March 2016
Now Accepting Project Applications for the 2016-17 Service Year

We are now accepting project applications for the 2016-17 service year (October 2016 - September 2017)! CivicSpark provides high-quality support services to assist local governments with their climate change related research, planning, and project implementation initiatives. Learn more at .
2015-16 Mid-Year Gathering Highlights

A total of 43 fellows, along with regional coordinators and LGC staff, reunited at the Happy Valley Conference Center in Santa Cruz, CA from March 15-18. Fellows had the opportunity to engage in various breakout sessions on service project topics, such as climate action plans, water, and transportation. Regional coordinators and LGC staff held professional development sessions on several topics, including public speaking, grant writing, and grad school, among others. Michael McCormick from the Governor's Office of Planning and Research also joined us to provide an update on state policy and learn about local efforts on the ground.

This was also a time for fellows and staff to relax, meet new fellows, and spend  time bonding during morning runs among the Santa Cruz hills, swimming at the beach, and showing off their talents during Open Mic Night. The first Annual CivicSpark Field Day was held on the second day of the gathering, in which regions competed in a variety of games in order to win the coveted first place. 

After a refreshing mid-year gathering, fellows are reinvigorated to continue their impactful service projects!

A Message from OPR
I was excited to meet the CivicSpark fellows during the Mid-Year Gathering. Unfortunately, LGC staff are true champions at tetherball and I left defeated. However, my CivicSpark jacket still smells like a campfire and my memories hold many fantastic conversations. Some great ideas were generated that I will be acting on in the next few months. We are working hard to connect fellows to the State folks that can help them most, as well as to set up a master services agreement with the State so that agencies can work more deeply with the CivicSpark program. 

Sincerely ,

Michael McCormick, AICP
Senior Planner, California Governor's Office of Planning     and Research.
Regional Spotlights
Clean Transportation in Eureka
North Coast fellow Amanda Le currently works on transportation projects at the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) in Eureka, specifically electric vehicle (EV) implementation and fuel cell vehicle (FCV) readiness planning. Both are made possible through two main grants awarded by the California Energy Commission (CEC). Much of her contribution revolves around outreach: a Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Awareness Newsletter series for the general public, an electric vehicle charging station (EVCS) guide for potential owners/ operators, and EV Ride and Drive events. Additionally, the RCEA recently partnered with local North Coast organizations and organized a Clean Cities Symposium, in which local North Coast stakeholders, with two simulcast cities, were invited to discuss the opportunity to create a Clean Cities coalition in the North State region through the US Department of Energy's Clean Cities program

Recycling in the City of Richmond
Fellow Samantha Carr is working in the City of Richmond, which is abuzz with activity. Currently, the City is working to finish their CAP, update their 2015 Strategic Business Plan, and implement a plethora of new climate focused projects funded through the Environmental and Community Investment Agreement. Sam has worked on various projects with Richmond, including one in which she helped to implement a new recycling program at one of the Richmond Housing Authority apartment buildings in January. Another project has been working to implement a recycling option along city streets and in seven high-use parks. Sam started this project on Day 1 of the program, finished all the research in January, and presented the plan to the City Manager in February. 

Water Management in Santa Ana
Fellow Arya Moalemi has worked on two separate projects at two separate water agencies in the Inland Empire. Alongside the planning team at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, he contributed to the creation of regional planning documents. He's excited to be part of the research and development of documents that will guide the agency for the future. With his recent transition to the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, he's excited to start working closely with a program that will directly provide water and energy savings to disadvantaged communities all throughout the vast watershed region. It will be a great switch from a regional focus to water management and conservation to an individual focus.

Fellow Spotlights
Question of the Month: What did you enjoy most from the CivicSpark mid-year gathering?
Alexis Krekel, Sacramento Region
A:  "The thing that I enjoyed most about the CivicSpark mid-year gathering was reconnecting with my fellow Sparkies! It was great to have the opportunity to swap experiences and see how much we have grown as a group. "

Alexis is a graduate of University of Idaho and received her Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science. In 2011 she was invited to be a researcher for PBS/DPTV Corps of Discovery. Currently, she is an instructor for Kaplan College and administers the ACT and SAT. In her free time, she enjoys reading books, playing video games, racing cars, listening to music, and being outdoors.
Benjamin Silverman, Bay Area Region
A: "I believe the greatest benefit from the mid-year gathering was the opportunity to communicate and share best practices amongst fellows working on similar projects. Learning about how other fellows have overcome related problems in fields such as energy efficiency, benchmarking, climate action planning, and sustainable transportation policy was of great utility."

Benjamin graduated with an MS in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management from The New School in NYC and received his BA in Economics from the University of Vermont. He previously interned with the NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability working on climate mitigation for major civil society institutions, building energy efficiency regulations and city building retro-commissioning. He is also a LEED Green Associate and has worked in the past for a green building consulting company in areas around Energy Star benchmarking, lighting audits, and sustainable operations and maintenance tracking.

