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Facilitating Community Change: Lessons from Climate Adaptation to Guide Extension Engagement1

Martha Monroe and Annie Oxarart 2


This booklet provides Extension faculty in Florida with useful strategies to help communities understand, discuss, evaluate, and recommend potential solutions to current and future problems. While much of the research behind these strategies has been conducted in the context of climate adaptations in vulnerable communities and ecosystems, such as coastal fisheries, rainfed agriculture, and floodplain cities, the principles that underlie these processes are universal. The same strategies and guidelines can be tailored for any issue that requires the public to become more informed, generate options, and understand advantages and disadvantages of various choices. In these situations, Extension agents can facilitate a process of thoughtful deliberation to help communities find common ground and move toward finding solutions.

Extension Addresses Community Issues: Planning for Climate Change Adaptation

Extension agents work on many issues and at many levels to help improve individual, family, and community well-being in Florida. Because climate change is one of the biggest current issues and affects several aspects of society, Extension programming related to climate has increased in recent years. In some cases, agents are helping to communicate the science behind global warming or the causes of increases in greenhouse gas emissions. Some communities or industries are already focusing on mitigation—implementing strategies to reduce sources of greenhouse gases or to increase the amount of greenhouse gases being removed from the atmosphere, through carbon sequestration, for example.

In other cases where local impacts of our changing climate are being felt, community and business leaders may be asking how to reduce their risk in an uncertain future. This provides an opportunity for Extension agents to develop programs and processes that plan for adaptation. Adaptation responds to actual or expected climate changes by implementing strategies to reduce vulnerability to or gain benefits from climate change (IPCC 2014). Even though adaptation strategies may not address the causes of climate change, they present tangible ways for people to respond. Furthermore, they are most effective at the local level because they can be designed to match the specific context (Füssel 2007).

Climate-related changes are already underway (box 1). In many places, farmers, health workers, urban planners, builders, ranchers, and forest landowners are adapting their typical practices to accommodate new conditions. Extension can help community leaders and those at risk become more aware, answer their questions, and navigate a transparent process to make decisions that will affect their future.

Box 1. 

Examples of Climate Impacts and Adaptations in Florida.

Figure 1. 
Figure 1. 

Details on climate science and climate change abound (see Resources), but there has been less attention on the strategies and processes that Extension agents can use to help communities navigate adaptation decisions. This guide summarizes themes from a review of global adaptation projects and offers a few case studies to illustrate how Florida agents and specialists are supporting change.

Why Extension Should Help Communities Address Change, Especially Climate Change

We all know change is inevitable, but that doesn't make it easier to address. Avoidance is one reasonable coping strategy, particularly when there is disagreement about the causes of change and uncertainty about its expected impacts. If the extent of change is unknown, why bother to act now? However, many adaptation strategies can produce outcomes that are beneficial for both current and future conditions, and some communities are already taking advantage of climatic uncertainties by making changes that will improve their quality of life regardless of the future. For example, improving affordable housing, repairing bridges and roads, and investing in renewable energy are good strategies for a sustainable future, regardless of climate. In addition, when high-value resources are at risk, people might be willing to protect them despite the uncertainty, just like our fire and flood insurance policies (Luque et al. 2013).

The global nature of climate change might also justify non-action because people believe a few individuals or one community won't make a difference. In this case, people are confusing mitigating the extent of climate change with helping communities adapt to change. While it is challenging to determine how much local efforts to reduce carbon emissions influence overall reductions in atmospheric carbon, it is very easy to see how raising a roadbed prevents damage during high tide. Small adaptations can make a big difference to families and communities who are dealing with changes that affect their day-to-day decisions, property, and well-being.

