Project Placement Sites for Service Year 2020-2021
Project Title: BearCorps Improvement and Expansion
This is the first year of BearCorps, so we have a lot to learn and, likely, some improvements to make. We want to know what projects are working well, how farm and forest landowners are responding to BearCorps, which projects and actions are particularly effective and which are not. We want to track whether and how BearCorps is making a difference in communities and get a better sense of what the communities think is valuable. We also want to determine how we might expand the program, add additional partners, improve recruiting, and have greater impact. While the project is based in Berkeley, it will likely include site visits to different parts of the state, interviews, and research, particularly focused on regenerative agriculture activities and forest resilience.
Organization and Community Highlights
BearCorps is housed at UC Berkeley’s Law School, as part of the Center for Law, Energy, & Environment’s Project Climate. The Center works with government, business, and the nonprofit sector to help solve urgent problems that require innovative and often interdisciplinary approaches. Project Climate is focused on moving promising climate solutions more quickly to policy and scale. BearCorps focuses on natural lands, regenerative agriculture, and forest resilience as solutions that can be rapidly scaled. UC Berkeley is one of the country’s premier universities, located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Project Title: Healthy Soils Outreach and Assessment
The US-LT RCD has served northern San Luis Obispo County since 1951, supporting landowners in their management of soil, water and natural resources. They work with agriculturalists of all types to improve their soil health. The US-LT RCD has a one of a kind VermiCompost project at a local vineyard which includes frequent soil and greenhouse gas sampling. They also provide one-on-one technical assistance to farmers and ranchers who are looking to implement soil health practices on their land such as no-till, cover cropping, and compost application. The US-LT RCD believes that agriculture is part of the solution to climate change and that increased soil health is a major component to sequestering carbon.
Organization and Community Highlights
San Luis Obispo County lies on the Central Coast of California, right in the middle of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Because of slow-growth policies and large swaths of land in private ownership, we do not have the urban or suburban sprawl typical in much of California. Agriculture and tourism are two of the most important pieces of our economy. With excellent weather year round, and beautiful scenery, there is ample opportunities for outdoor exploration. Our staff members are all outdoor enthusiasts and on the weekends most of us will be hiking, biking, surfing, rockclimbing, kayaking, or finding other ways to enjoy this very special place we live.
We are small but mighty, we maintain a very small staff but we work on a huge variety of resource conservation projects, both large and small. We all enjoy coming to work, because of the work we get to do and the people we get to work with. We all strive for the best outcomes possible at all times, but we do so in a casual atmosphere. Sometimes we do staff hikes instead of staff meetings. Maintaining a healthy work/life balance is important at the US-LT RCD.
Project Title: Regenerative Grazing Outreach
Sequoia Riverlands Trust is a land trust that owns and manages grazing land (Preserves) in Tulare County in the Foothills of the Sierra Nevada and on the San Joaquin Valley floor. There are nine Preserves ranging in size from 1800 acres to 40 acres. Each of the Preserves has a single cattle lessee that have varying experience with planned grazing and the benefits of carbon sequestration in grasslands.
The BearCorps member working with Sequoia Riverlands Trust will communicate with grazing lessees with the goal of education regarding carbon sequestration and planned grazing and how to best accomplish agreed upon goals. In addition to planned grazing education the BearCorps member will create grazing plans using Pasture Map and trial soil data maps that could improve carbon sequestration opportunities on some of the Preserves with diverse terrain.
The environment of the Southern San Joaquin Valley is typical Mediterranean climate with hot summers and cool winters. Severe drought has killed many tree species and restricted available surface water, yet grasslands persist in a mixture of non-native and native species. The challenge is to improve the thinking about grasslands and their ability to hold carbon and water in a region that produces most of California's nuts and fruits and would prefer more dams as a method of water storage.
The BearCorps Member contribution will lead to greater acceptance of grazing practices that promote carbon sequestration in the Southern San Joaquin Valley that can be demonstrated on Preserves owned by Sequoia Riverlands Trust.
Organizational and Community Highlights
The Sequoia Riverlands Trust (SRT) office is in Visalia: the “jewel of the San Joaquin valley”, located about 20 miles southwest of the Sierra Nevada foothills, where most of SRT’s nature preserves are found. Visalia lies within the Kaweah River watershed, and at approximately 140,000 residents is the largest city and official seat of Tulare county. In Visalia, the BearCorps member will live and work in a diverse, growing city with a charming, pedestrian-friendly downtown area, dozens of restaurants of all types, live music, a thriving arts scene, multiple microbreweries, and a minor league baseball team. Fresno Yosemite International Airport is only 45 minutes away when air travel is needed, and the city of Fresno, the 5th most populous city in California, offers amenities befitting a large city. The member will also find exceptional produce at roadside stands and farmer’s markets in the agricultural mecca of California and enjoy easy access to the unrivaled beauty of Sequoia National Park and the largest living tree in the world, as well as the adjacent King’s Canyon National Park and nearby Sequoia National Monument. A number of beaches along the stunningly beautiful central coast of California are less than a two-and-a-half hour drive away, and the tallest living trees in the world, the coast redwoods, only slightly farther in Big Sur and Santa Cruz.
Project Title: Healthy Soils Program, Landowner Agriculture Assistance, and Carbon Farm Planning
The BearCorps member serving with Placer County Resource Conservation District will have the opportunity to work in several areas including, stormwater, forestry and agriculture, however, the focus will be on the Healthy Soils Program. The member will work with Placer RCD staff to outreach to landowners, stakeholders and partners to develop and increase capacity of the Placer RCD Healthy Soils Program. By applying NRCS standard practices this position will work with Landowners to create Carbon Farm Plans (CFP), which is a whole farm approach to optimizing carbon capture on working landscapes. The position works with a farmer or rancher to assess all the opportunities for GHG reduction and carbon sequestration on their property.
Organizational and Community Highlights
Placer RCD workplace culture is passionate, team-oriented, fast-paced and collaborative. As an RCD we work directly with the community and pride ourselves in getting work done “on the ground” by implementing environmental practices that have a positive impact for landowners, our community and local ecosystems. Placer RCD Staff are encouraged to think creatively and critically and to participate in ongoing professional development. The office atmosphere is one of support and open communication, where we value each other’s input and ideas. Our offices are in Auburn, California (Placer County).
