National Drought Mitigation Center


Climate Masters program begins Jan. 16

December 3, 2012

Participants at a University of Nebraska-Lincoln program will learn how to save money and employ local strategies for protecting the environment. Climate Masters, a free offering at UNL's School of Natural Resources, begins Jan. 16, 2013. Tonya Bernadt, NDMC education and outreach specialist, is one of the organizers.

"When people hear about climate change, people think in terms of a global issue," said project team member Tapan Pathak, a UNL Extension educator in climate variability. "People get overwhelmed, and they think, 'What can I do?' This is an action-based program to help people understand what they can do that's good for people and for the environment."

The project, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will teach 30 community volunteers various ways that they as individuals can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In exchange for the free course, volunteers must commit to providing 30 hours of education to others in the community. Mayor Chris Beutler's sustainability initiative, Cleaner Greener Lincoln, is a project partner.

The 10-week Climate Masters course begins Jan.16, 2013, and will meet every Wednesday evening 6-8:30 p.m. The course will include field trips, expert speakers and a variety of volunteer activities.

Classes will focus on the basics of climate change, home energy, transportation, green building, renewables, yards, consumption and waste, food, water conservation, preparing for climate change, and more.

"Anybody can come," said Natalie Umphlett, regional climatologist for the High Plains Regional Climate Center at UNL. "You don't have to have a science background." Even if people don't accept that greenhouse gases are contributing to global warming, she said, the recommended actions will save people money, help the environment, and lead to healthier eating.

For more information and registration, please visit the Climate Masters website: or contact Tonya Bernadt at