October 2017
Impact by the Numbers: 2016-17 Service Year
In the 2016-17 service year, CivicSpark Fellows assisted with 129 public agency initiatives . These projects focused on sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, implementing climate action plans, waste reduction, water conservation, and sustainable groundwater management, among others.

With the completion of all 2016-17 projects, Fellows dedicated over 100,000 hours of service to California's urgent climate and water needs. Over the course of their 11 months, Fellows successfully implemented a wide range of climate and water actions, including:

  • Connected with over 10,000 community members through in-person events including 800 youth who participated in community projects, and 817 volunteers who provided 2,714 hours of support
  • Organized 64 community events and 56 implementation workshops
  • Completed 4 Climate/Energy Action Plans
  • Drafted 53 Climate Action Policies
  • Completed 46 Inventories
Regional Spotlight
EV Strategy in Sacramento 
Cailey McCain is excited to tackle Electric Vehicle (EV) Implementation and Readiness projects for the City of Sacramento . She is supporting efforts to release the City's first EV Strategy , which sets targets for ZEV adoption and actions to achieve them by 2025. Cailey has been supporting community engagement on ZEV initiatives including collaboration with an interagency working group, discussions with community groups and stakeholders, and a community workshop that attracted over 50 attendees. She is also analyzing the City's EV Parking Program to develop recommendations for updates by laying the groundwork for curbside charging permit guidance and developing a tool to track outcomes of the City's municipal energy efficiency projects.
Hayward Adaptation Planning
Linda Grand is working with the Hayward Area Shoreline Planning Agency (HASPA) to help the City of Hayward plan for and adapt to sea level rise. She is reviewing past vulnerability studies and researching adaptation actions that the City can pursue. Recently, she had the opportunity to tour local wastewater treatment plants and see at firsthand the wastewater treatment process and learn how they are planning for sea level rise impacts. The Oro Loma Sanitary District is experimenting with a new, innovative technique that uses local plants to clean wastewater and provide a barrier against sea level rise. She recently wrote a blog post on the City’s website about this project. Linda is very excited to learn more about sea level rise and help the City of Hayward create a plan to adapt to this inevitable impact of climate change.  
Community Involvement in Santa Ana 
Ryan Hirano and Miki Helman are supporting the Disadvantaged Community Involvement Program at the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) . Their projects include contributing to a chapter of SAWPA’s Integrated Regional Water Management plan One Water, One Watershed , initiating the CSU Water Resources Institute sponsored internship for college students in the Santa Ana River Watershed, mentoring interns once they are placed, and supporting development of a Homelessness and Water Symposium in early December. The program serves and engages members of disadvantaged communities, economically-distressed areas, and underrepresented communities in the Santa Ana River Watershed.
Fellow Spotlights
Question of the Month : "In light of recent natural disasters, what are some resiliency strategies that you think the State should focus on?"
Marina Deligiannis | Sacramento Region
" When data shows 2017 being one of the worst wildfire years for California, one can’t help but think of 1.) the potential impact humans could be having on these statistics and 2.) what can we be doing to prevent the number of wildfires per year to keep increasing at the rate that they are. In terms of resiliency, one of the most obvious things that we can focus on is helping create more fire-resilient ecosystems and communities. We can do this by ridding some of the excess “fuel” in the ecosystem (prescribed burns). Supporting agencies such as Cal Fire will allow more of a focus on these important vegetation management programs which in the long run will help the State address wild land fire fuel hazards and similar resource management issues. "

Originally from Illinois, Marina Deligiannis is a recent graduate of Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois where she earned her B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies. During her undergraduate career, Marina conducted studies on wetlands and their impact on water quality in a watershed. She also had the opportunity to work on campus restoration projects where she worked towards the goal of improving the soil and water quality throughout her campus. Marina is excited to take her passion and knowledge of water protection and conservation to help her complete her service year as a Water Fellow with the Hidden Valley Lake Community Service District in Hidden Valley Lake, CA. When she isn't playing in marshes, Marina enjoys her free time reading and practicing her ukulele. 
Julian Ruzzier-Gaul | Bay Area Region
"There is always opportunity for our leaders to keep improving resiliency strategies at the state level. A few options could include: Updating risk assessments used in state and local planning, such as assessing existing building code standards in high risk areas. Examining microgrids as a wider used utilities option. Working to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure that can be islanded with onsite generators to support evacuees who have electric cars and need to leave neighborhoods without power. Taking advantage of modern day communications to provide emergency alerts and recovery assistance to all those affected by natural disasters."

Julian was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Fairfax, California. He is a UC Davis graduate where he received a Bachelors of Science in Community and Regional Development. He is excited to continue his recent work in local government assistance as he believes in the tangible and positive impact local agencies can have on the environment and our surrounding communities. Julian is particularly interested in better understanding how to plan for a more sustainable future at all levels of government. In his free time, he likes to run, hike, backpack, and play soccer. Upon completing his fellowship, he hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in the fields of environmental management and sustainability. 
Chloe Ames | Greater LA Region
"Humans are an integral part of Californian ecosystems, and it is our responsibility to best manage the environment to mimic natural processes. This starts with building strong communities, which means uplifting those most vulnerable to climate impacts, such as under-resourced communities, and incorporating their local needs and knowledge into governmental processes. The more equitable and connected a community is, the more resilient it will be overall. "

Chloe Ames is from Huntington Beach, California and a recent graduate from Washington University in St. Louis. Growing up with a lot of access to natural settings, she gained a tremendous appreciation for the environment and became dedicated to conservation work from a young age. Through her studies as an environmental policy major and experiences in St. Louis, Chloe solidified her passion for environmental and social equity. She is excited to fight climate injustice as a CivicSpark Fellow and be part of a larger movement towards environmentally, socially and economically resilient communities.
CivicSpark Great Stories
Michael Consunji, 2017-18 Climate Fellow - Greater LA Region
" I entered into my CivicSpark service year with one goal in mind: work on agency projects in order to become more confident in my abilities and skillsets as a young professional kick starting a career in public policy, planning, and administration with an emphasis on environmental sustainability. " ...
Jose Torres, 2017-18 Water Fellow - Greater LA Region
" Covered and cemented streets for cars, adds to run-off and pollutant infiltration, which ultimately makes its way to the Ballona Creek, and eventually to the Pacific Ocean. Our placement at Culver City, aims to assist in work on on-going plans to bring this creek back to a more original state, while at the same time create something of value for future generations. " ...
Upcoming Event
ARCCA Webinar: Let's Talk Climate: Applied Research and Practical Guidance for Local Climate Engagement
October 31, 2017 | 1:00 - 2:00 PM PST
November 21, 2017 | 10:00 - 11:00 AM PST

In this two-part webinar series, participants will be equipped to communicate effectively on climate change, empowering them to create and deliver compelling messages that engage and motivate a diversity of Americans in the issue. The first session will explore how social movements in America grow and succeed, and how American values shape people's perceptions and attitudes of the climate issue and debate. The second session will provide communications and engagement guidance, including best practices and the latest research and tested messages from ecoAmerica's "Let's Talk Climate" and "15 Steps" guides.

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 newpartners.org .
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! The Forum gathers a multidisciplinary audience of 600+ climate leaders to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and mutual support to transition from adaptation awareness to planning and action through a series of engaging plenaries, sessions, workshops, networking activities, and more!

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  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CAF18 .
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   www.civicspark.lgc.org .