A South Bend native, Katherine Couch didn’t hear much about global warming and its effects until she was a college undergraduate. As her knowledge about climate change grew, so did her desire to be part of positive change on behalf of her community and the planet. As a graduate student at IU South Bend, Couch immersed herself in sustainability and climate work, serving as a McKinney Climate Fellow with the Patachou Foundation in 2022, working with the Town of Zionsville on multiple sustainability initiatives during the 2022-23 school year, and conducting outreach on behalf of the City of South Bend as a climate action ambassador in 2023.
As federal funding opportunities spurred increased interest in clean energy and climate and resilience projects in 2023, Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) played a central role in connecting Indiana communities and other stakeholders to increased capacity, resources, and knowledge for sustainability initiatives.
The 2024 Indiana Sustainability and Resilience Conference (ISRC), to be held Friday, Feb. 9 at the IUPUI Campus Center, will shine a spotlight on efforts across the state to address climate change and opportunities to connect more Hoosier communities and businesses to the benefits of sustainable practices.
As a McKinney Climate Fellow with the City of South Bend in 2022, Barbara Dale helped the city apply for a grant to increase community engagement around the city’s update to its 2019 climate action plan. The successful grant turned into the Climate Action Ambassadors program, which Dale now leads as a full-time staff member of South Bend’s Office of Sustainability.
The Environmental Resilience Institute has been named a 2023 campus sustainability achievement award finalist by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for its work with Indiana local governments to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions and implement climate resilience strategies.
Michelle Moore has been invited to deliver the keynote address at the 2024 Indiana Sustainability and Resilience Conference, to be held Friday, Feb. 9, 2024 at the IUPUI Campus Center. Moore is author of “Rural Renaissance” and CEO of Groundswell, a nonprofit organization that builds community power by eliminating energy burdens and increasing economic opportunity with community solar, resilience centers, residential energy efficiency, and pioneering research.
As a McKinney Climate Fellow in 2022, Walters helped a major Indiana utility transition its vehicle fleet to electric and biofuel vehicles. The experience gave him the opportunity to develop new skills that he employs in his current role helping Hoosiers keep their lights on and avoid utility disconnection.
ERI has been awarded a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help disadvantaged communities in Indiana enhance their resilience to climate change through expansion of urban tree canopies.Over five years, the project aims to spur a 20% increase in the number of Indiana cities and towns engaged in equitable planning and management of urban trees. The grant also provides funds for planting and maintaining 2,500 trees in disadvantaged communities.
As a McKinney Climate Fellow, Trilus played a leading role this summer in researching and drafting a climate action plan for Naval Support Activity Crane, a heavily forested 64,000-acre site in south-central Indiana that serves as a shore command of the U.S. Navy. For his efforts, he received a formal letter of appreciation from NSA Crane Cmdr. Luis Martinez, plus insight into how sustainability and climate resilience align with U.S. Department of Defense goals.
As a McKinney Climate Fellow in 2021, Kerry Korpela helped institute a sustainability framework for Fort Wayne City Utilities projects. Today, Korpela is playing a leading role in implementing Fort Wayne's recently adopted climate action and adaptation plan.
Through a new partnership, Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) is helping Hoosier communities improve their solar readiness and benefit from the economic and environmental gains offered by renewable energy. As a SolSmart engagement partner, ERI will connect Indiana local governments to no-cost technical assistance that lower barriers to solar adoption for businesses and residents. Disadvantaged communities, rural communities, and communities that have not previously participated in SolSmart are especially being encouraged to join the program.
During a summer of extreme heat and record high global temperatures, six Indiana local governments held community workshops to better understand their vulnerabilities to climate change and make plans to reduce risks.Part of a year-long climate resilience planning effort led by Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute, the workshops served as a forum to gather input from residents about the risks posed by climate change impacts, such as heat waves and flooding, being experienced with increasing frequency.
During an active summer, the Indiana Resilience Funding Hub selected the first four partners to receive intensive grant writing support, with projects spanning community walkability, transportation safety, and public outreach related to watershed management. In addition, the hub provided information and assistance to dozens of other Hoosier entities, primarily nonprofits and local governments.
When Halee Griffey started college, she dreamed of working abroad to improve the lives of people in other countries. A virtual exchange program, however, convinced Griffey that she could have just as much of an impact by staying closer to home and creating a sustainable future for the Midwest.
This summer, 40 McKinney Climate Fellows—Indiana University undergraduate and graduate students interested in sustainability career experiences—spread out across the state to help Hoosier organizations advance climate and resilience goals.