Placer County is a destination for visitors from around the world, but for its local residents, there is a personal sense of how fortunate we are to live, work and play in such a beautiful county. From the suburbs of Roseville, Lincoln and Rocklin to the foothills of Auburn, our historic gold country, the opportunity to enjoy a variety of lifestyles is never-ending. The gem of our county is scenic North Lake Tahoe, known for its beauty, size and clarity, but we also have numerous small towns known for their unique and rich heritage that make up the landscape along Interstate 80, which is something we are also quite proud of in Placer.
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, there is no better place to be than Placer County with its natural lakes, rivers and streams for whitewater rafting and fishing, while also being home to more than one million acres of national forest land filled with trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. We also boast a handful of world-renowned ski resorts making Placer County a year-round destination for winter and summer recreation that attracts more than one million visitors each year.
Project Title: Rangeland restoration and invasive plant ecology
The UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center (SFREC) is a 6,000 acre research ranch managed by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, supporting landscape scale research in sustainable grazing management, ecosystem restoration, and climate change adaptation. The team member will have an opportunity to work closely with diverse teams of scientists from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and other institutions conducting field research in these areas. The team member also will have substantial opportunity to assist in management of ranch research infrastructure and be involved in ranch-scale resource monitoring. The SFREC ranch represents much of the rangeland in California that provides a huge amount of ecosystem services to the state including carbon sequestration, water filtration and storage, wildlife habitat provision and agricultural production. Understanding climate change impacts to these systems and how to mitigate these impacts through management and restoration is one of the preeminent scientific challenges of our time. Our work here supports major lines of research addressing these environmental challenges. This position supports BearCorps goal by supporting research that evaluates how to protect and enhance the large pools of organic carbon stored in rangelands and supporting research that evaluates adaptation strategies to increase climate change resilience for rural agricultural communities.
Organizational and Community Highlights
The BearCorps service site is located in the northern Sierra foothills along the Yuba River, West of Nevada City and East of Marysville. There is a number of support staff that work full time at the center, managing cattle, pastures, irrigation, and roads while also supporting about 20 research projects each year. Much of the work is team based, highly dynamic and fast paced. The working weather conditions are relatively mild, except summers and late spring having fairly warm temperatures. During these periods the staff starts work early (6:00 AM) and ends by 2:30. The site is fairly remote with larger communities about 30 minute drive away. There are abundant recreational opportunities in the region and a good fit for someone that likes to spend a lot of time outdoors.
Project Title: Program Technician for Soil Health, Conservation Planning & Fuels Projects
There are 1,000+ farms and 705,000 acres under cultivation in Glenn County, as well as a portion of the US Mendocino National Forest; this brings opportunities for a meaningful BearCorps partnership. Major agricultural commodities include, almonds, walnuts, rice, dairy, olives, vine seeds, apiary, prunes, beef cattle.
Established in 1960, formerly as the Elk Creek Soil Conservation District, the Glenn County Resource Conservation District (RCD) engages farmers, ranchers and community in protecting our resources through various projects and programs. We continue to address natural resource concerns and pursue opportunities that benefit Glenn County and beyond. To name a few of our conservation projects and programs, we have an active RCD Connects with Kids program, promote soil health, address fuels reduction/fire prevention, have developed multiple management plans to address landowner’s natural resource concerns as well as much more! We recently were awarded a grant to help US Forest Service implement the Smokey Project inside the Mendocino National Forest. Through these efforts, the RCD has gained a great deal of respect from many who believe natural resources are invaluable to our future.
Glenn County RCD is looking to partner with a BearCorps member who is interested in working on regenerative agriculture and forest/fire resilience, building farm, forest, and community resilience, enhancing RCD outreach, volunteerism and community stakeholder engagement. In particular, the BearCorps member will coordinate the award-winning Glenn County Soil Health Partnership, which includes farmers, a local Certified Crop Advisor, USDA-Natural Resources Service, UC Cooperative Extension-Glenn County and RCD. The BearCorps member will also assist in developing carbon farm plans with farmers/ranchers, regenerative agriculture projects, forest/fire resilience outreach and project development, including overall partnership building with the community to prepare for our ever-changing future.
Organizational and Community Highlights
Glenn County is in the heart of Northern California’s Sacramento Valley about 1.5 hours north of Sacramento on the western United States of America. Primarily an agricultural community, the Coastal Mountain Range is on the west and the Sacramento River is on the east. Running north and south is Interstate 5 with two major cities, Willows and Orland. The population is slightly over 29,000.
Glenn County is a small rural community. However, there are a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing and boating on the Sacramento River, fishing, boating and swimming at Black Butte Lake and Stony Gorge, hunting, Sacramento Wildlife Refuge, golfing at Glenn Golf Course and Motorsports racing at Thunderhill Raceway. In addition, there is hiking, cycling, running trails all around the county.
If you like to travel, Mt. Shasta is about 2.5 hours to the north, Lake Almanor about 2.5 hours to the north east, Lake Tahoe about 3 hours to the south east, San Francisco about 3 hours to the south west and the pacific ocean is about 3 hours west. There are many more amazing places nearby as well!
Working for Glenn County RCD is a family type atmosphere with a great culture to gain experience and pursue a career.
Project Title: Sustainable Rangeland and Open Space Management
The McConnell Foundation is a non-profit organization located in Redding, California. The Foundation serves communities in far northern California including, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity and Modoc counties and international programs in Nepal and Laos. It is a broad-based funder, giving in the area of arts & culture, the environment, education community vitality, health care, livable communities, recreation and social services. The Foundation has supported these programs for over 30 years, but in the last several years has increasingly focused on climate adaptation, disaster recovery and development of programs centered on community and ecosystem sustainability.
