The first workshop in each section will be offered virtually as well as in-person.

Thursday, April 4 – Session A – 9:00 – 10:30 am

1. Responding to Heat Inside and Out, From Building Performance to Tree Canopy (HYBRID)

The Midwest is getting warmer and this change presents new challenges for our homes, health, and communities. This workshop will present findings and strategies regarding urban heat island(UHI) effect. Participants will learn how to access and use utility data to develop adaptation strategies, analyze structural inequities, and explore best practices for expanding and maintaining tree canopy as a mitigation strategy for UHI. This workshop will share recent research, valuable data collection and analysis skills, strategies for meaningful community engagement, and look to IU’s Environmental Resilience Institute as an example of how federal funds can be leveraged to better serve communities in implementing green infrastructure solutions.

2. How to Talk about Climate: Using Art and Storytelling to Move Communities toward Action

In the Midwest, climate conversations are often challenging, but necessary to engage our communities in climate action. In this workshop, participants will explore the power of storytelling strategies to facilitate effective climate dialogue and envision hopeful futures. Along with an introduction to The EcoTheatre Lab’s podcast, The Art of Climate Dialogue: Stories from Iowa, and the global youth climate art project, “Turn It Around! Flashcards for Education Futures,” participants will have the opportunity to apply discussed strategies to their own climate efforts.

3. No Transition Without Transmission: How Grid Issues Impact Clean Energy Goals

Communities, organizations, and activists are doing critical work at the local level to develop programs and policies to decarbonize our energy sector. However, the energy system spans beyond a community, electric utility’s service territory, and even the state. Learn from Great Plains Institute, the National Audubon Society, and others how state, regional, and federal decisions regarding transmission and other grid issues impact clean energy goals and how organizations, municipalities and individuals can get involved.

4. Strategic data-driven communication for local audiences

MOST Policy Initiative, Climate Central, and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication will share strategies and tools for communicating evidence-based science to different audiences. Attendees can expect to learn 1) how to communicate with short research-based summaries, tailored specifically for policymakers and 2) how effective data visualization contributes to reaching a non-expert audience. We will practice these skills together, with feedback from speakers.

5. Harvesting Prosperity: How communities of all sizes can access technical assistance to build capacity and put federal funds to work reducing emissions and building resiliency

This workshop is for state, local, regional, and tribal government participants to explore opportunities to fully develop and fund comprehensive climate mitiation actionp lans, such as those in development through the EPA Climate Pollution Reduction Grant Program (CPRG), with integration of related climate adaption (resilience) actions and benefits. Through presentation, discussion and follow up meetings, we will focus on best practices and tools to enhance climate change action plans with improved access to a full array of potential funding sources, including federal, state, local, and philanthropic funds that might otherwise not be possible. This session will integrate research, policy, and action by “connecting the dots” between climate policy and finance, climate mitigation and adaptation, and policy development and implementation to position jurisdictions for access to funding options for full scope holistic climate action planning. Participants will learn about resources from the Center for Climate Strategies, the Indiana Resilience Funding Hub, and the Environmental Protection Network.

Thursday, April 4 – Session B- 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

6. Community Voices in Energy: Energy Justice Intervenors (HYBRID)

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Blacks in Green (BIG) and a community representative who has served as an Energy Justice Intervenor will discuss the Community Voices in Energy project and the Peoples Utility Rate Relief Act as model legislation for energy justice. EDF and BIG are helping spur a just energy transition by bringing community members’ lived experience into energy regulation. This workshop will also describe a training and certification program equipping community members to provide official testimony in energy company legal proceedings and help people who are most impacted by energy company rate and policy decisions to bring their lived experience into the official legal record. Spreading these models could have a profound impact on a clean, more affordable and equitable energy future.

7. Educating for Environmental Change

This workshop will introduce Indiana University’s Educating for Environmental Change (EfEC) program and provide information on how educators can get involved. This workshop includes hands-on, exemplar activities from the EfEC program that are designed utilizing research-based pedagogy to engage students in the practice of scientific argumentation. The EfEC program aids teachers to overcome barriers to teaching climate change by elucidating and deepening understanding of environmental science issues and providing resources including hands-on labs co-designed by Indiana University’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, the School of Education, and veteran K-12 science teachers.

