[FILLED] Climate Action and Zero Waste Fellow with Keep Truckee Green

Host: Town of Truckee
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Climate Mitigation, Energy Efficiency, Waste Management
Skills Needed: Community Engagement, Research, Community Outreach, Technical Writing,

Remote or On-Site Placement


Service Needs & Plans

The Town of Truckee is a mountain community inextricably connected to the outdoor environment and dedicated to fostering a sustainable community. True to its entrepreneurial and progressive spirit, Truckee has embarked on climate action efforts to build a strong community in the face of climate change and address environmental impacts of a tourism-focused economy. The CivicSpark Fellow would assist the Town’s Sustainability Division, Keep Truckee Green, in implementing key climate action and waste reduction programs.

The Town has adopted ambitious climate action goals and is developing new policies and programs in collaboration with local partners. The Fellow will assist the Town in development and implementation of building decarbonization programs to reduce emissions. The Fellow will also help implement policies to reduce waste from single-use items and support a cultural shift towards reusable items, with the goal of reducing litter and landfilled waste in our community.

Project Description

Project 1: Support Single-Use Item Reduction Programs
Reducing waste and litter has long been a priority of both the community and Town Council. The Town has adopted policies and incentive programs to reduce the use of disposable foodware in Truckee, including requiring reusable foodware for dine-in at restaurants, charging a $0.25 fee for disposable takeout items, and operating a reusable “green box” takeout container program. Truckee also recently became the third jurisdiction in California to adopt a ban on the sale of single-use plastic water bottles, which will take effect on April 22, 2025.

The Fellow will play a key role in supporting these and other innovative zero waste policies and developing a culture of reuse in Truckee, including:
• Conducting one-on-one outreach to businesses to educate them about the upcoming single-use water bottle ban
• Engaging with restaurants, hotels, and other food service businesses to implement an expanded third-party reusable takeout container and cup system in partnership with local organizations and neighboring jurisdictions
• Developing FAQs, signage, and other guidance to support waste reduction policy implementation based on business feedback
• Working with partner organizations such as Visit Truckee-Tahoe to develop visitor-oriented campaigns to educate visitors about Truckee’s single-use item reduction policies and encourage use of reusable foodware and reusable water bottles
• Creating blog posts and social media content supporting the Town’s zero waste efforts
• Developing a “reuse and repair” map highlighting Truckee businesses that offer repair services, sell secondhand items, use a reusable takeout container return system, offer goods in refillable/reusable packaging, or otherwise support a culture of reuse in Truckee.

Project 2: Support Building Decarbonization Programs
The largest source of GHG emissions in the Town of Truckee is building energy use, and the Keep Truckee Green team has begun developing an Existing Building Decarbonization Roadmap to outline policies and programs to reduce emissions from existing buildings. These programs may include measures supporting weatherization, energy efficiency, and electrification with a focus on equitably decarbonizing both residential and commercial buildings throughout the Truckee community. Depending on the state of development of these programs, the focus of this project may be more on research or stakeholder engagement, and might include:
• Conducting research on building decarbonization programs, program structure, and outcomes in other jurisdictions and summarizing and presenting research findings.
• Developing recommendations for new programs tailored to the needs and conditions within the Town of Truckee and supporting development of program structure and guidelines.
• Researching local building decarbonization policies and implementation approaches in other jurisdictions, and making recommendations to adapt and implement these programs for Truckee.
• Engaging with local stakeholders to provide input on policy or program design.
• Writing staff reports and making presentations to Town Council for new policy or program approval.
• Developing community engagement campaigns to support new building decarbonization programs.

Desired Skills

The Fellow’s projects will involve a significant amount of engagement with the local business community and Town of Truckee staff across departments and programs. The Fellow will be tasked with clearly communicating policy and program goals to local businesses, and will require strong writing, communication, and interpersonal skills. The Fellow should be enthusiastic about GHG reduction and zero waste programs and should be confident in their ability to respectfully and effectively engage with all segments of the community on complicated and sometimes controversial topics. Ability to speak Spanish is a plus.

Organization & Workplace Highlights

At the Town of Truckee, you will work with a lively team of professionals who value a “work hard, play hard” work ethic. Fellows will have an opportunity to develop professional project management, research, and outreach skills while making an impact on significant community priorities. We value that our work contributes to the betterment of the community. Our elected Town Council has identified Environmental Sustainability and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as two of its top priorities and the Town’s CivicSpark fellows will work directly to support these focus areas. Because we are a small town (population: 17,000) with a relatively small and flat Town government organization, your work will have a measurable and meaningful community impact. Our past CivicSpark fellows have had opportunities to meet regularly with Town leadership, present their work at Town Council meetings, and to represent the Town with external stakeholders and community events.

Since incorporation, the Town of Truckee staff and decision-makers have embraced a set of operating principles known colloquially as “The Truckee Way,” which means that we will approach issues with creativity, innovation, and encourage the free exchange of ideas and information through open and honest communication with the community. Over the past two years, the Town has embraced a Council priority of “community cohesion,” and our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion directly supports this goal. Demonstrating this commitment, Truckee was one of the first communities our size to hire a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Program Manager. In 2024 we are developing our first DEI action plan. Equity work has always been at the core of our sustainability and housing programs, and is interwoven into Climate Ready Truckee, the 2019 adaptation plan, which informed the Town’s Climate Action element. Building on those efforts, the DEI program manager is working closely with community partners, particularly with Latinx leaders, to ensure the Town has meaningful engagement with our historically underserved populations. The Fellow will also be part of ensuring that DEI principles are integrated into all sustainability programs.

Community Highlights

Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Lake Tahoe, Truckee is widely recognized for its year-round outdoor recreation and its extraordinary natural environment. Truckee maintains a “small town” character and highly engaged community, while it is also a popular visitor destination. Surrounded by lakes, world-class ski areas, hiking and mountain biking trails, and only 30 minutes from the city of Reno, NV and 3 hours from the San Francisco Bay Area, Truckee is a fantastic place to live, work and play!

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