BearCorps Members will be assigned to work in the Foundation's land management department working on climate smart agriculture and regenerative ecosystem projects. The projects focus on soil health in rangeland and agricultural systems, fire management at a regional level - forest health and hazardous fuel reduction, reforestation – and scientific monitoring, educational outreach and planning with Foundation staff and partner organizations. The work will address sustainable food production, carbon sequestration - soil health and reforestation, wildfire mitigation – prescribed fire, managed grazing, hazard fuel reduction, creation of community defensible space, ecosystem services – water use, filtration and infiltration, habitat restoration, community vitality – open space management, recreation, community outreach and education, local organizational capacity building – inform regional planning and management strategies.
Through project implementation and partner collaboration the Members will seek to produce beneficial outcomes in the areas of sustainable food production, climate adaptation and climate mitigation. With scientific monitoring, data collection and community outreach the Members will share and inform the community on project benefits, successful management strategies and value added collaboration with local agencies and organizations to increase operational capacity to advance regional efforts.
Organizational and Community Highlights
The McConnell Foundation has a business campus, open space properties and agricultural land in and around the city limits of Redding, California. The Members will split their time between the Foundation’s business campus and the Foundation’s working-lands and open-space properties where they will implement projects. The Foundation’s main campus and open space property is available to the public for meeting space and recreation opportunities creating an environment and business culture of public openness and engagement. Networking and collaborating with community partners is fundamental to the Foundation’s culture and identity, in particular on emerging issues such as agricultural sustainability and climate impact projects.
BearCorps members will gain practical knowledge of working lands management in relation to regenerative agriculture and climate-smart adaptation strategies. Members will gain skills to implement, assess, and promote those strategies within rural communities. In addition to the Foundation’s Land Stewardship Coordinator and staff, members will actively participate with a diverse group of stakeholders, including resource professionals, working lands producers, and agency personnel to implement projects that promote soil health in rangeland and agricultural systems and fire management at a regional level. Members will be involved with assessment and monitoring of these conservation projects, including identifying metrics to quantify soil health benefits, and ecological and economical co-benefits.
This position is based in Redding, CA – at the north end of the Sacramento Valley. Redding receives over 300 days a year of sunshine and has around 225-miles of recreational trails, including top-notch single-track mountain biking trails. The Sacramento River runs through the city and boasts world-class fishing and boating opportunities. Three Certified Farmer’s Markets operate within the city throughout the year. The area is surrounded by lakes, rivers and mountains embodying the rural character of the region and cultural identity of the people towards recreation and the environment.
Project Title: Agricultural, Environmental and Wildfire Readiness Community Assistance
The Resource Conservation District of Tehama County (RCDTC) is a special district assisting Tehama County citizens to manage, conserve, improve and enjoy the natural resources of the county. The RCDTC also partners with other organizations and RCDs throughout the northstate to provide services to the larger region. The RCDTC works on a broad array of projects that range from community wildfire protection and forest health, to enhancing fish passage in local rivers and streams, to mitigation plantings, to assisting farmers and ranchers with irrigation efficiency and soil health, along with a variety of natural resource education programs.
The member will have the opportunity to work alongside RCDTC staff both with office tasks and field work. The tasks may include assisting with:
- Planting habitat for a fish passage project on the Sacramento River
- Creating defensible space around homes for elderly and disabled residents
- Operating the Mobile Irrigation Lab that tests the efficiency of irrigation systems
- Providing technical assistance to farmers and ranchers for applications to CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program
- Creating Carbon Farm Plans for interested farmers and ranchers
The tasks all address the challenge that climate change is posing to the community from increased incidence of drought which increases wildfire risk and demand on scarce water resources. Increasing habitat for endangered species, assisting with wildfire readiness and water conservation projects all address symptoms of climate change. Improving soil health through climate smart best management practices and sequestering carbon as identified in carbon farm plans can improve crop production, increase soil’s water holding capacity and remove carbon from the atmosphere with the ultimate goal of mitigating the cause of climate change.
Organizational and Community Highlights
RCDTC provides a relaxed and collegial work environment. Its staff is hard-working and motivated but have fun during the workday – a sense of humor is a required job qualification! Staff is made up of a diverse background of study that provides depth to the team and breadth to the scope and scale of what we are able to offer our community. Staff support each other to ensure project deliverables are met efficiently and effectively. The board of directors is supportive of staff and avoid getting involved in day to day management.
The RCDTC’s foundation is providing a suite of service to include site monitoring and restoration, conservation plan development, irrigation system and soil health evaluation, and educational outreach. Staff has extensive experience providing technical assistance to landowners, land managers, and tenants to implement various natural resource conservation practices and will share their knowledge gained from over 30 years of collective experience with the Member.
Partnerships are the keystone to the RCDTC’s project success and staff recognize the value in establishing and maintaining working relationships with other entities to coordinate collaborative multi-disciplinary projects. The Member will benefit from exposure to these partnerships with private landowners, NGOs and federal and state resource agencies.
Tehama County, California is well-known for its rural nature, a landscape reflecting the rugged beauty of the west. Locals and visitors alike value its wide vistas of diverse landscapes and access to over 100,000 acres of public land. These public lands provide ideal grounds for world-class hunting, fishing, hiking and other outdoor recreation. Scores of visitors from outside the region enjoy the public lands, rivers, and creeks. In addition to the local recreation opportunities, a short drive will take you to the big city in the San Francisco Bay Area or the state’s capital of Sacramento, the Pacific Ocean or skiing at Mt. Shasta Ski Park.
Project Title: Conservation Outreach & Planning for Drought Resiliency
Merced County has been ground zero for climate adaptation that in 2016 brought The Nature Conservancy here to assess over a two year period the climate and multiple benefits which may be achieved through land use, management and conservation activities.
East Merced RCD has supported education at all levels; including but not limited to teacher workshops, classroom demonstrations and presentations to landowners of importance of resiliency in air, land and water issues. Some partnerships are with Dept. of Water Resources, Integrated Regional Water Management, University of California Merced, Merced Irrigation District, Valley Land Alliance and the Merced County Farm Bureau.
