June 2016
Priority Deadline for Project Applications is July 1st
Apply now to receive fellow support for your projects.

CivicSpark Fellowship: Priority Deadline is July 15th!
Visit our website to learn more and apply to become a CivicSpark Fellow! Like us on Facebook to  get the latest news and to see what our fellows are up to.
Fellows Serving Their Communities
As part of their service year, fellows have the opportunity to create volunteer engagement projects  that support the communities they serve. By working closely with their project partner or with another local community-based organization, fellows develop projects that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience in the community while increasing volunteerism in the region. The projects that fellows organized and executed thus far are as diverse as they are impactful in engaging community members to take climate action.

Southern California
Panorama City Planting Day
In April, fellows in Southern California put their volunteer project, Panorama City Planting Day,into action. Volunteers included including representatives from the Office of Congressman Tony Cardenas and the Office of Councilmember Nury MartinezFor their project, fellows and their volunteers assisted in maintaining and restoring 19 properties that had previously been retrofitted to conserve water by WaterLA, a nonprofit organization. Their event helped spread awareness about native landscaping and water conservation.
Los Angeles
Stewardship Events
Los Angeles fellows Sergio Avelar, Megan Hines, and Teresa Perez partnered with a non-profit organization, Amigos de los Rios , who  works towards  creating sustainable open spaces and preserving the environment in underserved areas of Southern California.  Their project is ongoing as they are providing continuous volunteer outreach and mobilization for the organization's restoration events held every Saturday. Some of their efforts include drafting and sending out letters to schools and organizations in order to foster greater participation, and to help  manage the volunteers and partake in the restoration work, such as planting and mulching, during the Saturday events.

 Central Coast
GRID Alternatives
The Central Coast fellows have been volunteering with the non-profit solar installer, GRID Alternatives . GRID Alternatives' mission is "to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to under-served communities." Over the last several months, the fellows have helped GRID Alternatives install solar panels at 5 homes along the Central Coast. Their goal with GRID is to acquire the necessary solar installation skills to become Team Leaders and be able to build capacity for the organization by recruiting and leading volunteers in a culminating install this August.

 San Joaquin Valley
Bike Education
Fellow Rebecca True and her volunteers, along with the Merced County Association of Governments, spent a 
weekend educating local residents about bicycle safety and maintenance at the Merced County Fair The purpose was to encourage bicycling county-wide and change the perception of bikes from being dangerous to both riders and motorists to being a viable form of transportation. Visitors to the fair booth were engaged in the safety information and demonstrations and won prizes for being active participants, while also learning valuable lessons about taking care of a bike and the rules of the road.

Community Resilience Internship Program and WE CAN
Fellow Mitchelle De Leon created an internship program as a unique volunteer opportunity for college students in Fresno County to work on local sustainability projects. The interns assisted in outreaching to homeowners for the Water-Energy Community Action Network San Joaquin Valley (WE CAN SJV) project, which helps residents of disadvantaged communities turn their lawns into drought-tolerant landscapes. During a lawn conversion event, Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula came out to support their efforts to save water.

Energize Colonial Heights
Fellows in the Sacramento region and their volunteers helped make four homes in the Colonial Heights neighborhood in Sacramento more energy efficient through their Energize Colonial Heights event. They did this by completing basic upgrades such as weather stripping, caulking, and LED lighting installation, among other things. The group also handed out 30 low flow shower heads to promote water conservation.

 Sierra Nevada
Mountain Garden
Fellows Jill and Alyssa from the Sierra Nevada partnered with a local nonprofit called the Tahoe Food Hub. Volunteers helped with a few key farm projects while learning about aquaponics and composting at high altitude. They leveled a dirt area and created a washing station out of an old bathtub, built new composting bins, and planted vegetables in a "Growing Dome" designed specifically for high altitude agriculture.

