June 2018
Join CivicSpark's 2018-19 Cohort!
We are still accepting applications for Fellows! CivicSpark Fellows have the opportunity to implement targeted projects in support of local government agencies, and develop technical skills while creating a meaningful and lasting impact in California's communities. The second priority deadline to apply is June 29th . Applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis pending project availability.
Learn more about CivicSpark by checking out our StoryMap!
Help Us Spread the Word!

Please share the CivicSpark opportunity with anyone potentially interested in becoming a Fellow. They can learn more via our website in the link below.
Increasing Volunteerism in California

Throughout the state, Fellows have been working with their project partners and community-based organizations to create volunteer engagement projects focused on a particular local need. The variety of projects that Fellows organized and executed thus far have been impactful in engaging community members to take climate and water action!
Bay Area Fellows have partnered with a variety of community organizations to put on conservation and community garden work days, fix-it clinics, compost giveaways, tree plantings, and creek and block cleanups. They have also mobilized students to raise environmental awareness and inspire environmental action, managed interns, and worked closely with local nonprofits to provide extra capacity and help recruit and coordinate volunteer efforts.
Central Inland Fellows have engaged their communities in a host of exciting ways -- building the framework for a community garden in Ceres, bringing climate adaptation education to farmers markets in Chico and to local high schools and middle schools in Sacramento, and engaging the youth with Placer County's Climate Planning process through education and art. Other events include Transformative Writing Workshops in Tahoe, Squirrel Scouts Service Day (pull weeds, paint rocks, eat snacks, make friends!) in Cordova Creek, Community Climate Education in Fresno and a Green Team Task Force at Truckee Thursday events.
One North Coast Fellow has enjoyed engaging volunteers at GRID Alternatives solar installs in Humboldt County because of their mission to bring renewable energy technology to underserved communities. The regional GRID Alternatives supervisor noticed their enthusiasm for renewable energy and nominated them to complete a solar installation basic training accreditation, which they hope to complete by the end of their service year.
Central Coast Fellows have been working with gleaning groups in SLO and Santa Barbara Counties; GLEAN SLO and Food Forward. Gleaning is a form of food rescue, where volunteers and community members harvest local fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go uneaten. 
Regional Spotlights
City of San Leandro Public Works
Delaney King’s main focus for the service year is community engagement. She is working to involve the San Leandro community in a local energy challenge,  GoGreenSL , where households measure their carbon footprint and earn points as they take actions to shrink it. This has brought Delaney into high school science classes, community meetings, and the beloved Downtown San Leandro Farmers Market. Delaney has enjoyed turning gloomy climate predictions into uplifting calls to action and (hopefully) bringing residents closer to the wealth of opportunities available in their community. As her service year comes to a close, Delaney remains in awe of the local level’s emphasis on collaboration—teachers, other fellows, outside organizations, and the staff at Public Works are always willing to share their time and resources to enhance her community engagement efforts.
Solar for Public Agencies in Humboldt County
Tija Putelis has been working at Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) in Eureka, California with the Community Choice Aggregation team. In the spring of this year, RCEA launched a Pilot Public Agency Solar Program which assists local public agencies interested in solar by assessing the technical and economic feasibility of installation. The pilot program gained significant interest from public agencies, and Tija is helping establish tools and processes for its long-term success. Tija is building a financial model that assesses life cycle costs of a solar system taking into account scheduled maintenance and loan repayments. The model outputs key project performance indicators, such net present value, energy cost savings, and kilowatt hours produced per kilowatt installed.  
Health and Climate Change in Los Angeles
Through increasing temperatures, worsening air quality, and other impacts, climate change poses an immense threat to public health. Local health departments have the potential to play an instrumental role in addressing climate change, as research has shown that using a health perspective is most effective at communicating climate change to the public. Emily is placed with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH), within their small but mighty Climate Change and Sustainability Program. Through her service, Emily works on two main projects: a county-wide plan to use built environment interventions--such as strategically increasing trees and green space--to decrease urban heat and an internal plan to integrate climate change considerations into LACDPH’s programs. Most recently, her partner CivicSpark Fellow and she facilitated and hosted a webinar on the public health benefits of trees, which over 40 County staff and others attended. Her team is also preparing to conduct outreach on extreme heat at the County’s Parks After Dark events this summer.
Fellow Spotlights
Question of the Month : " What social issues are you most passionate about and how do you get involved? "
Natalie Mezaki | Bay Area Region
" Living in the Bay Area, the most obvious social issue we face is the housing crisis. The scale of the crisis is obvious in everything from the frenetic energy with which my friends scramble between unaffordable and uninhabitable apartments to the sprawling homeless encampments blocks from my house. Informed by my experience working on housing issues in Los Angeles, I try to give time to local organizations that do outreach to the homeless, inform my peers about our role as young people moving into the Bay, and minimize my own impact on my neighborhood by supporting local businesses as much as possible. (Still, the rent is too darn high.) "