The BearCorps member will assist with conservation planning and implementation of USDA NRCS programs, Carbon Farm Plans, and restoration projects that can help with carbon sequestration and reduction of greenhouse gases. The position will also have some time dedicated to education and outreach as well as connecting with local colleges and universities on research projects and field trials.
Regenerative agriculture is a strategy for drought resiliency which the San Joaquin Valley is facing in weather patterns and regulatory efforts such as SGMA. The BearCorps Member will be directly tied to climate adaptation and capacity building at the RCD to offer programs that assist landowners and the community to understand best management practices.
Organizational and Community Highlights
Merced is located in the heart of California and is known as the gateway to Yosemite. As one of the top 5 agriculture counties in the United States, there is a variety of agricultural systems to learn from and have impact on. There is opportunity to see even more research and field trials implemented in the San Joaquin Valley with our newest University of California campus. As part of a small organization, the member will have a significant role in developing and implementing programs. The value of professional development gained from working on a project or program from the ground up is irreplaceable and cannot be found in larger organizations that tend to be departmental approach. The full spectrum of experiences will include grant writing, program guidelines and development, outreach and education, and implementation. There is great satisfaction in knowing that YOU are responsible in influencing change in any organization but takes an even bigger impact when that change is benefiting our environment and food system.
Project Title: Building Local Capacity to Combat Climate Change through Management of Agriculture and Forest Lands
The Sonoma Resource Conservation District (RCD) is a local government agency dedicated to addressing Sonoma County's most pressing natural resource issues by empowering landowners to be part of the solutions. In existence since 1946, we have built a strong reputation among landowners and partner organizations, which enable us to build bridges among disparate interests and make good work happen on the ground. Our county has been hit hard by the impacts of climate change, in the form or wildfires, floods, and drought. Forest and agricultural landowners have the opportunity to work on the cutting edge of these issues to increase the resilience of their own land and the community around them. The RCD works with a diverse network of partners to harness this opportunity through outreach and education, planning, and implementation. The Bear Corps Member will help build the RCD’s capacity to meet these community needs in several key ways:
- Tracking science and policy around agricultural carbon sequestration and formulating recommendations for how this information can inform the RCD’s programming
- Conducting landowner outreach to learn more about climate impacts and resilience needs of forest and ag landowners, in order to inform RCD programming
- Interfacing with community groups and tracking grassroots climate resilience efforts (e.g. Community Wildfire Protection Plans) in order to inform the RCD’s priorities for larger-scale programming
- Supporting RCD staff on the development of Forest Management Plans and Carbon Farm Plans, including field work, research, mapping, and carbon sequestration calculations;
- Supporting the RCD’s sustainable agriculture youth education programs and working with staff to explore potential programming in forestry education.
The Member’s service will build community resilience to climate change and increase carbon sequestration by improving the RCD’s capacity to meet the diverse and changing needs of forest and ag landowners.
Organizational and Community Highlights
The RCD team is a close-knit group of 14 who value service to our community, conservation of natural resources, and teamwork to accomplish these goals. Our workplace is casual and flexible. We work hard and also look for ways to have fun together. Serving with the RCD presents an excellent professional development opportunity in that the Member will work closely with and learn from a multidisciplinary team which includes two Professional Engineers, a Registered Professional Forester, a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, and other professional staff with a diversity of natural resources experience. As a team, we value helping one another learn and succeed. We pitch in to help teammates during busy times, and we support cross-training through teamwork and field shadowing. A hallmark of our organization’s success is our trusting relationship with rural and agricultural landowners. The Member will have the opportunity to grow professionally by interacting with landowners that have a breadth of land management experiences. We work with land uses such as forest, vineyard, and dairy; with landowners who have owned and farmed their properties for generations, and with others who are new to farming; with those whose views on conversation and management are more traditional, and those who are seeking to try new and innovative practices.
The RCD’s office is located in Santa Rosa, the county seat of Sonoma County. While Sonoma County is a relatively rural county, the Santa Rosa metropolitan area is the largest on California’s North Coast. Our county is home to a wealth of hiking trails, a variety of ocean beaches, and the Russian River which has been a popular recreational destination for locals and tourists for over 100 years. Our local food scene is burgeoning, including organic produce, artisan cheese, fresh roasted coffee, food trucks and pop-ups, and restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining. We are a craft beer mecca, a wine region that was named 2019 region of the year by Wine Enthusiast magazine, and home to an increasing number of craft distilleries. Our country roads offer spectacular vistas, as our local governments have been thoughtful about maintaining community separators and protecting land with scenic and cultural value. It doesn’t take long for a visitor to understand why Forbes listed Sonoma County as one of its top 20 destinations for 2020, and in the same year Frommer’s readers voted it the best destination in the world.
Project Title: Research to Extension Continuum: Building Forest Resilience on Private Lands
Berkeley Forests is the forestry and wildland fire research center at the University of California Berkeley. Berkeley Forests features a network of statewide research forests, which act as living laboratories for educational visitors, hosts for innovative forest research, and training centers for future land stewards to sustain resilient forests in a changing climate. A mix of long-term research installations, short-term field experiments, and natural controls provides a breadth of examples to best understand how forest management can evolve over the coming century.
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) is a University of California research and extension network dedicated to developing and delivering research-based information on agriculture and natural resources. Local Cooperative Extension Advisors deliver unbiased research-based information to support healthy families and local communities throughout California.
The BearCorps Member will assist with:
(1) Applied forest research in the areas of natural fire reintroduction, silviculture improvement for forest resilience, and adaptive management for climate change,
(2) Development of educational materials and assist with landowner workshop trainings, and
(3) Collaborations with regional UC academics to improve local access to natural resource education.
California faces a burning issue with the increasing pace and scale of severe wildfires. Current wildfire extremes follow the well-documented drought across the central and southern portions of the state with correlated tree mortality across the central and southern Sierra Nevada mountain range. With nearly 8 million acres of forestland owned by small landowners (<50 acres) in California, it is essential that best management practices are utilized by all Californians to protect forest lands in an ecologically and economically sustainable manner. Development of novel research and delivery of research findings to local communities will facilitate management planning, permitting, and cost share opportunities for forest restoration, fuels reduction, and habitat enhancement plans.
