SAN FRANCISCO – The Student Conservation Association (SCA) announced this week that the Bay Area Council Foundation awarded the organization $171,000 to launch its first Bay Area Climate Resilience Corps to help combat climate change in historically disadvantaged communities.
“This generous support for the SCA’s inaugural Bay Area Climate Resilience Corps demonstrates how vital the youth voice is in climate action. We know that youth who are motivated and committed to the environment become important catalysts for change and increasing environmental justice,” said SCA President and CEO Lidia Soto-Harmon. “People of color and low-income communities are often hardest hit by the effects of climate change, which is why environmental justice is an essential part of the work we do. The SCA has a proud and long history of preserving and protecting the communities we serve, and with this support, we can continue that legacy.”
The funding is provided by the Council’s California Resilience Challenge, a statewide effort led by businesses, with support from the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and a diverse array of environmental and community leaders, to develop a pipeline of climate adaptation projects across the state to strengthen local and regional resilience to heat, drought, floods and wildfire. Since 2020, the California Resilience Challenge has provided more than $5 million to 32 communities across California to support early-stage climate adaptation planning.
As the largest provider of hands-on environmental conservation programs for youth and young adults, the SCA is conserving public lands while transforming lives. Through its Urban Green Program, the SCA provides young people across the country with paid green jobs, including single-day service projects, seasonal work and year-long internships or fellowships. The SCA began fielding local community conservation programs through Urban Green during the early 2000s. Since then, thousands of youth and young adults have participated in SCA programs. These young people walked away with the knowledge of how to serve their communities through conservation service work and gained a strong connection to the great outdoors through environmental education.
With this year’s support, the SCA will expand its Urban Green programming in the region with the Bay Area Climate Resilience Corps. The SCA will recruit, hire, train and deploy local youth to conduct climate resiliency projects with the goal of supporting historically disadvantaged communities across the greater East Bay area. Using a youth-led participatory action research approach, the Climate Resilience Corps will identify green spaces that have become vulnerable due to the impacts of climate change, prioritize actions and implement corresponding conservation projects. The Climate Resilience Corps will work with local agencies, community-based partners and stakeholder groups to select projects with the most benefit in supporting historically disadvantaged communities in adapting to climate challenges of extreme drought, flooding, heat and/or wildfires.
“Collaborating with the Bay Area Council Foundation will amplify our efforts in fostering the next generation of environmental leaders and creating green job opportunities for youth. The transformative opportunity we can provide young people to combat climate change through impactful initiatives, skill-building and career awareness will build equity and sustainability for our communities and planet,” said Kate Casale, the SCA’s City Director for the Bay Area. “I am excited to link our physical project work with emotional resilience practices and to gain strength and interconnectedness from it. With this funding, the SCA has been able to build a diverse portfolio of stakeholders to tackle climate challenges, including the Bay Area Council, United States Forest Service, PG&E, the City of Vallejo and many more. We thank all our partners for their support.”