The Climate Interns supported under the North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (NAPECA) grant are wrapping up their work to strengthen collaborations between Canadian and US biosphere regions. The project, in coordination with the Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association and the USBN, supported interns in four US and Canadian biosphere regions. Manar Talab, a recent graduate of Princeton University, and Sara Constantineau, a recent graduate of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (SUNY ESF) Landscape Architecture Master’s Program, advanced climate science and collaboration in the Obtawaing Biosphere Region (OBR) and Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Network (CABN), respectively.
During her internship, Manar conducted research projects and sourced datasets to support OBR’s climate resilience initiatives. She created a database of 120 tools sorted by landscape and land use type to inform climate adaptation planning from scientific, community, and municipal perspectives. Additionally, she researched and synthesized climate adaptation, resilience, and community work case studies to inform future projects in OBR and beyond.
At the One Water Gathering and Is the Coast Clear? conference, Manar met environmentalists from the US and Canada working to improve the health of the Great Lakes which inspired her to seek connections across the USBN and internationally. Throughout her internship, Manar prioritized opportunities to connect with communities in the biosphere region. She presented to a beach club in Indian River to discuss the future of OBR and how landowners can get involved. She also shadowed the Sault Ste. Marie tribe’s natural resources team. During her visit, she saw wild rice restoration sites, assisted in invasive Purple Loosestrife removal, and learned more about the tribe’s projects, challenges, and future collaborations with OBR partners.
As she approaches the end of her internship, she is developing a website to serve as a centralized source of information about OBR, including environmental literacy materials on climate change impacts and ecosystem services. The tools and resources Manar has developed benefit OBR, the USBN, and international partners tackling climate adaptation challenges. The most valuable parts of the internship for Manar have been the varied scope of work and the many connections made with the other interns and partners in the Obtawaing Biosphere Region and beyond.
Sara worked with CABN to advance the Atlas of Climate and Environmental Change for the Frontenac Arch and Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Regions. The Atlas aims to serve as an open-access, transboundary framework to collect, analyze, and disseminate climate and environmental change data relevant to decision making and education. Sara worked with Emanuel Carter, CABN Steering Committee member and SUNY ESF professor, to facilitate bi-national scientific exchange among the Queen’s University and SUNY ESF biological stations, non-profits, and other partners in the two biosphere regions to inform the scope, scale, and type of data to include. Further, in collaboration with Dr. Daniel Cronan, Sara established an ArcGIS Hub as a platform for the Atlas.
The project team secured additional funding to continue work on the Atlas through the abrdn Charitable Foundation and UNESCO’s “Promoting sustainable development through UNESCO’s programmes and sites” project. Sara and CABN Coordinator, Katie Darr, attended the launch event on September 6th in Venice, Italy to present the project goals and participate in peer learning exchanges with other biosphere regions and UNESCO sites.
For Sara, the most rewarding part of the internship was meeting like-minded individuals and organizations in biosphere regions working at multiple scales to connect local initiatives to a global stage. Her work lays the foundation for a tool that will help bridge the gap between two states and countries to facilitate bioregional decision making that encompasses shared ecologies, landscapes, and cultures. The Atlas has great potential to be a model for biosphere regions nationally and globally.