In addition to working with research and forest management experts, the BearCorps Member will have an opportunity to work with diverse stakeholders involved in forest management. This holistic introduction to ecology of western forests will facilitate experience with various career opportunities within the forestry community.
Organizational and Community Highlights
This community partnership is designed to offer the BearCorps member an opportunity to experience a variety of forest communities and their approach to management of forest systems. The (1) primary host location will be the iconic UC Blodgett Forest Research Station near the town of Georgetown, California. This station is located in a unique forested setting that offers hands on experience living and working with forest professionals and academics. The station is an applied research forest where the member will experience the evolution of forest practice from new innovation to practical implementation. In addition, the member will have opportunities to (2) partner with UC ANR outreach and extension experts to experience the multiple perspectives of forest management in various northern California counties. The UC ANR network works to connect the latest science and policy to land managers, private land owners, local governments, and NGOs with a network of advisors embedded in counties as trusted experts. Each advisor works to solve locally relevant issues to support the overall mission of enhancing the sustainability of our forest ecosystems.
Diversity and Inclusion are hallmarks of UC's mission to extend knowledge for all Californians. UC ANR is committed to reaching all segments of the state's population with many programs targeting traditionally underserved communities. UC ANR is committed to creating and sustaining an environment that supports and values all members of our community, including visitors. Gender inclusion requires providing access and equality by creating an environment that is safe, accessible, and respectful of all individuals.
Project Title: Climate Smart Farming Outreach and Assessment
CAFF has been working for over 40 years to build sustainable food and farming systems that benefits family farmers, communities and ecosystems. We have programs in a number of areas including Food Safety, Farm to Market, Farm to School, Policy advocacy and Climate Smart Farming. The Climate Smart Farming program (CSF) is one of CAFF's core on-the-ground programs. Within CSF we work with farmers, researchers, and local extension professionals to investigate and promote farming practices that have the capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change, conserve natural resources like topsoil and water and improve on-farm productivity and resilience in the long-term.
The BearCorps member will be joining the CSF team to work on projects included but not limited to Biointensive no-till production systems, cover cropping in perennial crops and integrated crop livestock systems. Each of these projects brings together on-farm research with the grower's experience to better understand both the science behind climate smart farming and the benefits and tradeoffs that affect successful adoption in the long-term. Throughout each project we conduct outreach and engagement with the broader agricultural community to facilitate farmer-to-farmer conversations around these practices, both through in-person field days and the development of educational resources. Depending on the project, the member may be involved in field work such as soil sampling (training will be provided), data organization and assessment, project documentation and the development of educational resources for farmers based on our project findings and peer-reviewed research. This work will address the dynamic environmental challenges of climate change (extreme heat, drought and flooding), loss of biodiversity and natural resource depletion.
The purpose of the Climate Smart Farming program is to address these challenges through the lens of climate smart/ regenerative agriculture by working directly with farmers to investigate and increase the implementation of these farming practices. We believe this purpose strongly aligns with that of BearCorps and that the member working on the Climate Smart Farming program at CAFF will promote the purpose and goal of BearCorps through engaging with the agricultural community to collaboratively respond to climate change while gaining important experience, training and education.
Project Title(s): Tribal Natural Resources Assessment and Planning in Forest/Fire Resiliency; Water Resources and Water Quality Assessment Response to Climate Change and Watershed Health
The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians are a federally recognized tribe that manages approximately 2,000 acres in the Central Sierra foothills of Tuolumne County. The tribe has a Planning and Development department that oversees natural resource management, environmental programs including water quality and GIS mapping. The work the member will engage in includes helping develop an assessment of existing resources and identifying opportunities for sustainable resource management. Activities will include field work and writing assessments and plans for future action.
The BearCorps Member will help tribal staff and the tribal community learn about best or emerging practices to increase the capacity for a sustainable and resilient community. Tribal governments as sovereign have a unique character and relationship with both local, state and national or governmental organizations. The challenge is to understand the federal policies while encouraging traditional ecological knowledge of tribal land and culture and implementing them into a sound forward thinking plan while responding to a changing climate. The BearCorps Member service will promote BearCorps goals of building community resilience capacity that includes tribes, provide career building, professional development and educational opportunities not found in any other entity and promote a meaningful experience as well as an opportunity to engage a tribal community with volunteer engagement.
Organizational and Community Highlights
The Tribe has a rich history here in Tuolumne County and has one of the best relationships with local agencies. The workplace culture of working for a tribe is unique and challenging in that there is a lot to learn. From history and sense of place to working through the different dynamics of groups within the tribe, the job will always be interesting and never dull. The Tribe as a community is growing and with growth comes the need for change and help in identifying opportunities. There are so many areas to work on from understanding the benefits available with respect to natural resources, to encouraging and assessing defensible space plans, to understanding all the available water resources or the technology available to capture and conserve water with….there is something new always to work on and that in itself makes working for our tribe interesting and exciting. The community we live in is beautiful and there are lots of things outdoor to do to keep one busy when not working. There is no traffic, the air is clean, there are plenty of places to hike, swim or fish and there is an opportunity to experience the cultural aspects of a California Tribe like no other.
Project Title: Engaging Communities in Collaborative Forest and Watershed Management
The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment promotes healthy and sustainable forests and watersheds by investing in the well-being of rural communities and strengthening their participation in natural resource management. For over 25 years, Sierra Institute has applied lessons from research to inform capacity building approaches for rural communities. Our work continues to inform state and national policy decisions, as well as guide the advancement of novel solutions with local communities and natural resource managers.
The BearCorps Member will work with staff, local teachers, and natural resource professionals to develop integrative natural resource educational programming linked to community well-being; assist with the development of education modules focused on classroom and field-based learning of natural resource management; assist with day and overnight field trips collecting ecological data with high school students; assist with classroom and field-based learning activities; support high school interns in the school production garden and with restoration of native plant propagation projects; support other field work as needed. There may also be opportunities to increase understanding of ecological data management and statistical analysis if desired. In addition to natural resource education programming, the member will work with Sierra Institute’s Watershed Coordinator, USFS staff, NGO partners, and other stakeholders within the South Lassen Watersheds Group to develop citizen science projects as part of a multi-party monitoring program.
