Tag Archives: climate champion

Stephanie standing in a forest, smiling with a green shirt and blue Mass Audubon hat.

In Your Words: Stephanie Kane

I was first introduced to Mass Audubon when I attended the Field Naturalist Certificate Program in 2021 at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. Then, my connections strengthened through the yearlong Birding Certificate Program. With my growing knowledge about the natural world from these two programs, and countless others, my understanding, experience, and relationship with the environment deepened, along with my concern about climate change.

Stephanie with a blue Mass Audubon hat and gently holding a bird with her hands. Jon stands next to her with a hand underneath hers.
Stephanie Kane (left) with Jon Atwood (right) at the Birding Certificate Program © Lauren Ramos

As an individual, I had taken steps to reduce my own environmental impact. However, I wanted to do more, because we need to do more. I just didn’t know what to do or how to go about it. I sought out groups that make meaningful, impactful changes that are driven by science and nature-based approaches. I found that, and more, in Mass Audubon’s new Climate Champions program.

In the first month I joined, I learned about local and state programs, current legislative issues, and concrete opportunities I could participate in, at different levels of involvement. With the support and education of the Mass Audubon team, I participated in my first Lobby Day. This was more than I ever thought I could do. I was able to reflect on my experience with nature, why it matters to me, and how I could clearly communicate that to others. As part of the advocacy, I even led my group of constituents to advocate for key environmental and conservation funding with a state senator.

In hearing others’ experiences and reasons for advocating for nature, my understanding of nature’s role and impact across many facets of our lives expanded. Our personal stories represented a broad and diverse set of experiences with nature and its unique impacts on our lives.

Stephanie stands smiling in the forest with a green shirt and blue Mass Audubon hat.
Stephanie Kane

As a result of Climate Champions, I’ve continued to learn more about climate-related issues, complexities, and ways I can Influence and support impactful actions at a new level. I’ve shared what I’ve learned with others and used these skills to find new ways to advocate for the environment in my community and with my local legislators.

Overall, I am grateful for the Mass Audubon team and the Climate Champions community. In this community, each of us is heard, informed, and empowered. We’ve learned from each other’s unique perspective and supported each other as we work toward meaningful solutions. I am grateful for the opportunity to empower others to advocate for the issues that are meaningful to them. Overall, I am most grateful for the opportunity to do more and be a larger part of much needed climate solutions.

To learn more about Climate Champions and how you can become one, visit massaudubon.org/climatechampions.

Kevin Izzo Selfie

December Climate Champions Update

Climate Champions is a Mass Audubon grassroots volunteer program to advocate for policies that advance nature-based climate solutions. With training from policy experts, Climate Champions advocate for local and state policies that help achieve the state’s goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and reverse negative health impacts of climate change for Environmental Justice communities.    

Meet a Champion, find out how it’s going and what’s next, and learn how you can get involved.

Climate Champion Spotlight: Kevin Izzo 

“As I became more climate aware, I realized that reducing my individual impact wasn’t enough and that I needed to do more. Not having previous advocacy experience I wasn’t sure where to start. Climate Champions has provided me a way to educate myself and become more active. It is a thoughtful group with wide-ranging concerns. Since joining, I’ve: 

  • Researched local adoption of three climate initiatives, 
  • Written letters to influence building code design, 
  • Phone banked with the Environmental Voter Project, 
  • Participated in a Massachusetts solar siting survey, 
  • Helped to recruit new members, and 
  • Weighed in on legislative priorities.” 

How It’s Going 

Climate Champions celebrated the passage of a major Economic Development bill that included $540 million to support nature-based climate solutions, clean energy, and climate resiliency. Climate Champions pushed for these investments at our Beacon Hill Lobby Day in June, and the House and Senate responded. We hope this success inspires you as it has us!   

Champions were also briefed on the Community Preservation Act (CPA) that helps to preserve open space and cheered the passage of CPA in five towns at the mid-term election.  

As a way to grow the program, champions participated in recruitment workshops, where they learned about the variety of program recruitment materials available and brainstormed their own outreach to recruit more Climate Champions. 

In addition, champions had the opportunity to: 

  • Complete the MA Department of Energy Resources’ Solar Siting Survey to advocate for solar projects that protect our natural and working lands 
  • Submit comments on proposed changes to the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) regulations to advocate for the reduction the time and costs involved with restoring wetlands 

What’s Next 

Climate Champions will be trained by Mass Audubon’s policy experts about local town government, how to take local climate action, and the resources available to facilitate that action. Champions will begin researching their local legislators, learning about their influences and interests, in preparation for future advocacy engagement. 

Mass Audubon’s Policy and Advocacy staff will be finalizing the Legislative Agenda for the 2023-2024 legislative session after reviewing insightful feedback from both Climate Champions and Youth Climate Leadership Program (YCLP) volunteers. 

Get Involved

Become a Climate Champion, no matter your time constraints or experience level! 

Find out more and sign up >