ERI recognizes 13 Hoosier Resilience Heroes for their contributions to Indiana communities and the environment

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – In advance of Earth Day, Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute is recognizing 13 Hoosier Resilience Heroes for their contributions to Indiana communities and the environment.

Hoosier Resilience Heroes are individuals committed to ensuring a safe, healthy environment for their families, their neighbors and future generations. This year’s honorees include professionals, students and volunteers who are working to make Indiana a healthier, more sustainable and more resilient place to live.

“Creating a thriving future for all Hoosiers starts with recognizing our interconnectedness to natural systems. This is something our heroes understand deeply and put into practice in their personal and professional lives,” said ERI Managing Director Sarah Mincey. “Through education, policy, advocacy and action, these individuals are making a difference in their communities and across the state on issues ranging from climate change, to renewable energy, to sustainable development. In the face of unprecedented environmental change, Indiana is fortunate to have heroes like these in our midst.”

2023 Hoosier Resilience Heroes include:

Darrell Boggess, a volunteer with Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network, who has contributed to hundreds of new solar installations in south-central Indiana.

Jim Brainard, mayor of the City of Carmel, who has championed climate-friendly and sustainable initiatives over the course of his 27 years in elected office.

Todd Cavender, director of environment and sustainability for the Indianapolis Airport Authority, who is pushing Indianapolis International Airport to the forefront of sustainability and advocating for new low-carbon solutions.

Rahul Durai, a junior at West Lafayette Junior-Senior High School, who is rallying young Hoosiers in support of a sustainable future and engaged elected officials on climate legislation.

Megan Eigsti and Maggie Holohan, medical students at Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend, who developed curriculum for the medical community about the health threats posed by climate change.

Dana Habeeb, an assistant professor at Indiana University Bloomington, who is helping communities make plans to protect residents from the public health threats posed by extreme heat.

Mike Keen, managing partner of Hometowne Development LLC, who is leading sustainable redevelopment of a South Bend neighborhood and is a long-time advocate for resilient community practices.

Julia Lowe, chair of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, who has devoted herself to raising the environmental consciousness of her community, policymakers, and Hoosiers across the state.

Tim Maloney, senior policy director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, who has dedicated his career to finding policy solutions to Indiana’s most pressing environmental problems.

Allyson Mitchell, vice president of Mobile reCell, who has educated thousands of Hoosiers on circular economy principles and advanced sustainable initiatives in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Zuleyja Prieto, an heirloom seed preservationist, who has organized her community to grow and preserve heirloom corn varieties and educated others on the cultural value of corn to Indigenous and migrant cultures in northern Indiana.

Connie Wachala, a founding member of Highland Neighbors for Sustainability, who has galvanized the local sustainability movement in Northwest Indiana and engaged with elected officials on the benefits of climate action.

View the bios of ERI’s 2023 Hoosier Resilience Heroes

2023 Hoosier Resilience Heroes Media Kit


About the Environmental Resilience Institute

Indiana University's Environmental Resilience Institute brings together a broad coalition of government, business, nonprofit, and community leaders to help Indiana and the Midwest better prepare for the challenges of environmental change. By integrating research, education, and community, ERI is working to create a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future. Learn more at