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Cal Poly, SLO class helps update Morro Bay Climate Action Plan

The view from Morro Bay's State Park Museum of Natural History overlooking Morro Rock and the three iconic smokestacks from afar.
Gabriela Fernandez
The view from Morro Bay's State Park Museum of Natural History overlooking Morro Rock and the three iconic smokestacks from afar.

A Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo class is helping Morro Bay navigate climate change.

As a part of the City and Regional Planning master’s program, students get to work in a class that pairs them with a community on a project to develop a city plan. It’s called the Community and Regional Planning Studio.

Mike Boswell is a professor with the program. He said that the class provides students with real-world experience before entering the workforce.

“But also the opportunity to serve sort of the city council serve the staff and serve the residents of the city of Morro Bay is always great too,” Boswell said. “We like that aspect of community service.”

Last fall, Boswell reached out to Morro Bay to see if they would be interested in working with students on updating their Climate Action Plan. It’s a piece of city planning that helps prepare for climate change and works on reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. It was originally written in 2014.

The class identifies climate threats Morro Bay would face, like warmer temperatures and flooding, and finds strategies to combat and monitor them.

During the first quarter of the studio, students worked on outreach programs within the Morro Bay community. They attended local events like farmer’s markets and created surveys to gauge locals’ responses to climate ideas. Sullivan Israel is a student in the studio who interacted with community members.

“It's super important to get locals involved and that's why we ask questions like what makes Morro Bay special because it's important for us to understand those things and work them into the plan,” Israel said.

For eight hours a week inside the class, they analyzed previous goals, researched other climate action plans for inspiration and drafted out the new document.

In March, they will present their final draft to the city and decide what strategies will be accepted.

KCBX Reporter Sarina Grossi is currently working to earn her Journalism degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She also works as a news anchor and reporter for KCPR Radio and as the Digital Manager for Mustang Media Group. Sarina was editor-in-chief of her community college newspaper. In her free time, she likes to read, watch movies, do arts and crafts, and go to thrift and antique stores.
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