November 2017
A Look Into Our 2017-18 Projects
The 2017-18 CivicSpark cohort has been busy these past three months preparing and beginning to serve their communities through their climate and water projects. From a pool of over 465 applicants, 69 outstanding candidates were selected to serve as CivicSpark Fellows for our fourth service year – an applicant-to-hire ratio of about 6.5 to 1. There are 50 Fellows serving local governments on climate projects, and 19 fellows serving on water projects. As a program, CivicSpark fellows will be engaging in 62 distinct projects and helping over 85 beneficiaries, from the North Coast of California down to the Greater LA Region of the state.
Below is a breakdown of the types of agencies we are serving this year:
  • 44 Cities and Towns
  • 19 Counties
  • 14 Special Districts
  • 5 COGs, CAGs, or MPOs
  • 3 Public Utilities
  • 2 JPAs

Learn more about our Fellows by visiting our Fellows page . CivicSpark recruits Fellows from across the nation. To see where our 2017-18 Fellows came from click here . This map shows specifics on the various projects throughout the state.
Regional Highlights
Adaptation and Resiliency in Chico 
Molly Marcussen is working with Butte County and the City of Chico , a region she has called home for the last 6 years, to develop climate change adaptation and resiliency strategies. She is conducting a climate change vulnerability assessment for both the county and the city. Molly is currently working with a group of 19 student volunteers from CSU Chico who are helping her to conduct this assessment. Molly and the student volunteers are holding a public forum December 6 th at Chico State to discuss the finding of their vulnerability assessment and explore potential adaptation strategies. After the vulnerability assessment is completed she will work with city and county staff to draft climate change adaptation and resiliency strategies to be included in the general plan to meet SB-379 regulations.

The public forum on December 6th will be held at Cal State University, Chico, Colusa Hall 100A at 5:30 PM.
Piedmont Climate Action Planning
Cody Ericksen is helping the City of Piedmont finish updating their Climate Action Plan (CAP) that will guide the City through 2030 and 2050. Cody has been supporting community engagement efforts by working closely with a climate action task force of Piedmont residents to develop the plan and helping to host a community workshop to raise awareness of the CAP. Once the CAP is adopted, Cody will begin to work on implementation, with a number of projects on the horizon including installing solar on municipal buildings, converting post top streetlights to LEDs, and investigating the potential to install public EV chargers in the city.
Water Conservation in Long Beach 
Nicki Powell is supporting water conservation projects at the Long Beach Water Department , particularly focusing on increasing water efficiency in local restaurants through the   Certified Blue Restaurant Program . By engaging with business district associations and other community organizers, she hopes to spread the importance of sustainable water management within retail stores, with a goal of certifying 100 Long Beach restaurants by the end of her fellowship. She enjoys working with restaurant owners, helping them to achieve water efficiency for their businesses and thus creating drought resiliency within the city. The Certified Blue Restaurant Program recently won the   Innovative Partnership Award at the Civic Innovation Summit, which was an exciting achievement!
Fellow Spotlights
Question of the Month : "As you get started on your projects, what have you found to be the most helpful resource?"
Edgar Rincon Estrella | Sacramento Region
"It sounds silly, but I think one of the key things I have learned (and continue to learn) is the importance of communication. How well I do this myself is open for debate, but everyone in this field seems to know everyone (I have found this both great and odd at the same time). For example, I got in contact with someone from the state's department of public health to discuss some questions regarding my urban heat project. About one month later, I received an e-mail from one of my stakeholders e-introducing me to the same person. In other words, talking and asking questions (the basics that somehow are still somewhat hard to accomplish) continue to be important."

