When Stephanie Gaspar, the president of Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society (KVAS), heard that Audubon Florida wanted to partner with chapters to host climate advocacy sessions, she immediately reached out to start organizing a training.
Climate change remains one of the largest threats to Florida’s way of life and the Sunshine State’s native species. Through community action and advocacy, people, cities, and counties can both curb carbon emissions and improve resiliency.
Laura Aguirre, a Conservation Organizer with Audubon Florida, brainstormed with Stephanie and developed a training that would help advocates master the fundamentals of climate science, get up to speed on state and county action on climate solutions, parse through local government structures and policies, and practice advocacy skills.
On March 7, KVAS and Audubon Florida cohosted that training at Peghorn Nature Park.
The training was open to chapter members and interested community members. Chris Kincaid, an Urban Forester with Osceola County, gave opening comments, sharing information about the county’s Urban Forestry Management Plan.
Some participants were seasoned advocates looking to broaden the scope of their advocacy work, while others were newcomers to the community, eager to become involved. Still more were college students, dipping their toes into civic engagement. During the training, participants had an opportunity to get to know one another and share their expertise and interests.
In Florida, so many of our best solutions have come from municipal and county governments that realize that the time to act on climate is now. During the training, we shared our model ordinance toolkit, which includes examples that city or county staff can consider as a starting point for crafting climate solutions.
At the close of the training, we asked participants to examine their own skillsets and interests and share how they might contribute to a climate campaign. We’re looking forward to seeing how they apply those advocacy skills in the future and champion local climate solutions.