8. Traditional knowledges, Climate change, and Health: Ethical Considerations for Climate Adaptation Projects with Indigenous Communities

Indigenous Peoples around the globe make up approximately six percent of the global population, yet they sustainably care for around eighty percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity. Despite continued political, economic, and racial marginalization, as well as some of the worst health inequities on the planet, Indigenous Peoples have worked hard to maintain their cultures and languages against all odds. Indigenous Peoples’ close connections to land, water, and ecosystems, however, have placed them at increasing vulnerability from the effects of climate change. With this, the health risks from climate change have unique considerations within Indigenous Nations for both mitigation and adaptation responses that are largely unappreciated. This Indigenous narrative review will synthesis the current climate and health landscape of Indigenous Peoples at a global, high-level scale, including relevant international mechanisms and considerations for Indigenous Peoples’ health. In addition, this workshop will advance an ethical framework for climate adaptation collaboration from an Indigenous Data Sovereignty perspective.

9. Growing Green Business Connections

Business engagement in sustainability has been increasing exponentially since the Blackrock letter to investors was issued in 2022, and even more so after the Security Exchange Council ruling issued in March of 2023. The Indianapolis business community is eager to find new ways to connect businesses to sustainability opportunities that will lead to awareness in funding, increased talent attraction, engagement of young business owners, and a more livable Indianapolis. There is currently a gap in sustainability resources provided to businesses, engagement from young business owners, and investment from companies with ambitious sustainability goals. Fortunately, Indianapolis is filled with ambitious sustainability leaders who have the knowledge and talent to fill this gap. This panel will build on the foundation of sustainability work being done in the Midwest. This outcome-based discussion will glean business leaders’ firsthand experience in this space and engage audience members in generating ideas about how a sustainability-focused business group can lead to better outcomes in driving sustainability performance, economic development, and talent attraction. 


10. Financing the Clean Energy Transition

The clean energy transition requires capital and financing. While there are billions in federal funds available, the money to make things happen often needs to come from multiple sources. Luckily, there are a vareity of financial vehicles to get projects over the finish line, if you know where to look. In this workshop, participants will hear from green financial institutions, Atmos Financial, a financial technology company, the Indiana Energy Independence Fund, Indiana’s green bank, and the Keramida Foundation, a private philanthropic fund, about some of the mechanisms to available to financially support clean energy projects.

Thursday, April 4 – Session C – 1:30 – 3:00 pm

11. Building Climate-Informed Outreach and Education: Collaborative Approaches in Midwest Agriculture (HYBRID)

Agriculture has become a complex but important economic driver, environmental issue, and possible climate solution in the Midwest, demanding trans-disciplinary and highly collaborative approaches. This panel convenes representatives from multiple Extension projects happening in partnership with the USDA Midwest Climate Hub to showcase a series of efforts to comprehensively address climate adaptation and mitigation in education and outreach efforts.

12. Amplifying Climate Stories: A Communication Workshop

Join communication specialists, Hannah Phillips from the Saint Louis Zoo and Alyssa Barber from EcoTok Collective, in creating and learning about how to tell compelling climate stories that inspire hope and action for our world. We will use Strategic Framing techniques to have productive and hopeful climate conversations in person and online. Attendees will take home a tool kit as reference to tell their climate stories with different audiences and forms of media.

13. Meaningful Equity in Building Decarbonization

This workshop, led by the Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition and Homes for All in St. Louis, will look at meaningful engagement with community groups in efforts to decarbonize the building sector. Advocates for building decarbonization are increasingly recognizing the need for equity in transitioning their communities off fossil fuel dependence for heating and other energy needs. But what happens if everyone involved isn’t defining equity the same way? How do you navigate tension when it feels like the concerns of community groups aren’t 100% aligned with eliminating building emissions as quickly as possible? This session will draw from the experiences of staff and coalition members in trying to bring oft missing voices to the table during this critical implementation phase of exciting new investments and decarb-focused programs. Each participant in this session will leave with a better understanding of what equitable building decarbonization means and the power they collectively hold to work towards equity.

