Prepared for Environmental Change Webinar Series

The Prepared for Environmental Change Webinar Series provides cost-free trainings for local government officials and staff on topics that support local government leaders as they prepare their communities for higher average temperatures year-round, increased precipitation during spring and winter months and all of the impacts that occur as a result. Topics are selected for a Midwestern audience. 

The series is hosted by the Environmental Resilience Institute, Accelerate Indiana Municipalities and the Association of Indiana Counties. These webinars are sponsored by Health by Design and the Indiana Public Health Association.

Upcoming Webinars

The February webinar has been canceled, and the February webinar topic has been moved to May 2020.

Responding to Floods

March 11, 2020; 12 - 1pm Eastern
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Damages from floods can generate traumatizing outcomes and high costs in towns, cities, and counties. As the climate changes, Midwestern communities will experience more extreme precipitation events and associated flooding, so it is increasingly important to be prepared and have response mechanisms in place. Working with FEMA, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and other response teams takes preparation and coordination. Join the City of Goshen, Indiana, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, and the Environmental Resilience Institute as we discuss critical concepts and action steps local governments need to know to respond to a flood once it has happened.


  • Jason Kauffman, City of Goshen Stormwater Coordinator
  • Dustin Sailor, City of Goshen Director of Public Works
  • Manuela Johnson, Indiana Department of Homeland Security State Disaster Recovery Program Administrator


Managing Extreme Heat

April 8, 2020; 12 - 1pm Eastern
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Summer 2019 was one of the hottest in recorded history. Currently, heat kills more people in the U.S. than any other weather hazard and heat waves are projected to worsen over the next 30 years. The most vulnerable populations such as senior citizens, residents in poor housing stock without air conditioning, and those experiencing homelessness are at the highest risk from heat. As heat waves become more frequent and intense, it will be increasingly important for local governments to develop community response plans for heat. Join the Environmental Resilience Institute as we discuss how extreme temperatures can impact your community and strategies for developing extreme heat response plans.


The Dangers of Low-head Dams and Increasing Precipitation

May 13, 2020; 12 - 1pm Eastern
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Local communities can build resilience to extreme precipitation events and long-term water availability through the removal of small, non-energy producing dams. These dams, known as low-head dams, pose recreational safety concerns, limit river habitat health, and can pose extreme danger to residents and infrastructure in the spillway if they are not properly maintained. Removing small dams is an important strategy for improving resilience and preparing for heavy precipitation events. Join the Environmental Resilience Institute as we discuss the issues related to low-head dams, removal approaches, and steps to rehabilitate local ecosystems after removal.

One of my favorite things about the webinar series is that it’s specific enough to be relevant to my work but general enough to appeal to people in other fields

Katherine Moore Powell, a climate change ecologist at the Field Museum in Chicago

Hearing experts address an Indiana and Midwest audience and hosted by an Indiana institution is very helpful to me in making the case for the importance of these issues

Therese Dorau, the City of South Bend’s Director of Sustainability

Zoning Code and Comprehensive Plan Strategies for Climate Resilience - Held December 11, 2019

Learn how local governments can build more resilient communities through planning and zoning code updates and ordinance best practices. Due to technical difficulties, we do not have a recording of this webinar. See the live tweets from the webinar and the speaker's presentations below. 


The Hoosier Resilience Index: Understand Your Community's Preparedness - Held November 13, 2019

Learn more about how the Hoosier Resilience Index can help your community become more resilient to climate change. Not sure which initiatives to focus on to better prepare your community for climate change? Watch this webinar to find out.


  • Janet McCabe, Director, Environmental Resilience Institute
  • Andrea Webster, Implementation Manager, Environmental Resilience Institute

Identifying Public Health Solutions for Climate Change Impacts - Held October 9, 2019

Learn about solutions that highlight how local communities can prepare for the health effects of climate change.


  • Paul Schramm, MS, MPH, Climate Science Team Lead, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. Ted Smith, Deputy Director at the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute and Director of the Center for Healthy Air Water and Soil

Ticks, Asthma and Allergies: How the Changing Climate Affects our Health - Held September 11, 2019

Learn about the impact of climate change on human health, and how climate responsive design can help mitigate climate change and address environmental challenges to improve the health of individuals and communities.