Thank You to Our Sponsors
Thank you to  Wells Fargo, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG),  American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP), and Michael Baker International  for sponsoring CivicSpark! Wells Fargo has sponsored 6 Resiliency Fellows throughout our state and SCAG has sponsored 3 fellows in the Southern California region. ASAP is providing complimentary one-year membership for our fellows and regional coordinators, and Michael Baker International is providing material support by hosting a fellow in their office. Thank you for your support!
Regional Spotlights
Energy Assurance in Humboldt County
Since February, fellow Jamie Zouras has primarily spent her days working on an Energy Assurance Planning (EAP) project for Humboldt County. Specifically, she is helping develop a framework to identify and prioritize critical assets and services in the County, which will assist local governments in creating their own EAPs. The project encourages local governments to be better prepared and able to help communities survive and recover from catastrophic natural hazards. Redwood Coast Energy Authority, Jamie's host agency, is always looking for new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and Jamie is thrilled to gain new experience in promoting and demonstrating how energy independence can improve safety and mitigate climate change impacts by constructing sustainable micro-grid energy generation and storage systems. The small project team consists of Jamie and her supervisor, providing for a challenging, yet rewarding opportunity to work on a hands-on community resilience project. 

GHG Inventories and Energy Efficiency in Contra Costa
For Bay Area fellow Amaury Berteaud - who serves three different project partners by working on multiple projects - there is never a shortage of excitement, intrigue, challenges, and sage advice. For Contra Costa County and the City of Pittsburg, he has been working on conducting energy efficiency outreach to small and medium businesses. This work has come to fruition and they are in the process of sending a mail-out to 5,000 businesses in Contra Costa, in official Contra Costa and Pittsburg letterheads and envelopes. The mail out will also include energy efficiency and informational recycling flyers.  For the City of Antioch, he is working on updating the 2005 and 2010 GHG inventories to ensure that the same sources of data and methods are used throughout. He is also creating the 2015 inventories. With the invaluable help of the other fellows working on GHG inventories, Amaury's work is almost ready.  Although this year will soon be over, he is excited to see what the next three months will bring.

Urban Forestry in Los Angeles
Fellow Daniel Maloney is working to design the LA Johnny Appleseed Project in maintaining the tree canopy in Los Angeles. This has blossomed into a project that will hopefully encompass the whole County of Los Angeles (of 10 million people), a tree committee, 37 County Departments, disadvantaged communities, a detention center, and many other good folks. The tree program started off at the most unlikely place, the Sheriff's Pitchess Detention Center (that currently houses 8,000 inmates), which ended with a plan to begin a fully closed-loop sustainability tree project of planting 30,000 trees ranging from 1 gal. to 5 gal. and to 15 gal. trees on a 30-40 acre lot. The project would involve inmates to work for reduced sentence times and also to create a more community engagement tree project. Some plans that they are creating and implementing are to use the grey water from the two kitchens onsite, use locally sourced compost from the Detention Center's compost facility, and possibly utilize hydroponics or aquaponics to grow tree seeds in order to reduce soil and water usage. Daniel looks forward to the second half of of his CivicSpark term to see how can be accomplished. 

Fellow Spotlights
Question of the Month: "What are your favorite eco-friendly activities to do during the summer?"
Megan Waters, Bay Area Region
A: "Simply put,
eco-friendly means 'not harmful to the environment.' It's difficult to think of a recreational human activity that is not harmful to the environment. With the exception of maybe volunteer work (e.g. habitat restoration, beach cleanups, or something similar), every excursion I could go on or recreational activity I could pursue could be harmful to the environment. In the summer, I like to go to the beach to swim and (try to) surf, to hike through the redwoods, and to pick ripe berries at coastal organic farms. These activities may not seem harmful, but traveling to and from the locations where these types of activities are available does cause harm to the environment. I don't want to give up my favorite pastimes, though, so I try to mitigate my impact by carpooling or taking public transit. This idea of impact mitigation is the focus of most CivicSpark fellows' projects in local government--whether we are dealing with issues in water, transportation, air quality, agriculture, or natural resources like ecosystems, we are constantly asking ourselves and encouraging others to think about their own environmental impact day-to-day in the hopes that we will create the behavioral changes necessary for a sustainable future."