14. Climate and Community: Harnessing the Power of the Grassroots Ecosystem to Accelerate Climate Action

Join us for a discussion on igniting and supporting grassroots climate movements. Our panelists will offer firsthand experiences and valuable insights from varied perspectives within the ecosystem, covering topics such as grassroots coalition building, local government initiatives, and partnerships with regional networks like the Heartland Environmental Justice Center. Panelists include representatives from: Chicago Climate Connect, Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change, Metropolitan Congregations United, and Heartland Environmental Justice Center with moderator, Vanessa King of Urban Sustainability Directors Network

15. Putting the Pieces Together: The Efficacy of Local Government Collaboration In Purple States

In this workshop we’ll talk about the Wisconsin Local Government Climate Coalition, a statewide network of cities, villages and counties with ambitious clean energy goals, as well as the Dane County Sustainability Leaders Collaborative which unites cities, villages, towns and school districts around sustainability and climate action. These two very different collaborations demonstrate how local governments can accelerate action via networks of like-minded communities, despite preemption and other state-level challenges. Attendees will become familiar with collaborative frameworks as well as specific issue campaigns that they could pursue in their own states. The intended audience is local government staff but the insights will also be useful to university staff leading sustainability efforts and other stakeholders. Lots of us are advocating for change in places where state politics make climate action harder; our aim is to share how we’re collaborating to accelerate action.

Thursday, April 4 – Session D – 3:30 – 4:30 pm

16. Law and Policy to Support Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, and Health Equity (HYBRID)

Extreme heat, air pollution, displacement, gentrification, waterborne illness, flooding, and storm events are having an adverse effect on human health. Health messages resonate and move people to act. Laws and policies that help shape a variety of sectors –from energy to housing to food systems and health care — create both opportunities and barriers for communities working to mitigate and adapt to health threats posed by climate change. This session, intended for an interdisciplinary audience interested in understanding and deepening connections between their sectors and health outcomes and law can help practitioners and communities assess health threats posed by current laws that exacerbate climate change and health inequities, and illuminate legal and policy barriers and opportunities for equitable mitigation and adaptation.

17. Partnership-driven science in a changing world: An introduction to MCC’s Midwest Climate Research Agenda and the USGS Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center

Hear about two research initiatives to advance collaborative climate research in the Midwest and learn how you can get involved. The Midwest Climate Research Agenda, sponsored by the Midwest Climate Collaborative, hosted by Washington University’s Center for the Environment, is advancing with an emphasis on public health after collecting over 200 questions from community groups and practitioners. The Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (MW CASC) is bringing together research-focused academic, Tribal, and non-profit partners to work collaboratively with the U.S. Geological Survey. Based at the host institution University of Minnesota, the MW CASC partners with scientists and resource managers to deliver science to help fish, wildlife, water, land, and people adapt to a changing climate. This presentation will introduce the Midwest CASC’s shared values, priorities, accomplishments and goals.

18. Midwestern Hydrogen Hubs: Short, Medium, and Long-Term Development

Clean Air Task Force will lead a discussion with researchers, industry, and representatives from federal government about the growing clean hydrogen economy. Discussion will focus on the opportunities and challenges associated with the regional clean hydrogen hubs, clean hydrogen production more broadly, climate-beneficial end-uses, and potential community impacts form this transition.

19. Wetlands Protection and Restoration Policies

Wetlands play an important role in climate resilience and can serve as carbon sinks. However, they have been disappearing at alarming rates for decades and current policies often do not recognize their value. In this workshop we will look at how these fascinating and critical ecosystems are faring throughout out region and efforts to restore and protect them.

20. Preparing to Crowdfund Your Climate Project

In this action-oriented session led by Raise Green, participants will learn about what it takes to prepare a crowdfunding campaign for a climate-solution-focused project. This is a hybrid lecture/workshop session, in which participants will learn about the various types of securities that can be offered in a crowdfunding campaign, including debt financing for non-profits; the opportunities for and benefits of democratizing investment in your capital stack; the documentation that’s required to be SEC and FINRA compliant; and how to effectively market your raise to your target investors and the community at large. Participants will leave the workshop with a solid understanding of what’s required from end-to-end to create a crowdfunding campaign.