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Climate Adaptation Leadership Award

Beginning in 2018, the Climate Science Alliance has recognized individuals who go above and beyond to support transformational climate adaptation efforts in their work and community. Climate Adaptation Leadership Awardees are chosen by their peers for their commitment, accomplishments, and overall the heart they bring into their work.

We are proud to honor recipients of the Climate Adaptation Leadership Award and thank them for working intentionally in service of their communities. Their leadership is a source of inspiration and a reflection of the commitment of our community to building a resilient future.

Meet the 2023 Awardees

Richard Bugbee

Dr. Jesús Serrano

Dr. Rosa Contreras

Joelene Tamm

Hilary Ego

Lorena Velázquez

Norrie Robbins

Previous Climate Adaptation Leadership Awardees

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Kurt, Tribal Wildlife Biologist for the Pala Band of Mission Indians, has been a key partner for the Climate Science Alliance since 2015. Kurt has helped champion the Climate Kids - Tribes program and the integration of climate messaging into Pala’s environmental outreach efforts and communications. This year he helped make climate education more accessible for San Diego Tribes by agreeing to manage and oversee a set of Climate Kids Traveling Trunks at the Pala Environmental Department. These educational materials now travel far and wide across San Diego County, sometimes even personally delivered by Broz.

Kurt Broz

Laura Engeman is the go-to person for information related to coastal resiliency and sea level rise planning. Her passion, creativity and positive attitude are providing local jurisdictions with real world solutions for complex and multifaceted challenges. Her reputation to lead and convene innovative partnerships has brought significant funding and support to our region including the creation of the Resilient Coastlines Project of Greater San Diego. This holistic approach to adaptation planning weaves together science, policy, and community engagement resulting in resources and relationships that will continue to advance the region’s reputation as a leader in climate adaptation solutions.

Laura Engeman

Mike Grim always finds a way to bring laughter and creativity into tough conversations about climate impacts in our community. Always the first to volunteer for weekend and evening events, Mike helped launch our community outreach activities and led the Green Team to fully embrace its role as the “fun team”. Mike is skilled at engaging city leaders and wildlife groups across various agencies and was willing to travel far and wide (including New Orleans!) to tell our story and share the Climate Science Alliance as a model for collaborative partnerships.

Mike Grim

Julie is a climate scientist and program manager of CNAP (California Nevada - Climate-Application Program) at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. CNAP is a NOAA funded RISA team whose objective is to work with decision makers to facilitate the integration of climate science into decisions. Julie’s research interests stem from trying to understand weather and climate in order to better prepare for extreme events and future conditions. These efforts include using historical observations to understand historical weather variability in the Western US and the impacts associated with this variability as well as future projections of climate variability. She is actively involved with the California 4th Climate Assessment with a focus in sea level projections and the regional application of the information that is coming out of the effort. Julie engages with regional stakeholders to better understand how this climate and weather information can be applied in decision making.

Dr. Julie Kalansky

The Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and Manzanita Environmental Department - including Chairwoman Angela Elliot Santos, Trisha Frank, Rebecca Blackwood, Jeanie Sepin, and David Thompson - have been long standing partners of the Climate Science Alliance, playing an important role in many of the Alliance’s programs, including involvement in the Alliance’s Tribal Working Group since its formation in 2017. The team is active in supporting youth educational programming and building community and Tribal resilience that has inspired not only our team and network of partners, but individuals and communities across the region.

Manzanita Environmental Department

Rob Roy is the Environmental Director for the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians and has been employed by the Tribe for over 15 years. He is responsible for the Environmental Protection Office which employs a staff of seven people working on clean water, air quality, solid waste, wastewater, natural resources, and other critical environmental and human health issues, and also works closely with the Domestic Water and other Tribal Departments. His education is in Geographic Information Systems and he previously worked for the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department. Rob received the EPA Environmental Achievement Award in 2008 for his work with solid waste management including recycling, reducing illegal dumping, hazardous and electronic waste recycling, tire cleanup, and disaster recovery. Rob works hard to foster collaboration between groups to achieve common goals and increase the scope and impact of projects. He also serves as a member of the TWRAP steering committee, as an RTOC rep and RTOC Solid Waste Workgroup lead, and as team co-lead on the Interagency Infrastructure Task Force Solid Waste Workgroup. Rob has a passion for the natural world and goes travelling, hiking and backpacking whenever he can.

Rob Roy

Alexandria Warneke took the lead in developing and advancing the Climate Kids program in San Diego to move beyond the classroom and engage informal educators. Her initiative to develop an outdoor field trip component for Climate Kids laid the groundwork for a series of Climate Kids field trip locations that now occur across the county. Her creativity resulted in new curriculum and activities including the new traveling trunks that are helping bring climate science to life for thousands of students. In addition, her tireless work to advance innovative approaches to communicating about climate change has resulted in exemplary projects that bring art and science together in unique and creative ways including some of the pieces on display in the Alliance’s “Art of Change” climate themed art show.

Alexandria Warneke

As a Climate Science Alliance Affiliated Artist since 2016, Audrey typifies the best of what science communication through art can offer and consistently brings light to the darkness surrounding the climate conversation. Audrey collaborated with regional ecologists and climatologists to visualize the results from the report entitled, San Diego County Ecosystems: The Ecological Impacts of Climate Change on a Biodiversity Hotspot in her watercolor series, Faces of Change. She is a thoughtful and dedicated artist and environmental steward, who recognizes the transformational power of art, the importance of working along scientists, and the powerful impact in helping to communicate science to the public.