Climate change is a complex issue made more challenging by its global scale, diffuse causes, and multiple threats. From a human perspective, just thinking about climate change is stressful. People tend to respond to threats by assessing the degree of impact (risk, severity, and vulnerability) and assessing the possible effects and responses to this impact, including personal and community responses (Reser and Swim 2011). How people respond is a function of their experience, their biases (especially underpreparing for disaster, believing technology will save us, and lacking experience with significant threat, see Meyer and Kunreuther 2017), the way their social group constructs and interprets the issue, and the degree to which they believe they are responsible to take action and/or capable of taking action. These insights can help Extension agents present information in ways that can be better understood and more relevant to lived experiences. Beginning with the acknowledgement that people have different opinions about climate science based on the news and priorities of their peers and leaders, Extension professionals can highlight the ways communities are adapting to potential and actual changes, and strengthen social networks and capacity for coping (Reser and Swim 2011).

Why Adaptation Is a Valuable Approach

One advantage to focusing on how communities can adapt to a global issue is that the scale of the change becomes manageable. Smaller problems require appropriately smaller solutions. When people stop thinking about global change and imagine just one local element of change, such as finding a hybrid variety for a vulnerable crop, or preventing mosquitoes from breeding in their neighborhoods, success is more likely. Downscaling the problem makes it easier to think about and allows people to explore creative solutions (Weick 1984).

Research suggests that the action of planning for change can increase an individual's well-being. Even when the dimensions of the change are uncertain, people prefer to know there is a plan for response, and they particularly appreciate being involved in creating those plans (Kaplan and Kaplan 2009; Rafferty and Griffin 2006). Extension can help engage people in this process and let others know a plan is being developed.

What makes some people embrace an opportunity for change while others can barely begin to think about it? One factor is resilience. Individuals, organizations, and communities can all exhibit varying levels of resilience. This can mean having inner strength to contend with problems as well as having access to networks, resources, and social capital that enable a community to plan for and recover from crisis. It also means being able to function in a new world. There are things we can do to become more resilient in the face of change and make the journey toward change less stressful, like acknowledging that things are changing and seeking supportive networks and resources to improve coping strategies (Sarkis 2017). In the context of communities adapting to climate changes, resilience means the capacity to find alternatives, avoid or deflect problems, or recover from an event.

Some agents have expressed concern about approaching the topic of climate change because the issue has been politicized. Extension agents will find it essential to carefully consider the objectives of their program, who will attend, and how the program will be advertised as they construct an agenda that leads to thoughtful and meaningful exchange (McNeeley and Lazrus 2014). As the examples in this guide from Thomas Ruppert, Holly Abeels, Wendy-Lin Bartels, Libby Carnahan, and Alicia Bradigan-Betancourt suggest, residents and community leaders are interested in learning and discussing options. They realize that the future may not mirror the past and want to be prepared (box 2).

The Cooperative Extension Service has a long and successful history of local agents addressing local problems that have state and national significance. It also has a track record of both building skills to help people solve their own problems and using the best available science to offer practical and useful solutions. Both strategies are essential as Extension agents help communities navigate their challenges.

Box 2. 

Florida Case Study: Satellite Beach Explores Sea-level Rise Issues.

How to Help Communities with Adaptation Planning

Extension faculty are uniquely positioned to help orchestrate or participate in a community adaptation planning process by engaging relevant government agencies, drawing on university expertise, facilitating information exchange among community members, and guiding a deliberative discussion process (box 3). Extension, after all, offers a wealth of expertise in community education. Participants need both factual information and an opportunity to hear what other people think about that information. Both the information and the opinions about the information are essential, rather like the two rails that hold the rungs of a ladder. Remembering to provide both "rails" will help you build a program that provides information and discussion simultaneously. Some information is needed to ensure participants have the necessary background to create informed judgment. The process of discussion often leads to new questions and the need for more information. There is a limit to how much information people can absorb without time to process it through discussion, questions, and reflection. And climbing a ladder happens one rung at a time, giving agents a chance to add to each rail as they go! The CIVIC program (Community Voices, Informed Choices) has many resources to help agents explore this process.