Katie Webster, Central Coast Region
A: " For me, the mid-year gathering was a chance for collaboration and learning. Each breakout session and group discussion offered an opportunity to hear new ideas from my peers and my supervisors. We all have been working tirelessly on our individual projects these past months, so it was great to be able to come together and share our successes and challenges with each other and take those lessons home with us. I think each fellow gained some valuable insight from our cohort collaboration."

Katie recently earned her degree in Marine Biology from Auburn University. During her time at Auburn, she conducted a study looking at how climate change affects deep-sea organisms in Antarctica. Katie is excited to move to San Luis Obispo from Georgia to begin her career in sustainability.

CivicSpark Great Stories
Laura Moser, 2014-15 Sacramento Region Alumna

I'm Laura Moser, a CivicSpark alumna from last year's Sacramento team.

For the last three months, I traveled throughout Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. It was an incredible experience, but reminders were everywhere of the tension between society and nature, from the thick blanket of smog covering Santiago to a baby sea lion in Uruguay that we saw struggling with a scrap of fishing net around its neck.

But we also saw hope.....
Amaury Berteaud, Bay Area North Region

The goal of this poem was twofold. First, to find a collective name for members of the CivicSpark program (beyond Sparkies). Second, to remake a tragic poem by Lord Tennyson (The Charge of the Light brigade) into a hopeful and hopefully humorous poem about what I feel CivicSpark is about....

Megan Hines, LA Region

There I stood looking out into a sea of inmates in blue and yellow jumpsuits. Many thoughts went through my mind including, "what the heck did you get yourself into Megan" "don`t make eye contact" and "it`s like I`m in one of those criminal shows on TV!"...
Read these Great Stories and more at:
Upcoming Events
CivicSpark 2016-17 Project Partner Informational Webinars

Register Today for one of three webinars: 
Monday 3/28 at 10am,  Wednesday 4/13 at 1pm, or  Wednesday 4/27 at 10am

During the webinar, you will learn about being a project partner with CivicSpark for the 2016-17 Service Year, and having a CivicSpark AmeriCorps member work on climate action projects in your community. This 1-hour webinar will cover the program structure, application process, and local match costs. There will be time for questions at the end. Register at: 

CivicSpark 2016-17 State Informational Webinars

Register Today for one of two webinars: 
Tuesday 4/12 at 2:30pm, or Monday 4/18 at 10am

Join this webinar to learn about working with CivicSpark for the 2016-17 Service Year, and having a CivicSpark AmeriCorps member work on projects that advance your agency goals and support local climate action progress all while fostering emerging climate leaders. This 1-hour webinar will cover the program structure, past state agency partnerships and projects, the application process, and local match costs. There will be time for questions at the end. Register at: 

Don't miss the 25th Annual California Water Policy Conference on April 20-21, 2016 at the UC Davis Conference Center!

The California Water Policy Conference is an important forum that brings leaders from the agricultural, urban, academic, and environmental communities together to discuss policy issues impacting California's water management decisions.

Who Should Attend: 
Officials and staff at all levels of government 
Business, agricultural and environmental leaders 
                                          Academics and students 
                                          Members of the public interested in California water policy

For more information and to register, click  here

The Local Government Commission is offering a series of in-depth trainings in the coming months that aim to address some of the most pressing water issues in the San Joaquin Valley, including water conservation and groundwater management. Join us at these trainings and learn how to make your community water strong!

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) Certification Courses: $50 each, $80 for both 
  • Comprehensive base QWEL: April 26-28th
  • Graywater QWEL: May 24-26th
Both of these trainings  will take place at the Ted C. Wills Community Center in Fresno (770 N. San Pablo Avenue). Trainees who complete the combined 20 hours of coursework and pass the qualifying exams will earn US EPA QWEL certification. Register today!

Community Engagement in Water Resource Planning Workshop: $50
  • May 3rdCity of Reedley, 100 N. East Ave, Reedley
This training will focus on the principles of community-based social marketing, tools for making water conservation programs more effective, and how to conduct effective stakeholder engagement. Participants will also gain an understanding of SGMA and groundwater management in the region. Register today!

For more info, visit:
Save the date! The Local Government Commission , in partnership with the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative , is hosting the 7th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum  from June 15 th  to June 16 th  in Riverside, CA. This forum, expanded to take place over 2 full days, is offered at no-cost to California local governments and will feature updates from key state agencies, highlight innovative local energy and climate change programs, offer capacity-building trainings, and provide several networking opportunities.

Save the Dates!

Don't miss this last opportunity to submit your session proposal for the 2nd  California Adaptation Forum  organized by the  Local Government Commission  in partnership with the  State of California . The Call for Session Proposals (CFSP) process is open through  April 4th ! You can submit your session proposals

About the Forum
The two-day event will be the premier convening for a multi-disciplinary group of decision makers, leaders and advocates to discuss, debate and consider how we can most effectively respond to the impacts of climate change. 

The 2016 California Adaptation Forum will feature: 
  • A series of plenaries with high-level adaptation leaders
  • A variety of sessions highlighting resources, best practices, lessons learned, new legislation and other essential adaptation topics
  • Pre-forum regional project tours highlighting local adaptation and resilience efforts
  • Pre-forum workshops on tools and strategies for implementing adaptation solutions 
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.