Our forward thinking teaching staff are experts in their fields, having spent their careers understanding complex climate, forest, and water relationships and how they relate to communities’ economic and environmental sustainability.  The vast experience of this multidisciplinary team ranges from forest policy, to watershed health and leadership development.   Our professionals help communities craft tailored climate change plans that truly protect local natural resources and ascribe economic value to the benefits they deliver.

Comprised of both Core Instructors who maintain consistent contact with our learning communities, and Adjunct Lecturers who are brought into our virtual classrooms for their specific experience, the faculty of Climate Solutions University provide rich and vibrant educational content for our students and their communities.

Core Instructors

Toby Thaler, JD

Toby ThalerToby Thaler has forty years’ experience in natural resource management issues with a focus on forests, water, and land use. He has worked with a broad range of clients – Tribes, public interest groups, local governments – to promote sustainable resource management policies, including forest practices, forest land conservation, shorelines and water resource management. Mr. Thaler is past Legal Program Director at the Washington Environmental Council and served as Staff Attorney for the Washington Forest Law Center.


Spencer Phillips, PhD

Spencer PhillipsSpencer Phillips is a natural resource economist with more than 20 years’ experience helping people, communities, and institutions understand and attain the benefits of improved land stewardship. He is founder and principal of Key-Log Economics, LLC, which works with NGO and other clients to bring economic information to bear on land use, ecosystem management and community development decisions, and to craft policy and market solutions that foster positive, sustainable connections between community, economic, and ecosystem health. His current research focuses on ecosystem service values – especially as affected by climate change, public land and resource management, and water quality regulation – and on the economic development implications of land stewardship. A lecturer at the University of Virginia and Goucher College, Spencer has previously served the cause of conservation in research and organizational leadership roles at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, The Wilderness Society, Northwoods Stewardship Center, and the Northeast Wilderness Trust. He holds a BA in economics from the University of Virginia and a PHD in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and is the first recipient of the Edward Ames Award for Scholarship and Conservation Advocacy.

Deb Kleinman

Development Director Vanitha SivarajanDeb Kleinman has worked with the Model Forest Policy Program as a consultant since December 2013. In this capacity, she works with communities that are at varying stages of implementing climate adaptation plan on issues related to capacity building, stakeholder engagement, and other matters. Deb has almost 20 years’ experience as a professional working in academic, nonprofit, and consulting roles in public health, sustainability, natural resources, and the built environment, as well as organizational development/excellence and leadership. She received my BA from Carleton College in History, and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Michigan in Health Behavior & Health Education. In addition, she pursued graduate forestry coursework in the School of Natural Resources at the UM while working as a Research Associate. After moving to Colorado, she completed the Green Building Certificate from Colorado State University’s Institute for the Built Environment.