A Catalyst for Action: The Impact of CivicSpark in the Sierra

Sierra Business Council prides itself on applying new concepts to rural issues, and the introduction of a California program focused on building capacity for local governments to address climate change this past year was no exception. SBC hosted three CivicSpark AmeriCorps members during the inaugural year of the Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program. The program is administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. SBC was one of nine regions in California to host CivicSpark members.

COMM CivicSparkers 2015 05Our CivicSpark members: Kriselda Bautista, Olivia Hara, and Evan Pierce supported seven communities with the advancement of energy action plans and the entire Sierra region with climate adaptation research. In addition to helping with the development of Energy Action Plans for Mariposa and Sutter Creek, Kris and Evan helped five of the communities implement their recently adopted Energy Action Plans. The work included preparing greenhouse gas re-inventories to measure progress, benchmarking municipal buildings to identify energy-efficiency opportunities, and kick-starting the American Solar Transformation Initiative’s Solar Roadmap process. The team also supported climate adaptation and mitigation planning for the Sierra Region with the Sierra CAMP project. Olivia helped to run the Climate Solutions University, increasing networking opportunities and disseminating information across the region.

The Sierra team also enjoyed working with the local community to provide support and services when time allowed.  The team participated this year in the Truckee Santa Fly-in event, organized the distribution of hygiene products for low-income residents of Kings Beach, assisted with a citrus harvest for MLK day, and managed in-waste conservation during a local festival.

The CivicSpark program brought valuable energy and expertise to climate planning in our region. SBC is excited to have four new, bright-eyed CivicSpark AmeriCorps members join us next month, we can only imagine the progress they’ll help us make! If you, or someone you know, are interested in helping to address climate change in California, the Local Government Commission is currently accepting applications on a rolling basis for the CivicSpark 2015-2016 service year.