This deliberative discussion process has a long history in New England's town hall meetings, where communities use it to arrive at good solutions. Some programs, like the National Issues Forums Institute, emphasize opportunities to discuss opinions without getting side-tracked by scientific information, which can be a source of division. In some scientific, complex problems, it may be helpful to invite the public to a meeting that enables experts to provide a basic amount of information and then answer questions from the audience (Monroe et al. 2009). This allows community members to build upon a base of knowledge with information that specifically meets their needs. Another possibility is for Extension to organize a series of informational programs, field tours, and demonstrations in concert with opportunities to discuss options and seek common ground.

The goal of deliberative discussions around climate adaptations is to understand the issues, evaluate areas of risk and concern, identify and assess potential solutions, and recommend actions. Deliberative discussions are the activity that Extension agents can use to help a community move forward with adaptation planning. They can involve the presentation of information, but the discussion portion primarily revolves around participants expressing their preferences and exploring alternatives. At the end of a discussion, the participants may be able to prioritize options and recommend strategies for the next step.

Community adaptation planning to address climate issues typically involves the following three phases (Moser and Ekstrom 2010):

  1. Understanding: During this phase, the community is involved in identifying and learning about climate issues, impacts, and risks specific to their geographic area. They may assess their vulnerability and consider the priorities they have for the most valued components of the community. Community members may find it helpful to learn what other communities are doing as they seek relevant resources and imagine possibilities.

  2. Planning: This phase includes identifying, assessing, and selecting strategies to address risks. It may begin by thinking about what could be changed and considering the resources involved in making that change. It will likely involve expanding the network of collaborators to access needed resources as the plan takes shape.

  3. Management: This final phase includes implementing chosen actions, along with monitoring and evaluating their effectiveness. This would likely involve relevant agencies and organizations taking the lead on carrying out the changes, but if the community needs information and demonstrations to adopt these new actions, Extension could again play a key role in the process.

Because Extension faculty are mostly likely to start or enter an existing community effort during the understanding or planning phase, we focus on those two adaptation phases in this booklet. Table 1 provides a variety of objectives and strategies for additional program development during each phase.

Box 3. 

Florida Case Study: Economic Modeling for Citizen Engagement in Monroe County

Tips for Creating Successful Community Engagement in Adaptation Planning

A recent literature review assessed 50 studies that explored how educators and communicators have facilitated community engagement for climate-change planning (Plate et al. 2019). The studies occurred in a variety of countries around the world and focused on vulnerabilities to climate change related to natural resources, agriculture, public health, disaster planning, and development.

The following five themes that emerged from this review provide a roadmap for agents to help improve communication and engagement in community adaptation planning. While these themes were obtained from cases based on climate adaptation, we believe they have value for facilitating community change in general:

  1. Establish positive initial engagement

  2. Incorporate participatory methods

  3. Use tools to facilitate understanding

  4. Address trust and uncertainty

  5. Maximize limited time

These themes are relevant to multiple objectives and can provide an overall framework to guide Extension agents in their adaptation-planning endeavors. Examples from the literature are used to illustrate these themes, and case studies from Florida suggest how Extension agents can use these themes in developing programs.

Establish Positive Initial Engagement

Similar to other Extension programs or efforts, an important first step is to create positive initial engagement with the community. This step involves two key pieces: understanding your audience and strategically planning the first activities that will engage them. A successful outcome will put the next steps on a solid foundation. This is especially critical for contentious issues, where perceptions and knowledge will likely vary across stakeholders.

The method used for selecting participants with whom to engage will likely be a function of your objectives for adaptation planning. You may already have an audience in mind, or you may be designing a program that is open to the public. If community leaders are asking questions about what is possible, it might be appropriate to bring together agency staff with a range of expertise and responsibilities. If adaptation actions have been proposed, it may be useful to introduce the rationale and possibilities to the public, giving them a role to add information and prioritize actions. The studies included in the literature review typically invited a combination of participants representing different levels and types of knowledge, expertise, and leadership roles with the community (box 4). For an issue like climate change, creating a diverse group and ensuring adequate representation from different social groups is important. Participants for beginning a planning effort were often identified through both researcher and stakeholder input, rather than being open to the general public. Many articles state, however, that for any of these plans to be implemented, the public needed to be informed and involved. You may find the strategies listed below helpful.

