• Content creators observe specimens on a tour of the Academy's Ornithology and Mammalogy collection
  • A woman looks at botany specimens at the California Academy of Sciences
  • A group of content creators during a brainstorming workshop at the California Academy of Sciences
  • Academy botany curator Sarah Jacobs shows a plant specimen to a group of content creators on the Academy's Living Roof
  • A group of content creators looks at specimens during a tour of the Academy's Geology collection
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The Academy’s Thriving California initiative is working to build a network of digital creatives able to engage their unique communities (digital and IRL) in helping to build a movement for nature — and it starts with California Creators for Nature, a paid, year-long program for five Bay Area-based creators launching April 2024. The application period is open through 11:59 pm Monday, Feb. 19, and the final cohort will begin work in early March.

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We believe in storytelling as a powerful tool for social change, and are looking for creators who are already engaging their digital communities in conversations about nature, climate, environmental justice, and related topics. Creators chosen for this year-long program will work with Academy scientists, experts, partners, and resources to tell stories about Bay Area nature and communities through the lens of the creator’s own individual perspective and interests. They’ll additionally help to host real-world events that work to connect people with nature in a wide variety of ways, and will participate in regular meetings with the Academy’s Digital-Engagement team and cohort colleagues to help decide and inform program development. Each cohort member will receive $20,000 in compensation, and have access to additional budget for program-specific special projects and activations.

Designed in partnership with an advisory board of creators and influencers from across the state—Chloé Stowell Colón, Kristy Drutman, Isaias Hernandez, Kiana Kazemi, Aditi Mayer, and Nelson ZêPequéno—California Creators for Nature seeks to both empower storytellers working from personal and community-driven perspectives, and to drive Thriving California goals: increase people’s connections with nature, engage Californias in making and sharing observations of nature, and help build a pathway for Californians who reflect the diversity of the state to become next-gen biodiversity leaders.

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FAQ

Who can apply?

We welcome applications from any digital creator who meets the following: Over the age of 18; based in one of the nine Bay Area counties (or within regular driving distance of the Academy); already actively engaging their communities in nature, climate, or related topics; and able to make a year-long commitment to this program.

What are the evaluation criteria for cohort members?
  1. A pre-existing commitment to (i.e. visible history of) engaging audiences in aligned areas of work. This includes environmental justice, conservation, climate advocacy, connection with nature, and more. This can manifest as direct advocacy/engagement, or as lifestyle content (e.g. sustainable fashion, gardening/plants, etc.).
  2. Diverse identities and connections. As a collective, this cohort should be able to surface and speak to the joys, challenges, and complexities of how a wide range of communities access and interact with nature.
  3. Collaborative & community-oriented. Demonstrated experience and/or strong interest in engaging partners and communities in their work, and a willingness to do so both digitally and through in-person events.
  4. Skilled, highly effective content creation. Cohort members will have a track record of unusually thoughtful and compelling content creation (ideally across multiple platforms), and of directly engaging with their followers.
  5. Robust owned accounts. Because this program seeks to have a large impact, the ideal minimum across platforms is 20,000 followers — but applicants with smaller audiences who bring a unique perspective to the work and/or are from communities underrepresented in the nature space are also enthusiastically encouraged to apply.
  6. Bay Area resident. Cohort members must be based in one of the Bay Area’s nine counties, or within regular driving distance of the Academy.
How will applications be evaluated, and on what timeline?

The application period is open through 11:59 pm Monday, Feb. 19. Applications will be anonymized prior to review and ranked via a shared set of metrics based on the criteria above, and top candidates will be contacted for interviews prior to the end of February. The final five-person cohort will be announced in early March, which will also mark the start of the cohort’s 1-year term. Strong candidates who are not ultimately offered a cohort position may be invited to join an expanded, unpaid digital-creator program with access to many of the same resources (scientists, events, the museum itself, more).

What does the year-long term commitment encompass?

Cohort members will be responsible for approximately 6 hours of work per week, encompassing core program pieces such as content creation, planning and check-in meetings, events, community activations, more. The program will be hybrid (i.e. a mix of in-person, virtual, and solo work), and scheduled whenever possible to align with cohort members’ availability. The $20,000 compensation will be paid in four installments at the start of each quarter.

Additional questions?