Developing Community-Based Climate Communicators

Training and peer learning to expand capacity and opportunities for climate communication, education, and action across Greater Minnesota

Naturalists in the forest

This collaborative project addressed awareness-raising, education, and capacity needs identified by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 13 — to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Through a climate communicators cohort program, we aimed to equip trusted community messengers in Greater Minnesota with the tools and confidence to engage in effective climate conversations, build community climate literacy, and accelerate climate action across  Minnesota.

Project summary

In a survey distributed by MCAP to Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (RSDP) staff, we identified climate misinformation and controversy as barriers to engaging in climate conversations, indicating a clear need for training and support for fostering constructive dialogue. Research suggests that local stories and messengers can make a difference when the message is framed correctly, illuminating personal observations of changes and presenting concrete, action-oriented arguments in support of climate change.

This pilot project trained 20 trusted community messengers across Greater Minnesota in solutions-oriented climate change communication and supported participants in engaging in community-based conversations. 

Project Team

Heidi Roop

Heidi Roop

Suzi Clark

Suzi Clark
PostDoctoral Associate

Linda Kingery
Outreach Specialist,
Minnesota Extension and NW Regional Sustainable Development Partnership

Caryn Mohr
Assistant Statewide Director, Regional Sustainable Development Partnership

Anne Dybsetter
Executive Director,
Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership

Kat Gonzales

Katerina Gonzales
PostDoctoral Fellow,
University of Minnesota 

Project Support

This project is funded by 

  • The University of Minnesota (U of M) Global Programs and Strategy Alliance (GPS Alliance)
  • University of Minnesota Sustainable Development Goals Initiative
  • University of Minnesota Extension
  • West Central Initiative