Tips for How to Identify Participants

  • Select presenters and participants with disciplinary expertise that will help create understanding of the different factors involved (Eames et al. 2013).

  • Select representatives from different sectors in the region, such as emergency response, health, agriculture, transportation, business, natural resources, etc. (Lemieux, Gray, Douglas, Nielsen, and Pearson 2014).

  • Include stakeholders at the state, district, and community level as appropriate (Bhave, Mishra, and Groot 2013). Neighboring counties could offer important collaborations, for example, and state agencies might have resources to assist with this effort.

  • Include both formal and informal leaders (Bardsley & Rogers 2011; Butler et al. 2014; Matthews et al. 2008). Formal leaders are employed in a leadership capacity, but informal leaders might be critical for building community acceptance. Consider asking for participants who are faith-based leaders; high school science teachers; in civic associations such as Rotary, Junior League, and Kiwanis; and from specialty organizations such as nature centers or garden clubs.

  • Focus on including "champions" as presenters, group leaders, or participants. These people are influential within the community and have pre-existing, positive relationships with many community members (Andersson, Wilk, Graham, and Warburton 2013).

  • Ask an initial group of stakeholders to identify participants from their networks, with consideration for creating a diverse and balanced group (Langsdale et al. 2009, Chaudhury et al. 2016, André and Jonsson 2015) (box 5).

After participants are identified, use introductory activities at the beginning of your first face-to-face event that will appropriately engage them in the topic of climate change adaptation. These activities should simplify the complexity of the issue and help to diffuse potentially contentious situations. Several of the studies in the literature review began by sharing risk-related, local-scale data, while also providing opportunities for group discussion and participation.

Tips for Creating Entry Activities

  • Encourage stakeholders to provide their own experiences in the context of the local data (Bartels et al. 2012; Bell et al. 2015; Girvetz, Gray, Tear, & Brown 2014). This can take the form of a story, a timeline, or a map, for example.

  • Start with a discussion on seasonal climatic concerns related to natural variation in weather patterns, rather than discussing climate change (Bartels et al. 2012).

  • Identify local vulnerabilities with stakeholders and shared scientific predictions of future climate variability (Galicia et al. 2015).

  • Discuss local data probabilities of events such as winter wildfires, lower winter agricultural yields, dam breaks, and lack of household water (Andersson et al. 2013).

Box 4. 

Florida Case Study: Growing Partnerships for Resiliency

Support Engagement Using a Participatory Approach

Efforts that encourage active participation in dialogue, learning, decisions, and actions allow participants to share their knowledge and perspectives and provide ways for them to be meaningfully involved in the issue and solutions. These types of activities can lead to continued involvement, bridge the gaps among different types of stakeholders, tap into local expertise, and support social learning—where all participants can contribute and learn from one another.

Tips for Engaging Participants

  • Allow participants to create "influence diagrams" to depict how different climate impacts (e.g., drought, heat, fire, floods, storms, sea-level rise) affect their local ecosystems, communities, infrastructure, economy, and more. These diagrams can help participants understand multiple connections between impacts and consequences, and to identify key areas of concerns and priorities for future action (Ross et al. 2015).

  • Reverse conventional roles of specialists/experts and stakeholders (box 6), so stakeholders take the primary role in initial discussions and specialists take the role of listeners (Bartels et al. 2012).

  • Divide participants into small groups by their expertise (e.g., community planners, leaders, representatives from different sectors) and then report out to larger group (Picketts et al. 2012; Frazier, Wood, and Yarnal 2010). Alternatively, you can mix groups so individuals with different expertise can promote diversity in discussions (box 7).

