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2023 marks one hundred years since the NAACP awarded the Spingarn Medal to Dr. George Washington Carver. As the head of research at Tuskegee Institute, Carver led pioneering work in agricultural chemistry. One of the most celebrated scientists of his day,  Carver developed techniques to improve the lives of farmers and promoted environmentalism.

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According to Tuskegee University, its Cooperative Extension Program was established based on the first integrated research/extension by Dr. Carver. TUCEP focuses on some of the poorest counties in Alabama that have a primarily agricultural landscape.

TUCEP also provides outreach and educational services in global food security, natural resource conservation, environmental sustainability, climate change, community resource development, family, home, youth, nutrition, wellness, food systems, and food safety.

The program uses curriculum-based information to deliver services through training, small group meetings, educational workshops, camps, and site demonstrations. Conferences such as the Farmers Conference, the Booker T. Washington Economic Development Summit, and the Professional Agricultural Workers Conference are held yearly to support these educational programs.

In 2014,  a report titled “Science, Education and Outreach Roadmap for Natural Resources in the U.S.” was co-authored by Dr. Dalia Abbas, a Tennessee State University professor. The report identified “grand challenges” in sustainability, water, climate change, agriculture, energy, and education.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sponsored the report through a grant to Oregon State University, which worked with research, policy, and advocacy organizations from higher education.

According to Alabama A&M University, more than 90 percent of their forestry graduates have found jobs in their field of study, including careers with the USDA Forest Service and other opportunities in forest fire protection, silviculture, fish and wildlife services, forest ecology, education and outreach, consultancy, and geographic information systems (GIS).

The university’s biological and environmental sciences department also collaborates with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, which awarded $330 million in 2021 to 85 public-private partnerships to address climate change.

Recently, Zachary N. Senwo, a soil microbial biochemistry, environmental science, and toxicology professor at Alabama A&M, wrote an article recognizing the dire impact of climate change that received interest from scientists of similar interests.

In 2011, Dr. Beverly Wright and Dr. Robert D. Bullard established the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Climate Change Consortium to develop HBCU student leaders, scientists, and advocates in vulnerable communities in the southern United States.

The consortium collaborates with Texas Southern University and hosted the Eighth Annual HBCU Climate Change Conference in the fall of 2020, bringing together HBCU faculty and students, researchers, climate and environmental justice professionals, and coastal community residents impacted by toxic facilities and severe weather events related to climate change.

The conference covered topics such as climate justice, adaptation, community resilience, global climate issues, transportation, energy sources, carbon emissions, green jobs/green economy, and community economic development.

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