The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment is working in partnership with the Lassen National Forest and a diverse group of stakeholders, including industry, environmental non-profits, and tribes, to accelerate restoration across the 800,000-acre focal landscape of the South Lassen Watersheds Group, a collaborative planning for the future of forest management, climate resilience, and economic development in critical upper watersheds. The member will support this work through development and advancement of natural resource education programming and project monitoring as part of collaborative landscape restoration addressing fire threat and forest resilience under a changing climate in some of California’s most critical watersheds – Upper Feather River, Mill Creek, Deer Creek, and Battle Creek. Together, these watersheds provide critical natural infrastructure for the State Water Project, nearly 10% of the state’s hydroelectric power, and represent three of the last remaining strongholds for Chinook salmon. The member’s service will improve the capacity of students and residents alike to monitor the climate benefits of forest restoration (e.g., carbon sequestration and wildfire emission avoidance/reduction), ultimately enhancing the resilience of local communities.
Organizational and Community Highlights
Sierra Institute is located in Taylorsville, CA (pop. 154) and lies within a large mountain meadow referred to as “Indian Valley”, which includes the communities of Greenville and Crescent Mills. Taylorsville is an historic small town, with a long history dating back to the construction of the first flour mill in the Pacific Northwest in 1856. Downtown Taylorsville is home to two historic establishments, the Taylorsville Tavern, a favorite watering hole for loggers, and Young’s Market, a revitalized country store and sandwich shop that first opened its doors in 1862 that is – debatably – home to the oldest working cash register in the nation manufactured in 1914. The community of Taylorsville has long been a blend of long-time residents, ranchers, loggers, and newcomers drawn to the area for its beauty. Taylorsville offers unique, rural community events that bring the community together, such as the Silver Buckle Rodeo held over the 4th of July, the Holiday Light Parade the Saturday after Thanksgiving; and New Year’s Eve fireworks in the fields across from the Tavern.
Taylorsville is surrounded by many outdoor recreation opportunities such as Lake Almanor, Plumas and Lassen National Forests, and Lassen Volcanic National Park. These adjacent public lands feature untouched backcountry routes in winter, and endless, empty dirt roads to explore in summer. Adventures that lie just out the back door of the office.
Sierra Institute strives to cultivate innovative projects through a collaborative-minded office culture—staff often work on interdisciplinary projects both internally and with external partners. Sierra Institute staff must be adaptable, finding their roles must expand to fit the needs of specific projects and partnerships. The diversity of our work provides opportunity to think critically about how communities engage with natural resource management, from workshops to assess community capacity to field trips with high school students to marking timber. Staff routinely draw on the expertise and background of others to improve our collective work, and the member should expect to be an integral member of this team. In addition, Sierra Institute supports a flexible work schedule that encourages employees to take advantage of our location by getting out to exercise in the sunshine mid-day. A close-knit staff will provide a welcoming sense of community to ease the member’s transition to our rural county.
Project Title: Forest Ecosystem Management Education and Planning
The Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD) is a non-regulatory, public agency providing conservation leadership through technical, financial, and educational support for voluntary stewardship of natural resources on public and private lands in our community. We work with communities to conserve, protect, and restore natural resources in a landscape that supports agriculture, timberland, wild lands, and urban areas. We provide technical assistance, educational programs, monitoring and assessment services to landowners to help meet local and regional conservation goals.
The BearCorps Member will work on multiple natural resources concerns within forested landscapes, including vegetation management to enhance forest health and resiliency, water quality and instream flows improvement, and fire adapted communities facilitation. Work will include assisting in the coordination of forest health workshops, creating and gathering forest management and fire resiliency educational material, creating outreach material (such as fact-sheets comparing management practices and cost-share programs), assisting in forest inventory data collection and analysis for fuel reduction treatments and forest management plans, and helping coordinate landowner site visits to provide on-the-ground technical assistance.
Mendocino County is mostly rural communities and subdivisions embedded in wildlands. People living in remote areas with swaths of dense forests between homes increases the population's vulnerability to wildfire, drought, and pests, making it a unique challenge to ensure the county's forestlands are safe for people, wildlife, and the rest of the environment. The largest environmental challenge we face is how to manage forest vegetation for multiple goals and objectives, including maintaining diverse habitats, fire and community resiliency, insects and disease, and water security in the face of a growing population and changing climate. Current population growth trends and a rapidly changing climate makes ecologically appropriate active management more essential. The BearCorps Member will support MCRCD's challenging and rewarding efforts to actively manage for multiple benefits with a diverse population of landowners and residents.
Organizational and Community Highlights
The Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD) employs 12 staff members who possess a wide range of natural resource and conservation expertise and is governed by a board of 5 local Mendocino County landowners. While the work can be fast-paced, the MCRCD team is supportive and collaborative. As a local special district with limited base funding, MCRCD works to identify local conservation problems and seek solutions with landowners on a voluntary basis, leveraging limited government funding to secure grant funding and fee for service funding. By working in this small organization, the BearCorps Member will be exposed to how to be successful in the world of competitive grant funding and will see the many roles that individuals perform from managing contracts, budgets and relationships, in addition to providing specialized technical services. This is a unique professional development opportunity for someone interested in a career with conservation organizations, non-profits, or small local governmental agencies.
As a small organization managing millions of dollars’ worth of grant funding, MCRCD is a partnership-based organization. MCRCD's culture is very much of a collaborative spirit and our partnerships with landowners, industry, state, local, and federal government agencies, and other conservation organizations strengthen our projects and increase staff knowledge. One of the highlights of working for MCRCD is the development of lasting relationships with partners and who are often seen off the clock at community events. MCRCD's work naturally integrates staff into the community as leaders and friends.