When Jonathon Lewis arrived at IUPUI as a freshman in 2018, he didn’t know what sustainability was. After learning about the concept on the first day of his college career, he embarked on a career path that led him to McKinney Climate Fellows and a full-time job as a sustainability professional in Indiana.
An Indiana University researcher is investigating critical geochemical processes that trap carbon dioxide in rock to better predict the potential for atmospheric carbon removal and storage at scale.Chen Zhu, a globally recognized geologist and professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences within the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington, has been awarded $736,000 from the National Science Foundation to solve long-standing gaps in scientists’ understanding of CO2-water-rock interactions that naturally remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
As a graduate student at Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Delaney Barber knew she wanted to make a positive impact on global environmental issues, including climate change. Through experiences like the McKinney Climate Fellows program, Barber found she wouldn’t have to leave the Midwest to do it.
This summer, 40 McKinney Climate Fellows—Indiana University undergraduate and graduate students interested in climate, sustainability, and resilience career experiences—are embedding themselves within organizations across Indiana to advance planet-positive goals.
Born in Mexico City and raised in Toronto and Carmel, Ind., Miranda Frausto grew up in a Latino family that cared about the environment. This special connection led Frausto to become a youth climate leader in high school and to get involved with sustainability organizations as a student at IUPUI. In 2019 and 2020, Frausto seized the opportunity to put her advocacy work into action, becoming a McKinney Climate Fellow and working with the City of Carmel to develop the city’s first greenhouse gas inventory and climate action plan.
Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) received a $100,000 contribution from Honda to accelerate Indiana’s transition to sustainable and climate-friendly practices. The contribution will partially fund the McKinney Midwest Climate Project (MMCP), an initiative that partners with communities, businesses, and nonprofits in the state on high-impact climate solutions and connects students interested in sustainability and resilience careers to professional work experiences.
Through a partnership with Indiana University, eight Indiana local governments are embarking on a year-long process to understand how their communities are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as flooding and extreme heat, and to make plans to reduce risk. The program, led by IU’s Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI), is one of the first community-focused climate resilience planning efforts in the state and will help local governments anticipate, prepare for, and respond to extreme weather events and other risks linked to climate change.
Growing up near the steel mills of Northwest Indiana, Angelica Lopez witnessed firsthand the toll that heavy industry can have on public health and the environment. With the vision for a more equitable and sustainable future in mind, Lopez helped create a regional greenhouse gas inventory—an early step toward developing a climate action plan—for the three-county area as a McKinney Climate Fellow in 2020.
During the 2022-23 academic year, three Indiana University students have been advancing the sustainability goals of Hoosier communities as part of a program led by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). Gabbie Orlando, Katherine Couch, and Brenna Callan, McKinney Climate Fellows from three different IU campuses, have been helping the local governments in Richmond, Zionsville, and Fishers through IDEM’s new-look Clean Community Program, which expanded its focus to include sustainability in 2019.
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.
As new federal legislation begins to make billions of dollars available for community climate and resilience projects, Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute and Center for Rural Engagement are launching a joint program to help Hoosier communities identify and compete for federal grants.
In 2018, Chaise Cope graduated from the IUPUI O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs with an MPA in environmental policy and sustainability. A native of Bremen, Ind., she immediately found an opportunity to apply her training as a McKinney Climate Fellow with the City of Columbus, working in the municipality’s community development office. The experience helped kickstart her career in local government and sustainability.
On Feb. 17, more than 350 Hoosiers attended the Indiana Sustainability and Resilience Conference (ISRC) at the IUPUI Campus Center. The conference, hosted by Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute and IUPUI Sustainability, brought together students, academics, industry leaders, local governments, community groups, and others for a day of knowledge-sharing and networking to advance climate resilience in the Hoosier State.
As Indiana communities, businesses, and residents increasingly recognize the threat posed by climate change to Hoosiers’ health and livelihood, Indiana University Press and the Environmental Resilience Institute are teaming up on a new book series focused on environmental change—its challenges as well as solutions.
A recent survey by Indiana University researchers finds that around 4 out of 5 Hoosier cities and towns lack the resources to apply for sustainability-focused federal grant funding and would need additional staff to manage funds if they received it. The findings come as the Biden administration rolls out new details on how local governments can apply for billions of dollars of climate and resilience funding made available through new legislation.
Nominations for 2023 Hoosier Resilience Heroes are open now through March 1. Individuals can nominate an Indiana resident by filling out and submitting an online form.