  • Use strategies such as community theatre, walking journeys, risk mapping, environmental monitoring, role plays, or scenario building to help participants envision and work toward the future (Tschakert et al. 2014). For example, the Sea-level Rise Adaptation Strategy Role Play Game is an engaging exercise to help participants explore adaptation strategies and practice collaboration and negotiation skills (

  • Collect input from stakeholders from different educational and socio-economic backgrounds separately to ensure representation of all perspectives and to create activities that build on participants' perceptions and knowledge (Bhave et al. 2013; Christmann et al. 2015). This can be accomplished through interviews or separate focus groups.

  • Allow participants time to interact with researchers and ask questions about scientific data and graphs (Matthews et al. 2008). People often have questions about how to interpret the science and what the projections include. Finding a scientist who can explain the information clearly is important, too.

Figure 2. Influence diagram created during a climate roundtable in Southeast Queensland, Australia (Ross et al. 2012)
Figure 2.  Influence diagram created during a climate roundtable in Southeast Queensland, Australia (Ross et al. 2012)

Box 6. 

Florida Case Study: Tristate Climate Learning Network: Row Crop Stakeholders Managing Climate Risks

Box 7. 

Example from the Literature: One Day Workshop Informs Land-use Planning

Use Tools to Facilitate Understanding

Tools, such as simulations, maps, or models, are an essential part of community adaptation planning for climate change, because the evidence can be hard for individuals to see and acknowledge. Tools can help participants better understand the potential impacts of climate change, better define community risks, and better assess various adaptation options. Many of the studies included in this literature found ways to incorporate participants' knowledge and experience into tools through historical timelines, sketches, and figures reporting scientific data. Numerous resources have been developed to visually explain changes in climate, and there are online tools to assist with risk assessment (see Resources section).

Tips for Using Tools to Enhance Understanding

  • Show videos and web-based maps of historic and projected change, as well as simulations to show potential climate impacts (box 8). For example, seeing simulated coastal flooding scenarios increased participants' engagement and concern regarding sea-level rise (Bell et al. 2015; Preston et al. 2009; Dempsey and Fisher 2005; Wadey et al. 2015). Box 9 provides maps and scenarios for sea-level rise in Florida.

  • Use regional maps, timelines, or other visualizations to allow participants to display their own memories of climate variability and trends, community vulnerabilities, resources, and activities (Furman and Bartels 2017; Dwamena et al. 2011, Andersson et al. 2013, Bartels et al. 2012). This allows participants to be a source of information, which can complement the scientific information presented.

  • When explaining historic and projected climate changes to the public, create graphics or visualizations to replace busy charts of numbers (Girvetz et al. 2014; Tschaakert et al. 2014; Christmann et al. 2015). A quick Internet search will result in several online programs that can help you create infographics to help highlight key take-away messages from the data.

  • Empower participants to collect their own local data by teaching them to use online vulnerability assessment tools and simulations of future impacts to help them identify risks and potential benefits of adaptation options (Licuanan et al. 2015; Mamauag et al. 2013; Preston et al. 2009; Langsdale et al. 2009).

Box 8. 

Example from the Literature: Using Visualizations as a Tool in Participatory Coastal Management

Box 9. 

Sea-level Rise and Coastal Flooding Visualization Tools

Address Trust and Uncertainty

As you likely know from previous Extension efforts in your community, lack of trust and uncertainty are significant barriers to addressing complex issues such as climate change. Successful programs include multiple strategies for building trust and addressing uncertainty, often starting with the initial engagement and visualization of data. Several studies included in the literature review report that using local data, relevant contexts, and clear language were most helpful in developing trust with participants (box 10). The following tips can be embedded in strategies that achieve the other goals as well.

Tips to Build Trust and Reduce Uncertainty

  • Ask organizations and institutions that are perceived as trustworthy and credible to be involved in hosting your events (Dempsey and Fisher 2005). While trust in national organizations may be low, local scientists tend to be perceived as more trustworthy.

  • Provide sources of data when possible, in addition to summaries or charts, so that participants can investigate and explore the data at their convenience and acknowledge the levels of uncertainty that exist (Matthews et al. 2008). Teachers and forest landowners have specifically stated that seeing citations and hearing about research studies increased their trust in the data as well as the speaker (Monroe, Oxarart, and Walkingstick 2019).