  • Melissa Widhalm, Operations Manager, Purdue Climate Change Research Center, Purdue University
  • Dana Habeeb, Assistant Professor, Department of Informatics, Indiana University

Lessons from North Carolina: The Unexpected Consequences of Urban and Rural Flooding - Held August 14, 2019

Learn about North Carolina’s post-Florence experience, how flooding can impact local communities, and the unexpected consequences of flooding.


  • Blakely Hildebrand, Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Nick Torrey, Southern Environmental Law Center
  • Jen Schmitz, Triangle J Council of Governments

Planning for Electric Vehicles - Held July 10, 2019

Learn how Crawfordsville, Indiana, installed their first EV charging stations, and what resources are available for you to get started. General information on electric vehicles and charging infrastructure is also discussed.


  • Phil Goode, General Manager, Crawfordsville Electric Light and Power
  • Leah Thill, Senior Environmental Planner, Michiana Area Council of Governments

Funding and Installing Solar Energy in Your Community - Held June 12, 2019

Learn about resources, tools, and funding opportunities for how your community can start and expand solar projects, and hear from the Ben Davis High School project manager who coordinated their recent 7,200 panel solar project.


  • Leah Thill, Senior Environmental Planner, Michiana Area Council of Governments
  • Therese Dorau, Director of Sustainability, City of South Bend
  • Pete Just, Chief Operations and Technology Officer, MSD of Wayne Township

Achieving Flood Resilience in Indiana Rural Communities in the Face of a Changing Climate - Held May 8, 2019

Learn how your community could be impacted by flooding, and what kinds of approaches local officials can consider in order to evaluate and prepare for rural hazards.


  • Bob Barr, Research Scientist, Center for Earth and Environmental Science, IUPUI
  • Siavash Beik, Vice President and Principal Engineer, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LLC

Installing Wind Energy in Your Community - Held April 10, 2019

Learn how to make wind farms a part of your community, and to hear from a county commissioner who facilitated wind farm installations and lives near them as well.


  • Beth Soholt, Executive Director, Clean Grid Alliance
  • Steve Burton, County Commissioner, White County, Indiana 

Managing Storm Sewer Flooding - Held March 13, 2019

Learn about South Bend, Indiana's use of smart sewer technology to manage stormwater, and about the Iowa Watershed Approach, a $97 million statewide program aimed at reducing flood risk, improving water quality, and building community flood resilience.


  • Larry Weber, Co-Founder of the Iowa Flood Center
  • Kieran Fahey, Department of Public Works, City of South Bend

Using Greenspace and Vegetation as an Adaptation Strategy - Held February 13, 2019

Learn about the City of Gary’s comprehensive green infrastructure plan and data collection, and mapping efforts underway in other Midwestern cities to increase community-wide understanding of related costs and benefits.


  • Brenda Scott Henry, Director of Environmental and Green Urbanism & MS4 Coordinator, City of Gary, Indiana
  • Heather Reynolds, Associate Professor of Biology, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Jeffrey Wilson, Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Geography, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Identifying Your Community's Vulnerabilities to Environmental Change - Held January 8, 2019

Learn how to assess your community’s vulnerabilities to environmental changes such as higher and more frequent precipitation in the winter and spring with less soil water available in the summer.


  • Jason Cervenec, Education and Outreach Director, Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, State Climate Office of Ohio
  • Melissa Stults, Sustainability and Innovations Manager, City of Ann Arbor

An Introduction to ERIT - Held November 13, 2018

Learn about the Environmental Resilience Institute Toolkit—ERIT and explore the resources available to you to prepare and adapt to environmental change.


  • Andrea Webster, Implementation Manager, Environmental Resilience Institute

Planning for More Frequent River Flooding - Held October 9, 2018

Learn about the importance of updating flood maps, a review of requirements for updating ordinances to align with newly adopted maps, understanding your drainage basin, what to know about insurance implications and background on how, why and where flooding is most likely to occur.


  • Dr. Alan Hamlet, Assistant Professor of Engineering, University of Notre Dame
  • Donna Price, Assistant Administrator, Division of Construction and Business Services, Licenses and Permits, City of Indianapolis