Evaluating the Effectiveness of Community Climate Adaptation Workshops

Created: 9/04/2020 - Updated: 5/05/2021


Community climate change adaptation workshops are collaborative efforts designed to make climate adaptation locally relevant and to empower people to learn and take action. Many different formats, activities, and structures are currently used in these workshops, with little understanding of what methods work best for generating learning and collective action. EcoAdapt and Virginia Tech received funding from the National Science Foundation to identify consensus-based effective practices for promoting learning and action in adaptation workshops and to test those practices in eight communities across the United States.

The goal of this project is to improve understanding of what methods work best for generating learning and collective action in community climate adaptation workshops. The project is divided into two phases:

  • Phase One is designed to identify consensus-based effective practices for promoting learning and action in adaptation workshops, and includes a Delphi study to synthesize beliefs about effective practices held by prominent workshop facilitators across the United States and a retrospective survey of adaptation workshop participants to evaluate learning and post-workshop action. 
  • Phase Two is designed to understand how learning occurs in community climate adaptation workshops and how that learning does or does not contribute to collective action, and includes conducting eight adaptation workshops with communities across the United States.

The final Delphi report has been published and the retrospective survey is underway.

Community climate adaptation workshops have already been conducted in Santa Rosa, California and Johnson County, Iowa. Six additional workshops will be conducted in the remainder of 2021 and 2022.


Kershner, J. 2020. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Community Climate Adaptation Workshops [Summary of a project of EcoAdapt and Virginia Tech]. Retrieved from CAKE: https://www.cakex.org/case-studies/evaluating-effectiveness-community-climate-adaptation-workshops (Last updated September 2020)

Project Contact(s)

Marc Stern, Professor, mjstern@vt.edu

Position: Chief Scientist and Executive Director
Position: Senior Scientist

EcoAdapt is at the center of climate change adaptation innovation. We provide support, training, and assistance to make conservation and management less vulnerable and more Climate Savvy. Over the past 200 years, great strides have been made in the world of conservation and now all of that is at risk because of climate change. EcoAdapt is working to ensure the success of these past efforts by delivering a framework for climate adaptation.


Scale of Project
Community / Local
Sector Addressed
Disaster Risk Management
Land Use Planning
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Air temperature
Public health risks
Public safety threats
Sea level rise
Storms or extreme weather events
3-5 years
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Capacity Building
Increase organizational capacity
Coordinate planning and management
Invest in / Enhance emergency services planning and training
Increase / Improve public awareness, education, and outreach efforts
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Host adaptation training or planning workshop
Create stakeholder engagement processes to develop and implement adaptation strategies
Community Planning (developing climate-smart communities)
Governance and Policy
Develop / implement adaptation plans
Sociopolitical Setting
Effort Stage
In progress