Megan swapped her sprawling suburb of Rockville, MD for the quaint town of Princeton, NJ for five years, where she studied Politics and Environment, and trained for the 2012 Olympic Swimming Trials. After Trials, she devoted her time to helping young athletes develop their skills and hone their passion for swimming as a Division III assistant coach. Academic conversations with her swimmers reignited her motivation to become part of something bigger than herself: to re-enter the environmental community and engage in conversations about health, mobility, conservation, and sustainability. Megan interned for both Rock Creek Conservancy and the National Association of Regional Councils, and plans on pursuing graduate studies in urban planning.

Mackenzie Bolger, Southern California Region
A: "With the 104 degree temperatures we've been experiencing here in SoCal, staying cool while being eco-friendly can be a bit of a challenge. Never afraid of a challenge, however, I frequently undertake activities such as hiking to the waterfalls in the San Gabriel Mountains (except not right now with the fires), swimming in our (passively solar heated) pool, or weaving hemp macrame hanging baskets for my native succulent garden while laying in my hammock, wearing lightweight organic unbleached cotton, and using my bamboo tableware to eat a refreshing vegan avocado salad, locally sourced from my own front yard! "

Mackenzie is committed to transforming Southern California into a socially just, environmentally healthy, and economically vital region that will model sustainability for the rest of the world. Her passions for environmental justice and sustainable urbanism were ignited and expanded in her pursuit of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Justice Studies with a minor in Sustainability from Arizona State University. Through her work and in her (not so) spare time, she does everything she can to ensure a good life for her perfect miniature human, Ean.

CivicSpark Great Stories
Jill Sanford, Sierra Nevada Region
There are numerous professional reasons to participate in CivicSpark, but I have to say one of the most significant ways it has impacted my personal life has been to cause me to think more about my own impact on the environment....

Benjamin Silverman, Bay Area South Region
In the month of May, one of my chief ongoing tasks was working on the USDN financial scan factsheets....

Mikael Matossian, Los Angeles Region
Over the course of the past month, I have had the delight of meeting and working with Climate Action Santa Monica (CASM), a locally based, grassroots organization dedicated to activating the Santa Monica community to take action on climate change....

Aaron Presberg, 2014-15 Los Angeles Region Alum
It has been 9 months since the end of my service year with CivicSpark and I still can't decide if that seems like a long time ago or if it seems like just yesterday....

Zenia Montero, 2014-15 San Joaquin Valley Region Alumna
During my service year, I learned so much about the Central Valley and I became passionate about addressing the environmental issues that impact its local communities....

Read these Great Stories and more at http://civicspark.lgc.org/blog.
Upcoming Events
CivicSpark 2016-17 Fellow Recruitment Webinars

CivicSpark is recruiting fellows for the 2016-17 service year! The priority deadline is  July 15th . Please help us spread the word about the program to anyone who may be interested in applying.

If you'd like to learn more about the program, please join us for one of our informational webinars on the CivicSpark Fellowship to gain more information about the program, the recruitment process, and the new CivicSpark Water Action Fellowship!

- Monday, July 25 at 3:30pm
- Wednesday, August 24 at 12:30pm

Registration is now open for  the  2nd California Adaptation Forum  - the premier convening of 1,000+ leaders, practitioners, and advocates to gather, discuss, debate, and consider how we can most effectively respond to the impacts of climate change.  The forum, hosted by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the State of California,  will take place on September 7th-8th in Long Beach, CA.

The California Climate Change Symposium will feature cutting edge climate science methods, resources, and updates, while the California Adaptation Forum's program will highlight policy, best practices, implementation, and more.

Register TODAY for either CAF, CCCS, or both by following this link.

The 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference is coming to St. Louis, Missouri! The conference will take place  February 2-4, 2017  at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel.

The Local Government Commission is conducting a formal Call for Session Proposals for the Conference. The organizers are looking for interactive session proposals of all types under thematic categories such as community resilience and energy independence, equitable development and environmental justice, and transportation. The new extended deadline is July 5, 2016.
About CivicSpark
CivicSpark is a statewide Governor's initiative AmeriCorps program implemented by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. Eight regional hubs host 48 Fellows across California, building capacity for local government agencies to address climate change. The 2015-16 service year started on Oct. 19 th , 2015 and will go through Sept. 2016.