Fellowship aims to help SW Ohio cities prepare for climate change

Green Umbrella has launched a new fellowship program to help local governments in Greater Cincinnati develop solutions for addressing climate change at the city and regional levels.

The Climate Action Fellowship pairs undergraduate and graduate students, and individuals who want to pivot careers into the climate space, with Green Umbrella member cities to develop and execute practical plans for addressing issues such increased temperatures and more intense rainfall.

Green Umbrella is a nonprofit that works with policymakers and community leaders in parts of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky to accelerate regional climate action.

Initially, three cities are taking part in the fellowship program – Covington, Milford and Oxford.

The 2024 Climate Action Fellows: David Naibei, Elese Daniel and Ella O’Maley

Among this year’s fellows is David Naibei, a Fulbright scholar who recently completed his Master of Laws degree in environmental law at University of Cincinnati. He just wrapped up an internship with AltmanNewman, a Cincinnati-based law firm focused on public health and the environment.

Covington’s fellow is Elese Daniel, a former staffer at Cincinnati City Hall who previously served as engagement manager for the Red Bike. She’s also a former transportation justice fellow with the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

Ella O’Maley, a rising senior at Xavier University, will work with the team in Milford. O’Maley is an economics, sustainability and society major and serves as co-president of XU’s Student Sustainability Board.

“Utilizing our partnership with Green Umbrella, the city will embark on a progressive path to safeguard our environment and enhance the quality of life of our citizens, forging a path towards a greener, more sustainable tomorrow,” said Milford City Manager Michael Doss.

Working together to build a greener Ohio

Green Umbrella is working to help all of the jurisdictions in its three-state, 10-county region to develop formal climate action plans. These plans are community-driven and focus on areas such as equity and community resilience.

Cities taking part in the fellowship program will receive research support and assistance in sustainability planning. Fellows receive experience working in the public sector, networking opportunities and professional development support.

Fellows will work closely with supervisors in their respective cities – Doss, Oxford sustainability coordinator Reena Murphy and Sheila Fields, solid waste and recycling manager in Covington.

To date, Oxford and Cincinnati are the only two cities in the region to have completed climate action plans. However, Green Umbrella hopes initiatives such as the Climate Action Fellowship will increase those numbers in future years.

The fellows and their government leaders will participate in a showcase on Thursday, Aug. 8 at the Digital Futures Building in Avondale. As a group, they’ll present their work, findings and ways other cities can activate climate plans.

Greater Cincinnati Foundation provided financial support for the program.

“Through our commitment to the Climate Fellows program, Milford commits to championing future climate action, nurturing innovative solutions, and cultivating a thriving, eco-conscious community,” Doss said.

Climate Action Fellowship


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