By Matilda Peck
September was an exciting time for the Climate Corps program, as we commenced the 2022-2023 program year with over 100 new Fellows. The cohort of emerging environmental leaders attended our two program orientations, signature events launching the classic Climate Corps (CC) program, and the specialized track, Climate Corps Education Outside (CCEO). Fellows had the chance to get to know one another, fostering community while building the skills of a sustainability professional.
Climate Corps Orientation
85 Fellows attended CC Orientation this year, hailing from California, Oregon, Washington, Maryland, and North Carolina. Those who were able, gathered in Preservation Park in Oakland, CA, where we held our first in-person Climate Corps Orientation since before the pandemic. The excitement of coming together was palpable, and further encouraged by opportunities for small group discussions and workshops.
The goal of CC Orientation is to prepare Fellows to implement sustainability and resiliency projects at their respective host organizations. Afterwards, each Fellow goes on to support a local government, nonprofit, or for-profit businesses, gaining real-world expertise in sustainability project implementation. This year, community was a major theme in preparing emerging professionals for the work ahead.
CC Fellows also had the opportunity to hear from Corrina Gould, the tribal spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan, who works on preserving and protecting the sacred burial sites of her ancestors throughout the Bay Area. This talk, alongside other discussions and workshops on outreach and community engagement, on climate science & impacts, and mindful leadership, made for an engaging and instructive CC Orientation.
Climate Corps Education Outside Orientation
Meanwhile, orientation for Climate Corps Education Outside, a specialized track of the Climate Corps Program, was also underway. With 31 Fellows in this year’s cohort, much of CCEO Orientation took place in Golden Gate Park, in the Botanical and Children’s Gardens.
CCEO Orientation focuses on preparing Fellows to transform schools into more sustainable communities. Afterwards, each Fellow goes on to serve at a public elementary school, stewarding an outdoor garden classroom and teaching science and ecoliteracy. This year, meeting in Golden Gate Park allowed CCEO Fellows to gain hands-on experience in the garden, working directly with nature and each other.
During training, the emerging educators developed skills to engage a school community while getting their hands in the soil. They participated in garden model workshops and outdoor education training. Perhaps most excitingly, CCEO Fellows were able to visit their school sites and spend time in their own––and each others’––outdoor classrooms, preparing teaching materials and collaborating on curriculum.
After successful Climate Corps Orientations, the current program Fellows have gone on to gain real-world expertise in sustainability project implementation. We anticipate a year of positive impacts as 2022-23 Climate Corps Fellows support their communities in climate action and solutions.
The SEI Team
Environmental education and workforce development experts share stories from the field