CCE Climate Smart Farming Intern: Extension, Education, and Research to Help Farmers Respond to Climate Change in New York State - PROJECT FILLED

Worksite Location
CICSS Offices - Cornell University
Project Dates
June 5 - August 11
Faculty Sponsor
Allison Chatrchyan
Other Campus-Based Mentors/Supervisors
Art DeGaetano (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Darcy Telenko and Luke Haggerty (CLEREL), Laura McDermott (CCE Eastern NY Commercial Hort), Kim Morrill and Kitty O'Neil (CCE St. Lawrence), Ave Bauder (CCE Seneca County)
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to U.S. agriculture because of the sensitivity of agricultural productivity to weather and long-term climate variability and change, and the costs of impacts and adaptations to changing climate conditions. Many agricultural producers are already experiencing first-hand the impacts of climate change – including more extreme storms, longer and more serious periods of drought, and earlier bloom dates – and are making adaptive changes, such as planting different crops at different times, or harvesting later in the season. But farmers and other stakeholders indicate the need for more research-based information and tools that are specific to their region and sector, so that they can adopt effective adaptation measures quickly to manage the effects of climate change, minimize costs, and capitalize on emerging opportunities. 

Researchers with the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions and new Climate Smart Farming Extension Team have been working collaboratively to develop new, research-based educational materials and decision-tools for farmers and other stakeholders in New York, and have developed a new website to provide a centralized location for relevant information ( The CICSS Intern will contribute to the development of the new materials, decision tools, website content, and outreach and educational events and materials throughout the summer.

Roles and Responsibilities

In collaboration with the faculty mentors and regional Climate Smart Farming (CSF) extension team specialists, the key responsibilities of the CICSS intern will include:

- Help collect, track and analyze data and/or literature related to climate impacts to agriculture and other sectors
- Assist in developing new content or training materials to support new CSF decision support tools in development – materials will be posted on website
- Track performance of decision tools and report on how farmers or extension agents are using them in their work
- Help plan and implement climate smart farming and climate change outreach at extension events such as the 4-H Career Explorations event and Empire Farm Days
- Help organize farmer focus group meetings or trainings, as needed
- Prepare articles for the CICSS newsletter, or for Facebook, website or Twitter posts
- Attend team meetings, regional or statewide meetings and conference calls with CSF team members
- Other tasks as assigned by the Faculty lead or CCE Supervisors.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

The student should have the following qualifications and experience:
- Background in climate change, policy, agricultural or natural resource sciences (preference will be given to students who are enrolled in the climate change minor or have completed climate change coursework);
- Strong written and verbal communication skills;
- Ability to translate scientific material for a general audience, and engage stakeholders through focus groups, interviews, or community outreach events;
- Basic familiarity with website content management systems and basic editing software, or willingness to learn; and
- Background in excel spreadsheets, database management tools, and/or survey tools is a plus.

Benefits and Skills

The student will gain expertise and familiarity with climate change science and extension, as well as the real world impacts of climate change in New York State and beyond, while building a broad set of practical, resume-building skills in research, writing, event planning, communication and outreach. Specifically, the student will develop a proficiency in both quantitative and qualitative data analysis as related to various aspects of climate change research, and learn to skillfully communicate about climate change and its impacts to a variety of academic, political, farm-based, land management, and general public audiences.