In the wake of recent natural disasters and climate rollercoasters, it’s important that communities prepare themselves for whatever may come next. In Connecticut, many of the communities lack the resources and funding to address their city’s climate issues on their own.

The University of Connecticut is stepping in with their new year long Climate Corps course for students studying agriculture. The course begins by teaching students about software and strategies that help assess and improve climate issues. In the second semester, students will go into three Connecticut municipalities and give these communities educated, pro bono recommendations on how to improve their climate resilience policies and plans.

The course is run by University of Connecticut’s CLEAR: University of Connecticut Center for Land Use Education and Research. Run by 10 core faculty members, CLEAR operates a unique portfolio of projects focused on Connecticut’s land use decision making process in terms of resource protection and management. These projects help support Connecticut’s water, land use and climate resiliency, geospatial tools and training, STEM education, and conservation on a local level.

Ag is America had the chance to speak with the CLEAR Department of Extension Director, Chet Arnold, to give us more details on their latest projects and specifically the Climate Corps.

“We think that if it’s a successful model, we can apply it to more than just climate issues,” Arnold said. “There’s a lot of other things we work on like water resource protection and green infrastructure that could give the students real-world experience but also serve as a real benefit to the community.”

The Climate Corps is just one of many programs CLEAR leads that directly impact Connecticut’s land and local conservation efforts. To learn more about their progress and the other projects they’re working on, read more here.

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