  • Determine the appropriate level of information to provide to your audience—avoid overwhelming people with technical terms and abstract concepts, but don't oversimplify either (Stott and Huq 2013). This balance can be achieved through a presentation that invites and encourages interaction, which is more likely if the initial engagement creates an atmosphere of participation and acceptance. Make sure your facilitators and speakers are personable, comfortable with this type of programming, and trusted members of the community.

  • When considering the actions that your community might undertake, identify and prioritize "no-regret" actions that would be useful in addressing climate change impacts but also in improving quality of life in the context of any future climate scenarios (Butler et al. 2014; Luque, Edwards, and Lalande 2013; and Cross et al. 2013). This may reduce the need to agree upon climate projections because these actions are beneficial for several reasons.

  • One aspect of successful deliberative discussions is to make sure that all perspectives and opinions are represented in the framing of options—including their advantages and disadvantages. Use various future scenarios so participants can consider contingency plans in the face of significant variance (Cross et al. 2013). It may be helpful to enlist the support of an advisory group with both conservative and liberal perspectives so that the discussion is framed to appeal to all opinions.

Box 10. 

Maximize Limited Time

Getting participants to commit a substantial amount of time can be a challenge for Extension programs. Communities are not likely to develop an adaptation plan overnight. Consider framing a long-term process that involves different audiences for different purposes and that incorporates specific engaging programs for each need. Use partner agencies and community leaders to develop this strategy and think about when experts should be involved, when the public should be informed, and when public discussions and priorities will be helpful. While the entire process might take six months or more (box 11), an individual may be involved for a two-hour program once or twice. This means it will be important to keep records of the outcomes of each meeting and share them with future participants. You can also plan shorter programs, such as a one-day workshop, to begin creating an adaptation plan with a group of stakeholders (box 12). Authors of the reviewed studies suggest that having strategies to maximize your participants' limited availability is an important determinant of success.

Tips for Maximizing Limited Time

  • Establish clear, agreed-upon goals and objectives to keep discussions on track and increase stakeholder satisfaction with the outcomes (Andersson et al. 2013; Byers et al. 2014; Langsdale et al. 2009).

  • Create personal relationships and multiple opportunities for involvement to increase participation rates in future activities (Andersson et al. 2013).

  • Avoid busy times of the year for your stakeholders, for example planting or harvesting season if working with farmers (Andersson et al. 2013).

  • Share documents or have a webinar before the event to introduce the topic and provide the necessary background information (Cross et al. 2013; Picketts et al. 2012).

  • Have participants complete pre-workshop surveys to focus the adaptive-planning exercises on meeting their needs, expectations, and previous experiences (Cross et al. 2013; Cone et al. 2013).


The Florida Cooperative Extension Service is a valuable link between research and the public. We partner with other state agencies and serve local municipalities with information and programs to engage people in planning for change. Like economic development or life skills for youth, climate change adaptation programs can address many different stakeholders and catalyze opportunities across a region.

The Florida Cooperative Extension Service's CIVIC Program offers strategies for engaging residents in meaningful discussions that can help municipalities select options for further research or provide data about what informed members of the public consider important.

This guide summarizes several key strategies that should be considered as agents work with partners to plan programs on controversial issues such as climate change and sea-level rise:

  1. Establish positive initial engagement by carefully identifying who should attend and establishing a welcoming atmosphere.

  2. Incorporate participatory methods in the workshop or meeting to engage the participants.

  3. Use tools such as websites, models, and maps to facilitate understanding.

  4. Address trust and uncertainty by thinking about your partners, hot-button issues that could offend participants, and which tools can help demonstrate vulnerability and risk.

  5. Maximize limited time. No one has time to waste, and this issue is likely only one among many things participants care about.

