Office of the Climate Change Advisor
Performance Scorecard: 1- Employee Education
Are all employees provided with training on the basics of climate change, impacts on forests and grasslands, and the Forest Service response?
Are resource specialists made aware of the potential contribution of their own work to climate change response?
What are other forests doing?
To celebrate Earth Day in 2010, the Ottawa National Forest (R9) organized a climate change outreach event for Ottawa National Forest Staff and area high school and college students. The day began with presentations from local experts on climate change and its current and expected effects on northern Michigan Forests, followed by presentations in the afternoon on sustainable operations of buildings and grounds. The event culminated in a facilitated group discussion between experts and Forest personnel on managing the Ottawa National Forest in a changing climate. The event organizer, Brian Bogakzyk, was a participant in a week-long pilot course on climate change (Training in Advanced Climate Change Topics – TACCT). Each participant in TACCT planned a climate change outreach activity to take place at their home location for educational purposes related to climate change.
The Santa Fe and Carson National Forests (R3) held a five-day Climate Change Conference in January 2011. About forty Santa Fe and fifty Carson National Forest employees attended at least one day of the conference. The first day of the conference was a general education session that covered topics including global and local climate trends, climate change adaptation, agency perspectives, and social aspects in Northern New Mexico. The following four days focused specifically on how climate change would affect management and resources related to fire and water on both forests. During the workshop there were abundant opportunities for land managers and other attendees to have informal conversations and discussions with each other, invited scientists, and various cooperating agencies in attendance.
The Caribou-Targhee National Forest (R4), along with the five other National Forests in the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee (GYCC), made several conferences, workshops and trainings available to employees in the Greater Yellowstone Area. More detail about these events can be found on the GYCC's Climate Change webpage.
Resources for Employee Education
Introductory education materials
Online materials paired with facilitated group discussion can be an effective education tool and can be adapted to fit individual circumstances or time constraints. All employees can access online reputable climate change information developed by the Forest Service and other federal agencies. Some examples follow.
Climate change basics & ecosystem responses:
CCRC Climate Change Primer & FAQ's
An introduction and brief answers to common questions on climate change science, ecosystem responses, and management options. The FAQ's also include links to more information.
CCRC Climate Change Topic Pages
Each Topic Page outlines a particular natural resource subject and how it may be influenced by climate change.
Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Sciences
Envisioned as a 'guide for individuals and communities to understand Earth's climate, impacts of climate change, and approaches for adapting and mitigating change', this document covers the basic principles of climate change science.
Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States
Summarizes the science and current and future impacts of climate change on the U.S. It provides a close look at the consequences of climate change by region and sector.
Climate Change Wildlife and Wildlands: a toolkit for formal and informal educators
Basic climate change information, case studies & videos on climate change impacts on wildlife, and teacher resources.
Videos & Interactive material
Climate Change Presentations
A variety of video lectures (of various lengths) on climatology, climate modeling, ecological responses to climate (see 'vegetation' and 'water & fish') and more.
Forest Response to Climate Change – Chris Swanston
An overview of the potential impacts of climate change on forests.
Climate Change at the National Acadamies
A series of videos and other resources outlining lines of evidence for climate change
NOAA Climate Services – Education & Professional Development
Webinars on climate change and ecological response, multimedia (e.g. data animations) and occasional announcements about training opportunities and symposia.
Climate Central Videos
Climate Central is an independent, non-profit journalism and research organization. They generate accessible, multimedia resources on climate impacts, adaptation measures, and preventive solutions.
Climate change and land management – adaptation responses:
Re-Framing Forest and Resource Management Strategies for a Climate Change Context
(Millar; Stephenson; Stephens. 2008)
A framework of options for addressing climate change issues through adaptation and mitigation as they relate to forest management. Includes information on resilience, resistance and facilitating transitions.
CCRC Climate Change Topics Pages
The CCRC Topic Pages each list subject-specific management options for dealing with climate change.
Videos & Interactive material
Climate Change Presentations & Short Courses
The CCRC features a variety of video material, including short courses and complete workshops that focus on the implications of climate change for land management and management options for dealing with those changes. For more description of some of these materials see the Adaptation Actions page for the scorecard.
Climate change and land management –carbon stewardship:
CCRC Topic Page – Forests and Carbon Storage
(Ryan 2008) An introduction to the role that forests play in carbon storage and climate change mitigation.
Videos & Interactive material
Forest and Grassland Carbon in North America: a short course for land managers
This online course is intended to provide public and private land managers with information on the science, management and policy of forest and grassland carbon.
Climate Change Presentations – Forests and Carbon
A few presentations here deal specifically with forests and carbon storage. A good place to start is with:
- What is the Role of U.S. Forests in the Carbon Balance – Mike Ryan
- Forests, Carbon, and Climate Change: What is Oregon Doing? – Mike Cloughesy
Advanced training opportunities
Visit the websites below to see examples of intensive training and to find out what upcoming opportunities are available:
TACCT (Training in Advanced Climate Change Topics)
In 2010 and in 2012, week-long pilot courses provided advanced instruction on climate change for National Forest managers, practitioners, and other professionals. More than 40 individuals have participated, representing four regional offices, many National Forests and Grasslands, and other resource management organizations. Future courses are in consideration. Contact Maria Janowiak for more information.
US Fish and Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center
The National Conservation Training Center holds dozens of courses and training sessions each year, some of which are relevant to climate change. Courses held in the summer/fall of 2012 which may be repeated in the future include Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments and Earth to Sky V: Communicating Climate Change.
National Advanced Silviculture Program (NASP)
NASP holds region-specific workshops, some of which are now incorporating climate change considerations. As an example, see information on the Lake States module anticipated for the summer of 2012.
All Scorecard Elements
- Employee Education
- Climate Change Coordinators
- Program Guidance
- Science-Management Partnerships
- Other Partnerships
- Assessing Vulnerability
- Adaptation Actions
- Carbon Assessment and Stewardship
- Sustainable Operations
Getting to YES
To answer "yes," your Unit should require all employees to participate in introductory-level climate change training and resource specialists should have additional training that is specific to their discipline. At this time, there is not a national curriculum so Units should choose the type of training that best fits their needs and resources. The narrative for this element asks you to answer the following questions:
- What climate change training is required of all employees on your Unit?
- What training have resource specialists had to increase awareness of the potential contribution of their own work to climate change response?
Educational programs can be developed locally, regionally, or nationally. Units are encouraged to take advantage of educational programs that have been developed within and outside of the Agency. Units should consult their regional climate change coordinators for information on suitable training opportunities and resources.