.

Service to me is about putting in work and spreading positive vibes when you have the capacity to do so. In 2017, after Hurricane Maria tore through my ancestral homeland, two friends and I organized a hurricane relief drive, raising over $3,000 and collecting over 200 lbs. of supplies to distribute in the impoverished mountainous regions of Puerto Rico. I was proud of the work we accomplished with the local emergency services department there and the support we were able to gather from friends, family, and our networks stateside. Most of all, I was moved by the bravery, resiliency, and love I witnessed in Puerto Rico."

Joseph Santiago II grew up in Orlando, Florida. Following high school, he completed his Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Urban Environments with a minor in Business Technology Management at New York University. While enrolled there, he was an active member of Delta Lambda Phi, the nations first fraternity founded by gay men for all, male-identifying and progressive men regardless of sexual orientation. During his time in college Joseph also interned at two environmentally conscious organizations, Sustainable South Bronx and Build it Green NYC. Joseph spent much of his childhood on the beaches of Cape Canaveral, Florida, awed by the juxtaposition of undisturbed sand dunes at Playalinda Beach, and the remarkable human achievements happening at Kennedy Space Center. Joseph hopes to build upon his experiences serving as a CivicSpark Fellow for the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District to launch a career in Urban Planning with a desire to help cities adapt for the realities of climate change. In his free time you”ll find Joseph riding his bicycle (or motorcycle), hiking, or enjoying a drag show in the city.
Great Stories
Sierra Huffman, 2018-19 Climate Fellow - North Coast Region
" For someone as shy as I am, simply communicating with my co-workers and supervisors was one of the hardest parts. I’ve embarrassed myself, sent poorly written emails, and performed faulty mathematics. Yet, despite the setbacks I’ve gained a sense of confidence to the likes of which I’ve never had before. I’ve learned quickly, created tasks, collected resources, and gained a new passion for renewable energy. .. "

Naomi Lopez, 2018-19 Opportunity Access Fellow - Central Inland Region
" I reflected deeply on how working within and getting to know an amazing group of people who are at the forefront of sustainable practices in California and will implement their vision for future generations to come. I had almost forgotten at how important I thought sustainability was and it’s been very refreshing and nice to be around people who feel the same . .. "

Marjan Kris Abubo, 2018-19 Water Fellow - Greater Los Angeles Region
"For the past couple months, I’ve been volunteering at a community lot-to-garden space in Los Angeles. The group that runs it, The Regenerative Collective, is a small band of autonomous organizers committed to converting an abandoned gas station into a community garden space. For the past two months, I’ve been pulling weeds, planting native California plant species, and breaking down — or more specifically, decolonizing — the concept of sustainability and environmentalism . .."
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 .
GRID Alternatives LA Energy & Equity Policy Series (LEEPS)
February 28, 2019 | Long Beach, CA
9:30 AM - 2:30 PM

Join GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles on Thursday, February 28th for the fourth Los Angeles Energy and Equity Policy Series event -  Our Shared Solar Future: Expanding Access through Community Sola r.

This conference will bring together policymakers, advocates, and experts from the environmental & climate justice, and clean energy spaces to discuss the growing impact of community solar around the country; and which policy developments need to take place in California to ensure expanded solar access to its most vulnerable residents.

Buy tickets  here !
California Shared Mobility Policy and Modeling Workshop
March 22, 2019 | Berkeley, CA
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Save the Date! Learn how shared mobility is transforming California communities! Join UC Berkeley's Transportation Sustainability Research Center for an interactive workshop featuring discussion son how public agencies are incorporating shared mobility into public policy and modeling, how they are sharing data with the public sector, and challenges they would like to solve.

The afternoon will feature breakout sessions on micromobility policy and transportation modeling followed by a discussion of how to prepare California for a shared automated vehicle future.

Learn more here . Questions? Contact Adam Cohen at apcohen@berkeley.edu .
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  www.civicspark.lgc.org .