By Amy Rowe, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension
Reprinted from Green Knight newsletter, August 2017
Rutgers University was recently awarded a one-year planning grant to determine the feasibility of a Climate Master Volunteer program. The study will be undertaken to analyze the need for this type of volunteer education program and to determine the format and curriculum of any offerings in this subject area.
The general idea of a Climate Masters training would be to educate volunteers about climate change, adaptation, and community resiliency so that participants could make progress at the local level. It is expected that topics covered would include the science of climate change, weather impacts, coastal issues, agriculture adaptation, and policy matters. The study will also determine if a new, separate training is necessary or if climate change could be folded into existing extension programming like the Rutgers Master Gardeners and/or Rutgers Environmental Stewards programs.
The funding is from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the grant is in collaboration with 8 other land-grant universities in the Northeast, with Cornell University as the lead institution. Rutgers is a member of the USDA Northeast Climate Hub and the Rutgers Climate Institute will work with both academic professors and extension agents on this grant. The study will start with a literature review, followed by a resource inventory of community-based climate initiatives, then a needs assessment will be undertaken specifically for Northeast states.