Edgar Rincon Estrella recently graduated from Brown University with a bachelors in International Relations. He was born and raised in Mexico, but spent his teen years in northern (really north) California. He’s excited to come back to California and join the CivicSpark team. Edgar looks forward to learning and working with environmental professionals at the local level as he begins his own career path.
Chelsea Polevy | Bay Area Region
"As I get started on my projects, I've found the most helpful resource to be the people I work with – both my colleagues at the City of Albany and the Fellows in my CivicSpark cohort. Not only do they share knowledge and materials related to the projects I’m working on (articles about EV charging stations, webinars concerning sea level rise, etc.), but they also make me feel motivated and excited about the work I’m doing. In my short time as a CivicSpark Fellow, I’ve met some of the most intelligent, hardworking, and passionate people I’ve ever known! They may not realize it, but my peers challenge and inspire me to be a better version of myself every single day."

Chelsea Polevy was born and raised in New England and graduated from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst with a degree in Environmental Science in 2014. She has worked for both private environmental consulting firms and nonprofit organizations since graduating. She is currently on the Board of an environmental nonprofit in her hometown, where she develops and implements public programs that raise awareness about issues of sustainability.
Sam Kennard | Greater LA Region
"It’s been greatly beneficial to work in the same sphere as Sky, the other Water Fellow at EMWD. We don’t focus on the same specific projects, but we often share content we find to be interesting, or debrief certain meetings and concepts that surface at the water district. I not only appreciate how we can bounce ideas off of one another, but the shared accountability that comes from understanding each other's work and motivation."

Originally from Seattle, Washington, Sam Kennard graduated in June from Santa Clara University with a degree in Environmental Studies. With an emphasis in sustainability, he focused on understanding concepts related to earth systems science, energy production and resource management. As a CivicSpark Fellow, he hopes to be able to empower the community of Perris, CA to tackle water-related issues through education, communication, and outreach.
CivicSpark Great Stories
Chelsea Marcell, 2017-18 Climate Fellow - Bay Area Region
"One observation that was particularly evident that I would like to expand upon from #3 is the power of messaging. Particularly in Pittsburgh, the message that most strongly resonated with residents was the potential for health risks for family members and loved ones. Climate change is often posited as a political issue when it is truly a matter of public health and safety, which can be a very powerful tool for driving behavior change." ...
Savannah Rose, 2017-18 Climate Fellow - Greater LA Region
"First, I definitely should have listened to the other Fellows when they said I would be good on a couple gallons of water. Second, double socks were essential to sleeping in the desert at night. And lastly, good company plus the outdoors equals meaningful memories. This camping trip reminded me that these are the moments to live for. " ...
Upcoming Event
ARCCA Learning Session Series: Towards Equitable Adaptation
December 6, 2017 | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PST

Join us for the first webinar of ARCCA's Learning Session series on integrating justice and equity into climate adaptation. This webinar will provide an overview of key climate justice and equity concepts, considerations, and strategies, and highlight the Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG)'s recommendations for including frontline communities in policy and funding decisions.

17th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
February 1-3, 2018 | San Francisco, CA

Save the dates! The 17th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference is being held February 1-3, 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The 2018 conference program will feature eight thematic tracks that will provide participants an opportunity for a deeper, more dynamic hands-on learning experience. Each track will be designed to create a peer cohort of practitioners that leave with new tools, strategies, models and templates to integrate into their work – with our signature multidisciplinary theme running throughout. To learn more, please visit .

3rd California Adaptation Forum
August 28-29, 2018 | Sacramento, CA

Save the dates! The Local Government Commission invites you to join us for the 3rd California Adaptation Forum, taking place August 28-29, 2018 (with pre-forum workshops on August 27) in Downtown Sacramento!

We are currently conducting a survey to gather input on priority topics, as well as to offer an opportunity to submit ideas for sessions, network meetings, and workshops. We invite you to participate in this survey at by December 22nd.

We are also hosting an Equity and Tribal listening session, on December 18, 2-4 PM, to gather input on strategies to better integrate equity and tribal considerations into the Forum. Learn more and register at
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, 70 Fellows are placed across California in regional hubs to implement targeted projects that build capacity for local government agencies to better address climate change and water resource management issues.
Learn more about CivicSpark at .