BERLIN – Municipal officials from Berlin are among those participating in the state’s new Maryland Climate Leadership Academy.
Town Administrator Laura Allen, Planning Director Dave Engelhart, Economic Development Director Ivy Wells and Megan Pfaller, plant operator for the town’s water resources department, attended the first session of the Maryland Climate Leadership Academy last week.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of work but I think it’s going to be beneficial to the town,” Engelhart said.
According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the climate academy is the nation’s first state-led program aimed at helping community leaders and government officials plan and implement climate change initiatives. The academy, which started last week, will consist of a series of conferences, the next of which is in January.
“Maryland is well-equipped to
continue to lead the country in driving creative, innovative and successful strategies aimed at addressing climate change-related impacts on our businesses, citizens and communities, Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said in a news release. “Through the Maryland Climate Leadership Academy we will amplify, complement and support locally designed and led initiatives by providing detailed and on-demand trainings aimed at integrating climate change into community decision-making.”
The academy’s program has been developed by the Association of Climate Change Officers, a nonprofit organization that administers the Certified Climate Change Professional and Certified Climate Change Officer credentialing programs.
Engelhart said academy participants would attend multiple conferences and would then be tested on their knowledge before they received certifications.
“It’s a big program,” he said. “We have three more conferences we’ll need to go to and a lot of testing to get the first ever certifications in they say the United States.”
Berlin Mayor Gee Williams said the town was participating in the new program in an effort to be prepared for the future.
“I think this is something where climate change itself cannot be changed overnight, but I think the emphasis here is in being better prepared for both the negative impacts and what we can do as a community to recover as quickly as possible…,” he said. “I think the thing is rather than just stand by and wring our hands but to know where are we likely to be impacted and how much can we prepare for and how quickly can we recover from whatever Mother Nature does to us.”