The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program this week announced funding awards to Sea Grant programs across the country for new and ongoing projects enhancing community resilience, including support for two programs run by Connecticut Sea Grant.
In the current fiscal year, $4 million in NOAA Sea Grant funds will support initiatives that employ hands-on collaborative engagement to advance the sustainability of coastal and Great Lakes communities facing climate change impacts.
“Engaging and helping to prepare coastal and Great Lakes communities for the challenges associated with changing climate is a priority for Sea Grant,” said Jonathan Pennock, director of the NOAA Sea Grant College Program. “The funded projects, and additional work with partners, will enhance communities’ resilience with a number of localized initiatives.”
At CT Sea Grant, about $185,000 in federal funding will support and expand the reach of current projects. These projects are effective platforms for advancing information exchange and understanding of climate change impacts and nature-based approaches to resilience among municipal and land-use professionals and undergraduate students that in turn advance community resilience in CT cities and towns.
The Climate Adaptation Academy, begun in 2014 by CT Sea Grant and the UConn Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR), has been hosting annual symposia for municipal and land-use professionals on climate change topics, as well as creating fact sheets about legal issues related to climate
change. In the UConn Climate Corps, begun by CT Sea Grant and CLEAR in 2017, students learn about national and local impacts of climate change in a one-semester course, then do community-based independent studies on an adaptation project over a second semester.
“The UConn Climate Corps advances both climate resilience in Connecticut communities as well as workforce development through undergraduate study and project application with community partners,” said Juliana Barrett, CT Sea Grant extension educator emerita who along with CLEAR colleagues teaches the Climate Corps class. “It is exciting and heartening to see more and more graduates of the program entering the climate resilience workforce in Connecticut and beyond.”
CT Sea Grant Director Sylvain De Guise said the Climate Corps combines classroom and experiential learning to respond to current workforce and community needs.
“This program innovates by both training tomorrow’s workforce and bringing tomorrow’s needs to the attention of future employers,” he said. “It is very exciting to see it in action.”