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CivicSpark Fellows—Making the Central Valley More Sustainable



Bringing New Economic Opportunities to Disadvantaged Communities


[02:04] Introduction of Trevor Wilson and Mitchelle De Leon.

[03:05] Trevor and Mitchelle share what the CivicSpark AmeriCorps program is all about.

[04:13] Mitchelle shares the moment he decided he wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.

[05:10] Trevor shares the moment he decided he wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.

[06:08] Trevor describes the application process.

[07:27] Mitchelle explains his application experience.

[07:41] Trevor describes his experience of what it’s like to be in the program.

[09:13] Mitchelle shares his experience of being in the program.

[10:37] Mitchelle explains the project he’s working on.

[11:51] Trevor shares the project he’s working on.

[12:53] Mitchelle and Trevor tell what’s next for each of them.

[14:28] Trevor and Mitchelle describe how the CivicSpark experience has impacted them and how it will serve them in the future.

[16:40] Trevor and Mitchelle share the advice they would give to someone who is interested in becoming a CivicSpark fellow.

[18:57] Mitchelle and Trevor share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.

[19:59] Trevor and Mitchelle describe the action listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.

[20:53] Trevor and Mitchelle explain what California-San Joaquin Valley looks like 30 years from now.


Mitchelle De Leon recently graduated from California State University, Bakersfield with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a concentration in Finance. During college, he engaged his fellow students on environmental justice issues in Kern County. He aspires to work on policies on state and federal levels, ensuring fair and equitable solutions to climate change. In 2016, he plans to start a nonprofit organization focused on building youth leaders’ capacity to address climate change

Trevor Wilson grew up in the middle of Michigan and moved on to Michigan State University, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations. He focused on renewable energy policy and sustainability. Trevor’s senior thesis paper was on Germany’s energy transition to renewables, leading him to a summer internship with an environmental protection organization in Berlin, Germany.


CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs.

Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.


“Fellows complete eleven months of service, working on a variety of climate-change-related projects, from developing climate action plans, increasing electric-vehicle infrastructure, to completing greenhouse gas inventories for cities. You can think of us foot soldiers for local climate action throughout California.”

“CivicSpark is really about showing passionate young people what the reality of climate action looks like, so taking all of these very passionate, ideological young people and turning them into goal-oriented doers instead of thinkers; and so I [Trevor] think that, really, the goal is to create these local champions throughout California and throughout the world.”

“During college I [Mitchelle] grew increasingly passionate about climate change and the disproportionate impacts of climate change on disadvantaged communities. Having lived half my life in the Central Valley and another half of my life in the Philippines, climate change is an incredibly personal issue for me. And throughout college my theory of change centered around advocacy and grassroots organizing, and I saw CivicSpark as an opportunity to identify different leverage points to take action on climate-justice issues, and so when I learned that my primary focus for CivicSpark would be water then I knew that was a perfect opportunity to take action.”

“It’s hard to tell just from an online posting exactly how impactful a job will be, but this one was just worlds beyond what I [Trevor] was expecting.”

“Climate action is for everyone. Climate action really involves every type of every field of work. It involves every major in college. It really is an overall problem to tackle.”


WE CAN (Water-Energy Community Action Network) — San Joaquin Valley


Learn more about the Fellowship and check out the 2016-2017 Fellowship Application!

Local Government Commission (LCG)


Thanks so much for joining us. Have some feedback or an idea you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below.

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