Audrey Carver

Martha “Aide” Escalante Garcia single handedly created and continues to lead Climate Kids Mexico. Aide has put her entire heart into Climate Kids-Mexico and continually creates opportunities for personal and professional development for her students to become leaders on climate change solutions. It was Aide who developed the model for training high school students to become Climate Kid’s Ambassadors who share their message by teaching young students about climate change through science, art, and storytelling. She encourages her students' creativity and self-confidence and is leading a new generation of leaders in Baja who tell the climate story in their community every day.

Martha “Aide” Escalante Garcia

Megan Jennings is committed to bridging research and management to advance applied science. Megan is one of a few gifted individuals who have proven time and again her skill and innovation in translating science into applied policies and actions for natural resource managers. When the Climate Science Alliance was created three years ago Megan stepped in to lead Science Focused Partnerships and has created numerous collaborative projects between researchers and managers that are helping to advance climate smart conservation across our region. Specifically, this summit was created to unveil the results of the San Diego County Ecosystems Assessment, a project that was created and completed under Megan’s leadership.

Megan Jennings

Ana has been a strong proponent for integrating climate science into the educational programs at the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy. For the past two years, she has worked with the Alliance to develop programs including a Watershed Explorers and Pollinators Paradise. Her dedication to educating our youth and bringing them into the climate conversation has been critical in supporting and expanding climate education efforts in our region.

Ana Lutz-Johnson

Andrew and Lisset have collaborated with the Alliance on several prominent events this year, including the 2019 Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit, to help connect the community to climate messages through digital storytelling. Their commitment to sharing the stories that connect us is nothing short of inspiring. Their newest piece, entitled “Climate Hope,” is a start to their ongoing conversation that sheds light on the impact of climate change to Tribal communities in the Southwest and beyond.

Andrew Pittman & Lisset Valencia-Pittman

Lucia Stone is truly one of our region’s environmental champions with a staunch commitment to community engagement and environmental stewardship. She is known for her ability to juggle complex relationship and topics and find common ground that advances actions for the betterment of the community. From the very beginning Lucia believed in the value of our organizational mission and worked tirelessly to help build foundational support and partnerships that would advance the Climate Science Alliance as an organization. She continues to play a strong role in connecting the Alliance to businesses and other non-traditional partners that help the partnership grow in innovative and diverse ways.

Lucia Stone

Dr. Daniel R. Cayan is a Research Meteorologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), University of California, San Diego, and is also a Researcher in the U.S. Geological Survey. His research is aimed at understanding climate variability and changes over the Pacific Ocean and North America. Specific interests concern impacts of climate changes on water resources and other sectors in western North America.

Cayan heads the California Nevada Applications Program and the California Climate Change Center, climate research programs to improve climate information and forecasts for decision makers in the California region; see

Cayan received a BS degree in Meteorology and Oceanography in 1971 from the University of Michigan. He received a Ph.D. in Oceanography in 1990 from the University of California, San Diego. He has been employed by Scripps since 1977 and by the U. S. Geological Survey Water Resources Division since 1991.

Dr. Dan Cayan

Shasta Gaughen is the Environmental Director and the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Pala Band of Mission Indians in Pala, California. She has worked for the Pala Band since January 2005, and established Pala’s Tribal Historic Preservation Office in 2008. She is also an adjunct professor in the Anthropology Department at California State University San Marcos. Dr. Gaughen received her B.A. in Anthropology and B.S. in Natural Resources at Humboldt State University in 1996, her M.A. in Anthropology from San Diego State University in 2001, and her PhD in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico in 2011. She is the Tribal Workgroup lead for the Climate Science Alliance, Chair of the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, Secretary of the Board for the Native American Environmental Protection Coalition, a member of the Institute of Tribal Environmental Professionals’ Climate Advisory Group, and a director for the Upper San Luis Rey Resource Conservation District.

Dr. Shasta Gaughen


Morgan Justice-Black

Anna Lucia has worked tirelessly this year to expand the Alliance efforts bi-nationally through the Climate Kids - Mexico program. Using the new Climate Science and Atmospheric Chemistry Trunk, developed collaboratively with NSF CAICE, Anna Lucia and our Climate Kids - Mexico team are educating students from Casa Eunime (students with AIDS), Red Binacional de Corazones (students rescued from human trafficking), Guías de Mexico (Girl scouts), and students from the Kumeyaay community of San Antonio Necua. Anna Lucia has also led hands-on field trips to the beaches of Baja for students to learn about climate impacts on local ecosystems and most importantly - what they can do to help protect the earth.

Anna Lucia López-Avedoy

Dr. Rivera-Collazo has facilitated new directions for the Climate Science Alliance this past year. With the DUNAS Project (Descendants United for Nature, Adaptation, and Sustainability), Dr. Rivera-Collazo has worked to educate and engage local communities to help restore coastal dunes in northern Puerto Rico that were severely degraded by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. By weaving together cultural, ecological, and community values, Dr. Rivera-Collazo and her team work to lay the groundwork for a more resilient future.

Dr. Isabel Rivera-Collazo


Steve Walters

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