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Somerville Climate Ambassadors

The Somerville Climate Forward Ambassador program is designed to empower Somerville residents to take action on climate change in their community. Ambassadors learn about climate change at the global and local scale, engage with neighbors from across Somerville, and inspire, motivate, and encourage other residents to take action through individual or group projects.

“I feel much more empowered to take action now, plus I feel more connected to the community.” - 2019 Climate Forward Ambassador

Contact Information
Hannah Payne
Sustainability Coordinator
Phone Number

Employee Directory

2021 Ambassadors Program

The 2021 Climate Forward Ambassadors program will begin in January 2021 and will be conducted virtually over a series of public Zoom webinars and interactive Ambassador meetings.

There are three main components of the 2021 program:

1) Webinars: Climate Forward Presentations and Discussions

These public forums will take place over Zoom. Attendees will learn about specific climate-related topics and have the opportunity to ask questions of the presenter. The webinars will be open to the public and will be recorded. Each session will include approximately 30 minutes of presentation and 30 minutes of Q&A. The webinar schedule will be publicized and webinars will be posted on the project website. Topics will include the following:

 2) Ambassadors' Meetings

The ambassadors' meetings will be very interactive and will be limited to participants in the Ambassadors program. Ambassador meetings will be primarily dedicated to small group discussions, activities, and work on projects.

3) Ambassador Projects

Ambassadors will develop a project of their own choosing that they will carry out independently or in collaboration with other ambassadors. Projects should be designed to educate or engage members of the Somerville community on a topic related to climate change. The projects can take many shapes and are designed to be flexible to accommodate ambassadors’ interests and ideas. Ambassadors should choose a topic that they are interested in learning more about and an activity type that is of interest to them. The goal of the projects is to bring the learnings from the Ambassador program out into the wider Somerville community.

Ambassadors will present their projects to the public at an online forum (via Zoom). Ambassadors will have up to 3 minutes to share their projects during a “Lightning Talk” with each other and the public. Projects will be shared on the Ambassador website.

The 2020 Climate Forward Ambassadors share their projects during a virtual celebration. 

Who can become an Ambassador?

Ambassadors are selected through an open invitation process. Any resident of Somerville – high school age and older – is welcome to apply. No prior knowledge about climate change is required. 

Participant Expectations

Participants will be expected to: 

  • Attend or watch the recording of all four presentations
  • Attend all ambassador meetings
  • Engage in respectful group conversations around the complex subjects of climate change,  equity, and local action.
  • Do a limited amount of preparation before each ambassador meeting (no more than 30 minutes). This will typically involve reading an article, listening to a podcast, or watching a YouTube video.
  • Do one project of their choosing related to climate change and share their project during the Lightning Talk online forum. 

2021 Schedule

All webinars and meetings will take place on Thursday evenings over Zoom. The following is the tentative schedule for the 2021 program:

Date Meeting Type Topic
January 21 Ambassadors Meeting Introduction
February 4 Webinar Global Climate Change & Local Impacts
February 18  Ambassadors Meeting Global Climate Change
March 4 Webinar Building & Energy Solutions
March 18 Ambassadors Meeting Building & Energy Solutions
April 1 Webinar Transportation Solutions
April 15 Ambassadors Meeting Transportation & Projects
April 29 Webinar Health & resilience
May 13 Ambassadors Meeting Resilience & Projects
May 20 Optional Session Project planning
May 27 Lightning Talks Project presentation

About the Program

The Somerville Office of Sustainability and Environment’s (OSE) Climate Forward Ambassador program started in the spring of 2019 and is designed to educate a diverse group of Somerville residents about climate change. The program was started as an initiative from Somerville Climate Forward, Somerville’s community climate action plan. The goal is to increase the Somerville community’s capacity to engage in climate action. Following their participation in the program, ambassadors will be better equipped to (a) engage in discussions and decisions about climate change, (b) know how to assess the importance and impact of various climate actions within the city, (c) engage in City-led climate programs and projects, and (d) inspire, motivate and encourage other residents to take action.

  • Somerville Climate Forward (Somerville’s climate action plan)
  • Global climate change science and policy
  • The task of becoming carbon neutral in Somerville
  • Local impacts of climate change and how to prepare for a changing climate
  • Communicating climate change
  • Equity and climate justice

Who Can Become an Ambassador?

Ambassadors are selected through an open invitation process. Any resident of Somerville – high school age and older – is welcome to apply. No prior knowledge about climate change is required.

Ambassador Projects

To complete the Climate Forward Ambassadors program, participants complete a project focused on taking action on the climate crisis in their own lives and communities. Participants are encouraged to pursue a project that allows them to explore a climate topic that they are interested in learning more about and to engage with others to spread awareness and interest in climate action. Projects have ranged from engaging family and friends in a climate conversation to creating art about climate change, to doing a mini-research project. 

Here are some examples of creative projects that Ambassadors have developed:

Family wearing bike helmets and Halloween costumes

Sarah Connolly brought together a group of families to learn about biking safely with kids and to encourage her friends to try it out. 

Smiling SHS student holds up outreach material

Britney Flores talked to her family and fellow Somerville High School students about what sustainable changes they could make in their lives. 

SHS student stands next to her crochet project, showing colorful temperature changes over time

Kelly Lockhart crocheted a visual display of local average annual temperatures to show how the local climate has warmed over time.


Contact Hannah Payne, Climate Change Program Manager, at

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