The office is located in Ukiah, the county seat and largest city in Mendocino County. With its accessible location along Hwy 101, Ukiah is located just 2.5 hours north of the San Francisco Bay Area. Mendocino County is known for its towering redwood and Douglas-fir forests, expansive oak woodlands, the county boast 10 river systems, unique and beautiful coastline, inland valley wine production, ubiquitous cannabis cultivation, and historical back-to-the-land settlers. The Ukiah community offers a small town feel with the benefit of many of the amenities found in larger cities. The BearCorps Member will help MCRCD achieve its mission of preserving, protecting, and restoring wild and working landscapes to enhance the health of the water, soils, and forests of Mendocino County.
Project Title: Messaging Regenerative Agriculture
The mission of the Marin Resource Conservation District (Marin RCD) is to conserve and enhance Marin County’s soil, water, air, vegetation and wildlife. The Marin RCD is a founding member of the Marin Carbon Project and offers carbon farming programs to facilitate implementation of carbon sequestration projects in Marin County. We partake in innovative projects that explore alternative land stewardship practices relying on local history to guide our decisions about the future.
Our BearCorps member will join Marin RCD staff and participate in an elaborate partnership network, consisting of colleagues from Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Point Blue Conservation Science: Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Point Reyes National Seashore working on the greater issues of climate change, resiliency and mitigation on our agricultural landscapes.
Specifically, our BearCorps member will connect with our partners through farm visits and meetings and develop a messaging platform for the Marin RCD. Communications with Marin’s farmers and ranchers will be key. Social media opportunities will be developed and messaging will be created toward targeted audiences. The Marin RCD website will be evaluated and updated to improve public communications.
The Marin RCD’s BearCorps member will meet the BearCorps goals and address issues of climate change, resiliency and mitigation opportunities by: 1) educating the general public about the role agriculture can play in addressing climate change and 2) outreaching to farmers and ranchers about the soil health, resiliency and mitigation opportunities available to them as land stewards.
Organizational and Community Highlights
The Marin RCD’s office is located in Point Reyes Station which is adjacent to the Point Reyes National Seashore, about one hour northwest of San Francisco. The agricultural landscape in Marin County consists of small family farms, primarily of livestock and dairy producers, who are marketing to Bay Area customers. Some producers are quite innovative and are the first farmers with carbon farm plans in the nation!
The Marin RCD is run by a Board of Directors who are agricultural producers and staffed with 5 people: Agroecologist, Conservation Program Manager, Urban Streams Manager, Bookkeeper and Executive Director (past AmerCorps member!). Our organization is currently developing its carbon farming program but needs help with messaging to all generations of Marin’s farmers and ranchers, the general public, organizations and agencies. A person with excellent communication skills, understanding of agricultural community connections, social media platforms, website skills and messaging would be perfect!
The Marin RCD thrives on partnerships! We value teamwork and work well with our local, state and federal partners to apply restorative and regenerative practices on farms and ranches. It is through this teamwork that the Marin Carbon Project was initiated and remains viable today. The Marin Carbon Project is a consortium of organizations that seeks to enhance carbon sequestration in rangeland, agricultural and forest soils through research, demonstration and implementation in Marin County. This position will be an exciting opportunity to work with core partners who developed this nationally–recognized program.
Project Title: Climate Change Project and Education Coordination, Climate Resilient Rangeland Planning, Prescribed Fire Coordination
The UC Hopland Research & Extension Center is a multi-disciplinary research and education facility in Mendocino County located roughly 2 hours north of UC Berkeley. We are stewards of more than 5,300 acres of oak woodland, grassland, chaparral, and riparian environments.
Our mission is to maintain and enhance ecosystem integrity through applied research, adaptive management, and educational activities, while also supporting working landscapes, with diverse agricultural products and recognized ecosystem services derived from these landscapes. We conduct research projects and educational programs in wildlife ecology and management, animal science, entomology, plant ecology, public health, watershed management, and soil ecology.
The BearCorps Member will work on various climate change and regenerative agriculture projects including; developing and coordinating educational workshops on climate change effects and adaptation, from daylong workshops to multi-day events; assisting with development of land management plans including grazing strategies, fencing realignments, field camp development; coordinating prescribed burn activities; assisting with various outreach projects to extend UC knowledge and programs into local communities; assisting with citizen science projects.
The work will address various environmental challenges including; how north coast communities adapt to climate change effects; how to effectively use prescribed fire to meet multiple land management and ecosystem service goals; how to integrate grazing multiple species into effective regenerative agricultural land management systems.
Organizational and Community Highlights
The Hopland Research and Extension Center (HREC) is known throughout UC ANR as one of the most beautiful locations within our statewide REC system. The site is over 5300 acres from 600-3000 feet in elevation and with a very diverse mixture of oak woodlands, rangelands, riparian areas, and chaparral. The core of HREC is our headquarters area nestled in a small valley surrounded by oaks and madrones. We have a conference center, dormitory, 7 houses, an office building with lab, sheep barn, warehouses, outbuildings and a full set of workshops (wood, metal, mechanics) to support our working ranch. We have a sheep flock of about 200 animals, 40 miles of dirt roads to access the site, and a diverse fleet of vehicles and equipment of all kinds to serve our needs. We are located about 10 minutes outside of the small town of Hopland which has multiple restaurants and a couple of small stores. The larger towns of Ukiah and Cloverdale are each about 20 minutes away and each have full services including stores, theatres, cultural events, and diverse populations. Housing can be found in any of these towns and we can also offer it onsite.
Our staff of 8 are highly skilled individuals in their respective areas including research, administration, business, livestock, community education, facilities, equipment, agriculture. Alongside our HREC staff we also house staff for two statewide programs, IGIS and California Naturalist, which add to the richness of our offerings and skill sets from which the Member can learn diverse skills. We all get along well with and respect one another, trusting each other to get their work done well and to ask for help when needed. We are a fairly independent group operating on a mixture of regular staff meetings, individual meetings, email, and in person individual check-ins. Work is done in all types of weather and conditions, from 100+ degree days in the summer to frost and rain in the winter.