Despite different perceptions of the causes of climate change, there is increasing support in communities for exploring effective and reasonable strategies for reducing risk and enhancing community well-being. Many different resources are available to assist with this work through the University of Florida (UF), Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), and other universities, Florida agencies, and regional planning units. Extension agents have the skills and mandate to become key players in this work.


Climate Change and Impacts

  • National Climate Assessment 2018: Summary of Findings includes impacts to different sectors and areas, includes a chapter on southeastern US. summary.

  • Global Climate Change, NASA: Provides information on the evidence, causes, effects, and uncertainties of climate change.

  • NOAA, This website provides science and information about climate, with a goal of helping people make decisions on how to manage the climate-related risks and opportunities they face.

  • Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) Climate Scenarios Projection Map: Interactive EPA map that allows the user to see expected changes in temperature, sea level, precipitation, and more for specific geographic locations.

  • Future Urban Climates: This University of Maryland web app allows you to imagine what a selected city will feel like in 2080 under different emission scenarios by comparing the city to another location's current climate conditions.

  • PINEMAP Decision Support System: This regional website enables users to select specific locations in the southeast and learn how precipitation and temperature are likely to change over time.

  • Florida Climate Institute: The FCI provides resources, events, and a network of national and international research and public organizations, scientists, and individuals that may be helpful as Extension agents begin climate conversations in communities.

  • Florida Climate Center and State Climatologist: The Florida Climate Center provides information on several climate-related topics, data and projections, and other services.

  • Florida State University, Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS): COAPS performs interdisciplinary research in ocean-atmosphere-land-ice interactions to increase understanding of the physical, social and economic consequences of climate variability.

  • Florida International University, Sea Level Solutions Center: The Sea Level Solutions Center works with experts worldwide to develop sea level responses.

EDIS Documents

Adaptation Strategies and Tools

EDIS Documents

  • Risk Perception and Needs: Defining Extension's Climate Change Adaptation Role

  • Climate Change Adaptation: New Perspectives for Natural Resource Management and Conservation

  • Planning for Climate Change in South Florida: Climate Envelope Modeling for Threatened and Endangered Species

  • Adaptation Approaches to Sea-Level Rise in Florida

Communication and Facilitation

  • National Issues Forums Institute: Find background on deliberation, issue guides, and moderator resources.

  • NAAEE, Environmental Issues Forum, Climate Choices: A set of resources for those wanting to use the Climate Choices Issue Guide.

EDIS Documents

  • Challenges in Communicating Climate Change to Extension Audience

  • Strategies for Communicating Climate Change to Extension Audiences

  • Speaking with Policymakers About Current Issues

  • Effective Practice for Building Cross Sector Partnerships

  • How Problems Gain Importance and Become Contentious Issues through Agenda Setting


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Table 1. 

Tools for Developing Programs to Launch Adaptation Activities

Box 5. 

Example from the Literature: Engaging Forest Stakeholders to Increase Acceptance of Climate Change in Sweden

Box 11. 

Florida Case Study: Pinellas County Extension Bridges Climate, Science, Citizens, and Policy

Box 12. 

Example from the Literature: Designing a Workshop to Build Local Capacity for Climate Change Adaptation Planning in British Columbia

Table 2. 

Adaptation workshop framework. Picketts et al. 2012.


1. This document is FOR361, one of a series of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 2020. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.
2. Martha Monroe, professor and associate director, School of Forest Resources and Conservation; and Annie Oxarart, program coordinator for Extension activities, School of Forest Resources and Conservation; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611. Other contributors: Holly Abeels, UF/IFAS Extension Florida Sea Grant Agent, Brevard County; Wendy-Lin Bartels, assistant research scientist, Natural Resources Leadership Institute; Alicia Bradigan-Betancourt, director, UF/IFAS Extension Monroe County; Libby Carnahan, UF/IFAS Extension Florida Sea Grant agent, Pinellas County; Crystal Goodison, associate director, Geo-Plan Center, University of Florida; and Thomas Ruppert, climate and policy coordinator, UF/IFAS Extension Florida Sea Grant.