Sea level rise, more hot days, and changes in the frequency and intensity of storms are shaping Florida communities.

City and county governments must respond to these impacts and residents seek information about options. For more than a decade, UF/IFAS Extension and Florida Sea Grant have been answering the call.

UF/IFAS Extension and Florida Sea Grant work with Florida cities, counties and unincorporated communities to plan for climate change. Recently, Extension agents Alicia Bradigan-Betancourt (Monroe County), Holly Abeels (Brevard County), and Libby Carnahan (Pinellas County) earned Climate Change Professionals® certification. This will help them better assist Floridians as we work to meet challenges associated with climate change. To get this credential, they completed coursework, training and testing through the peer-reviewed Association of Climate Change Officers.

“Our agents do not just teach the science,” said Sherry Larkin, Florida Sea Grant director. “They are at the table, raising awareness of the science, and informing regional resiliency planning efforts around the state. These credentials add weight to their already impressive initiatives.”

The Climate Change Professional® certification shows agents know the fundamentals of climate change preparedness and strategic planning. It builds on their experiences working on the front lines of climate change in their counties.

In addition to Extension agents, climate change professionals include floodplain managers, planners, emergency managers, sustainability and resiliency directors and outreach and educational experts.

The UF/IFAS Extension Florida Sea Grant agents completed the core curriculum courses and elective requirements required for this designation. Core courses included Climate Science and Vulnerability Assessment, Green House Gases, Energy and Water Management, Governance, Law and Policy, Materiality, and Risk Management and Economics.

Carnahan is already lending her expertise. In December 2019, she attended the Association of Climate Change Officers First Global Congress to help shape and inform the direction of the profession.

If you want these climate change professionals to teach or facilitate trainings for government, agency or company employees, please contact Abeels at; Bradigan-Betancourt at; or Carnahan at