Maine Climate Corps

Latest updates -- please read! Information on draft report release date, think tank event and public comment period

Background

In June of 2021, L.D. 722: Resolve, To Study the Establishment of the Maine Climate Corps was enacted. The bill directed Volunteer Maine/the Maine Commission for Community Service, to study establishment of a Maine Climate Corps and submit a report to the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources by January 31, 2022. The study is to identify short-term projects and tasks in state agencies that could be service projects for residents of the State; consider the structure for a Maine Climate Corps in order to best address shifting and expanding climate challenges; and to examine existing service programs to identify potential hosts and partnerships for the Maine Climate Corps.

The Commission began work on the report in late June 2021. Nearly 100 structured interviews of government agencies, nonprofits, elected officials, and climate corps programs in other states were conducted to gather information to answer the study’s purposes. A committee comprised of Commission members, representatives of corps, legislators, and climate policy as well as science representatives advised the research activities. 

Next steps

A draft of the Maine Climate Corps Report to the Legislature will be posted on this webpage Wednesday, December 8 at 9 a.m.

A virtual think tank for real-time public comment will take place Monday, December 13 from 3 - 6 p.m. via Zoom. Those interested in attending may access registration by using the link below. 

Virtual think tank registration

Anyone who cannot attend the virtual think tank may use the link below to submit written comments by 11:59 p.m. on December 13, 2021.

Written public comment form

The Commission is particularly interested in comments from k-12 educators, public health professionals, rural government officials, tribal communities, immigrant and refugee communities, and communities of color. In addition, comments on the following aspects of Climate Corps implementation are of high interest:

  • how best to coordinate federal/state resources and actions within local communities to avoid duplication or mismatched efforts;
  • how to integrate climate corps programming into formal education settings (k-12 and higher education)
  • the best way to bridge 1700-hour service positions and apprenticeships
  • what support services may be needed for potential corps members beyond those already planned (living allowance equating to $15/hr, health insurance, EAP-type program, child care) in order to ensure the opportunity to serve is equitable 

If you have questions regarding this virtual event, please email Kate Klibansky, Climate Corps Planner at Kate.Klibansky@maine.gov.

Photo of fishing boats docked in Perkins Cove Ogunquit MaineClimate change impact of touches nearly every aspect of community life: health, land, water, economy, safety, food, resilience, and future. There is much to be done if Maine residents are to continue enjoying the state we call home.

The Maine Climate Corps will engage citizens in full-time, part-time, and occasional volunteer service to tackle projects that will help communities and residents

  • adapt to changes underway;
  • mitigate or reduce climate impacts; and
  • increase understanding of the causes, effects, and personal actions they can take. 

Built on the major goals and strategies of “Maine Won’t Wait,” the state’s climate action plan, the Maine Climate Corps will be a service corps that increases the scope and scale of what can be done sooner rather than later.

View Maine Won't Wait

Why use service as the strategy? Because it yields a triple benefit:

  • Those who serve acquire skills and abilities related to post-service jobs, learn to find and implement effective solutions to problems, and develop a commitment to civic engagement that lets them contribute to future community actions.
  • The individuals and organizations served have their situation measurably improved, participate in finding and implementing solutions, and increase their capacity to take care of issues themselves.
  • The communities served increase their resources, resilience, and civic health – all of which are essential to growing and thriving.  

What we're doing

Volunteer Maine, the state service commission, was charged by the 130th Maine legislature with conducting a study on establishing a Maine Climate Corps. The text of LD 722 is accessible by using the link below, and the report to the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources is due January 31, 2022.

Access LD 722

In addition, under Strategy H: Engaging with Maine People and Communities in “Maine Won’t Wait” the Commission is tasked with establishing a Maine Climate Corps. The corps is envisioned as a means of engaging citizens of all ages in projects that contribute to mitigation, sequestration, and resilience.

Photo of a group of people in a wooded area posing for a photo in trail maintenance gear
Image courtesy: Maine Conservation Corps

Volunteer Maine is already working with three existing AmeriCorps programs to align their impacts more closely with the goals of Maine’s climate plan. Those programs address issues related to energy, community resilience, and land protection. A fourth program is taking shape to address coastal zone climate challenges. Learn more about existing programs by using the link below.

View Maine AmeriCorps programs

The Study: Its core focus

The bill outlining the study asked the Commission to

  • identify projects and tasks in state agencies that could be made into service projects for citizens of the state;
  • identify existing service programs and potential host organizations for Climate Corps participants; and
  • recommend how best to structure the Maine Climate Corps so it can
    • address shifting and expanding climate challenges; and
    • allow for both short-term and long-term service projects.

The Study: Its approach

The Commission’s Research and Evaluation Taskforce is guiding the research and development of the report. Taskforce meetings are virtual work sessions open to the public. For more information, see the "stay informed" call out box.

The Climate Corps Planner, a Commission staff member, is using structured interviews of representatives of Maine organizations to gather the data needed for the report. Between June and October 2021, nearly 100 interviews were scheduled and conducted.

The first draft of the report will be submitted to the task force in November 2021. After their review, the second draft will be used to gather public input at a think tank event on Monday, December 13 from 3 - 6 p.m.

What's next?

All Maine Climate Corps updates will be posted on this page. New and/or urgent updates will be made available near the top of the page and on the left sidebar (visible for desktop users).