Project Title: Weaverville Community Forest Planning and Inventory
The Trinity County Resource Conservation District (the District) is a steward of the Weaverville Community Forest (WCF) located in Trinity County, CA. This stewardship is a collaboration between the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Forest Service, and the District to manage the forests around Weaverville to benefit the local economy, maintain the viewshed, and create a resilient forest with the input of the local community. The WCF is home to many recreational trails, timber lands, historic resources, and wildlife habitat.
A BearCorps Member placed in Weaverville, CA will assist with the following tasks:
- Update the Weaverville Community Forest Strategic Plan for 2020-2025
- Conduct a Forest Health Inventory and collaborate to develop a GIS database housing data from multiple agencies
- Identify future Forest Health Projects
- Partner with the Trinity Trail Alliance to support their trail building/maintenance days
- Attend quarterly Weaverville Community Forest Planning Meetings, and facilitate coordination of the 2020
Annual Public Meeting.
- Map noxious weeds
- Plan Weaverville Summer Day Camp field trips to the Weaverville Community Forest
- Other duties as assigned
This opportunity has the flexibility to adapt to meet the interests of the BearCorps Member and provide a place for that member to start projects or monitoring protocols that will continue after their service is complete creating a long lasting effect for the WCF. As the climate is changing and impacting wildfire severity this position will provide opportunities to participate in or develop projects related to wildfire management.
Organizational and Community Highlights
The Trinity County Resource Conservation District (the District) is a special district of Trinity County with its headquarters nestled in Weaverville, California at the foothills of the Trinity Alps Wilderness. Weaverville, the County seat of Trinity County, is approximately sixty minutes from Redding in Shasta County and two hours from Arcata along HWY 299. Trinity County has a population of approximately 13,600 people and over 76% of the land in Trinity County is managed by the federal government. There is an abundance of outdoor recreation activities including access to the Trinity River along the HWY 299 corridor. Weaverville has a quaint historic downtown along Main St with a few art galleries, shops, and restaurants, yet is limited in indoor activity options. Trinity Lake and Lewiston Lake are just a short drive away with great fishing, hiking, swimming, and boating opportunities.
The mission of the District is to assist in protecting, managing, conserving, and restoring the natural resources of Trinity County through information, education, technical assistance, and project implementation programs. The District has a very open community with 12 full time employees and 14 seasonal employees. The District is divided into six main project areas; education and outreach, revegetation, road improvement, geographic information systems, forest health/fuel reduction, and watershed management. Each program coordinator works in tandem with one another to accomplish objectives on our multidisciplinary projects, each program area playing to their strengths to provide quality service to members of the public and our funding sponsors.
The District has a vibrant and diverse community which benefits from supporting diverse ideas and approaches in the workplace. The District supports initiatives and new ventures which benefit the local community. A BearCorps member that would be selected for this location would have the opportunity to work with each project area to incorporate what each discipline has to offer to benefit the Weaverville Community Forest. This opportunity will provide opportunities for networking with BLM and USFS land management officials, one-on-one partnerships with local registered professional foresters, and local non-profits. A BearCorps member will walk away with the completion of an essential planning document, experience in developing and planning projects in a collaborative environmental, complete forest health inventories, and much more.
Project Title: Carbon Farm Outreach Coordinator
The Yolo County Resource Conservation District (YCRCD) is a special district recognized under state law and serves over 650,000 acres, including diverse agricultural operations, rangeland, public open space, and developed areas and municipalities. The YCRCD has accomplished a number of successes in improving water quality, addressing water conservation issues in urban and rural areas, preserving and restoring habitat, and developing new ways of achieving conservation goals. The mission of YCRCD is to protect, improve, and sustain the natural resources of Yolo County. The YCRCD uses a model of cooperation and voluntary action instead of regulation to solve complex local, regional, and statewide issues.
The BearCorps Member will work with RCD staff to improve our outreach into the community. This work will be diverse and includes tasks such as writing press releases for local newspapers, improving communication of conservation workshops and events, populating our new website with locally relevant information on climate-beneficial conservation, mentoring for high school students learning about on-farm climate beneficial practices such as planting native hedgerows and riparian buffers that sequester carbon, working with our County government to incorporate reporting of climate-beneficial agricultural practices into meeting their Climate Action Plan goals, coordinating with the Sacramento Valley Carbon Farm Hub, assessing our outreach strategy to better meet the needs of our diverse community, and assisting staff with public education workshops covering a variety of conservation issues including wildfire management.
The Carbon Farm Outreach Coordinator will be addressing GHG reduction through promoting and implementing on-farm practices that sequester carbon. Additional benefits of climate beneficial practices include wildlife and pollinator habitat improvements, ag and stormwater water quality improvements, groundwater recharge, soil health improvements and erosion reduction.
This work will increase resilience for California agricultural landscapes on irrigated and non-irrigated crop lands as well as private rangeland and public open space. The Members’ activities will focus on farming in Yolo County and the Sacramento Valley and will help address the needs of our communities, and promote state goals for healthy soils, improved watersheds, and wildfire impact.
Organizational and Community Highlights
We are looking for an AmeriCorps Member to join our incredible team here at the Yolo County RCD. We have a staff of 10 and a dynamic and collaborative work environment. Specific projects we are currently working on include planning and implementing habitat enhancements and conservation practices on the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, municipal open spaces, farm and ranchland, and involvement in restoration implementation and establishment activities on several ongoing projects on public and private land that include native pollinator hedgerows, riparian restoration, stormwater drainage structures and agricultural field borders. We embrace a problem‐solving approach to resource management and enjoy working with partners and clients with different perspectives, priorities and temperaments. Field and office work is split about 50/50. The ideal candidate will have a working knowledge of agricultural practices and some background and interest in habitat restoration.
Yolo County is an agricultural community and home to the University of California, Davis. Members can choose to live in the college town of Davis or the City of Woodland or other small towns in the area. It is helpful to have a vehicle but there is a bus service that is reliable. Being in the Sacramento Valley, the climate is cold in the winter and hot in the summer. You are only a couple of hours from the mountains to the east and the ocean to the west. Sacramento is a 25 minute drive away and San Francisco is an hour and a half away. The Amtrak Capitol Corridor connects the City of Davis with both of these cities.