Natalie Mezaki studied Environmental Economics and Policy at UC Berkeley with minors in Geology and Energy & Resources. Her drive to help develop California sustainably comes from a love of the outdoors, and more often than not you’ll find her on one of the many beautiful trails in the Bay Area.
Kendyl Churchman | Central Coast Region
" For me, it is important to become more educated on social issues so I can offer support where it's needed most in my community. I like to research the organizations, read articles on the topic, listen to podcasts that share a new perspective, and engage in discussions. I believe in contributing to a culture of respect and equality, so I get involved with women's shelters and providing necessities to those in need. "

Originally from Florida, Kendyl Churchman graduated from the University of Florida with a BS in Business Economics and a BA in Sustainability Studies with a minor in Entrepreneurship. After graduation, she completed a corporate leadership program and worked for two years in Texas as a Location Manager. She is passionate about sustainability issues and wants to create lasting, impactful change on the way businesses and communities interact with the environment. Her desire to use her energy to drive sustainability innovation brought her to the CivicSpark program.
Michael Consunji | Greater Los Angeles Region
"The social issue I am most concerned about is climate change. Yes, there are a million other social issues on how to best fix our culture & political climate, issues that are important and need to be addressed as soon as possible, which is great. However, our great-great-grandchildren will not have the opportunity to address those issues if the effects of climate change are too dire for our planet. Other than working for local government agencies on addressing community-specific sustainability issues, I am incorporating small "green" lifestyle changes such as eating less meat, driving less & taking more public transit, and using my reusable spork & straw whenever I can to become more sustainable and do my part in the fight against climate change."

Michael Consunji grew up his entire life in Southern California (Orange County). At Occidental College in LA, he played varsity football and also obtained a B.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy while also minoring in Education. His passion for sustainability revolves around achieving carbon neutrality through the implementation of renewable energy systems and green public policies/programs. Michael is excited and humbled by the opportunity to work as a Climate Fellow with the City of Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and Environment, and hopes that his knowledge of and passion for environmental sustainability will make a long lasting impact for generations to come in the City of Santa Monica and beyond.
CivicSpark Great Stories
Cassandra Miller, 2017-18 Water Fellow - Central Inland Region
" In addition to raising awareness of the creek, the Fellows led a children’s rock painting booth. The perpetually crowded booth soon became enveloped in rocks of all colors and designs – unicorns, basketballs, marbleized, narwhals, and more! They were able to paint rocks to keep and to donate to Cordova Creek . " ...

Patrick Pelegri-O'Day, 2017-18 Climate Fellow - Bay Area Region
" My favorite part of this month was tabling for emPower at the Santa Barbara Earth Day event. At our booth, we informed community members of all the energy efficiency programs offered at Santa Barbara County. We had kids sign on to a climate pledge, and adults sign up for the Sustainability Division’s newsletter or an emPower Energy Coach Site Visit. "...
Upcoming Events
August 27-29, 2018 | Sacramento, CA


The biennial California Adaptation Forum gathers the adaptation community to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and mutual support to create resilient communities throughout the state. The Forum offers a series of engaging plenaries, sessions, networking opportunities, workshops, and tours to support our transition from adaptation awareness and planning to action.

Visit  californiaadaptationforum.org  to learn more and

 to stay informed as the program develops

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 .