Climate Community Citizen of the Week Award – Thomas Sheffer


Congratulations to Thomas Sheffer this weeks Climate Community Citizen of the Week.

We met Tom through a good friend who is also one of our author Uwe Brandes… of The Urban Land Institute, (ULI).

He is a second-year graduate student in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program at Virginia Tech. He has just begun a year long internship with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) where he will be working on research projects relating to climate change and sustainability.

After graduating in 2005 with a degree in natural resource conservation from Virginia Tech, Thomas moved to Australia where he worked with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service as a community education ranger. This work brought him in close contact with the pressing environmental issues facing the Southeast Queensland region including climate-related threats such as flooding and coastal erosion, as well as habitat fragmentation and other issues resulting from major population expansion and a history of inadequate urban planning. Thomas was inspired to continue his education to better equip him in his career pursuits to address these and other environmental issues, in particular climate adaptation planning of coastal areas.

img_30201 Thomas’s work as a graduate research assistant, has included organizing the Virginia Tech Symposium on Enhancing Resilience To Catastrophic Events Through Communicative Planning in November 2008. He also created and maintains an online searchable database of learning networks across the globe with a specific focus on climate change. The project can be found online at: Climate_Action_Networks.:

This website is also linked to a social networking group he created on

This research work heightened his interests in the emerging field of climate change adaptation and led him to undertake independent field research while visiting Australia over the summer. Thomas met and interviewed leading researchers in the field at Griffith University in Brisbane, The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility on the Gold Coast, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO) in Canberra. Thomas plans to incorporate his findings with his work for the ULI and in his thesis work at Virginia Tech.

We are very happy to have Thomas as one of our winners and wish him the best of luck this year with ULI and in the future!

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