By Lily Swanbrow Becker
This fall will mark ten years since FWC officially began its work on climate change adaptation by hosting a statewide summit. Since then, we’ve traveled down a long and winding path. Our team has gained and lost talented staff along the way but the journey has been a productive one and today we find ourselves with a dedicated, cross-divisional team and a long list of accomplishments. Previous iterations of the Climate Adaptation Core Team have worked with internal staff and partners to complete climate vulnerability assessments, integrate adaptation into our State Wildlife Action Plan, host training and scenario planning workshops and publish a comprehensive guide to Florida natural resource adaptation, accessible to anyone here, to name a few examples. These days, our small team is looking to the future and setting a course of priority goals and actions for the next five years.
In the beginning, we focused on laying the groundwork by pursuing critical science to better understand the projected impacts of climate change on Florida fish and wildlife and identifying key vulnerabilities. We’re now in a great position to continue building on this knowledge and technical capacity by helping to coordinate and strengthen research and monitoring programs, leveraging funding opportunities and developing a data sharing platform to support and coordinate the important research FWC staff and partners are doing. However, as we set our sights on the end goal of integrating climate adaptation throughout the agency and implementing meaningful on-the-ground adaptations actions, we are increasingly focusing on the importance of communicating effectively and building internal capacity and community.
One of the first steps in that process is the very intent of this brief update: we’d like to let you know we’re here! Our team recently began an internship program based out of Tallahassee and our new climate adaptation interns have done an excellent job launching a monthly newsletter. If you’d like to stay updated on climate-related funding opportunities, events, resources, publications and more, please send a brief email to Lily, mentioning that you’d like to subscribe. As we continue moving toward finalizing our five-year goals and work plan this spring, we’ll be adding more content to our team SharePoint site, which you’re always welcome to explore. And finally, if you’re already working on a climate-related topic and you’re not connected with our team, we’d love to hear from you. We’ll have many opportunities for collaboration in the days ahead and we hope to make as many connections throughout FWRI as possible, as we carry forward working on this pressing issue.
Current Climate Adaptation Core Team Members: René Baumstark (FWRI), Brian Branciforte (HSC), Terry Doonan (HSC), Bob Glazer (FWRI), Beth Stys (FWRI), Lily Swanbrow Becker (HSC/FWRI)