2011 Mini Grants

The University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment has selected 10 interdisciplinary initiatives for funding in the first round of awards for its new Mini Grant program.

The goal of the Mini Grant program is to encourage collaboration among faculty, staff and students across University of Minnesota disciplines, units and campuses on environmental themes. Along with $2,500 in funding, each recipient is provided space for meetings, workshops and conferences and some administrative support for a one-year period starting March 15.

Fall

Corporate Sustainability: What Does It Mean and Who Cares?

Michelle Linhoff, Institute on the Environment

Linhoff will develop a survey to improve understanding of corporations’ historical and current perceptions around the topic of sustainability.


Language / Environment / Media

Charlotte Melin, German, Scandinavian and Dutch (College of Liberal Arts)

Melin and colleagues will develop environmental education culminating in a showcase event, “Language/Environment/Media,” to build communication bridges between the humanities and sciences.

View Final Report


EnviroSearch: A Feasibility Study for a Repository of Environmental Research and Policy

Linda Eells, U of M Libraries

Eels and colleagues will determine whether the University of Minnesota should develop an online, open access environmental sciences resource repository.

View Final Report.


Global Experiential Education for Environmental Solutions Workshops

Julian Marshall, Environmental Engineering (College of Science and Engineering)

Marshall and colleagues will explore development of a certificate or major focused on experiential education related to solving environmental problems.


Embedding Experiential Education in Food and Gardening

Randel Hanson, Geography (University of Minnesota Duluth)

Hansen will formalize a partnership among UMD’s Sustainable Agriculture Project, the Duluth Community Garden Program, and the Duluth Public School System to create a model school garden.

View Final Report.


Solar Commons

Kathryn Milun, Sociology & Anthropology (University of Minnesota Duluth)

Milun will develop a plan to place solar energy collectors in urban rights of way to provide renewable energy to local businesses and income to low-income housing.
View Final Report.


Students Engaged in Systemwide Sustainability

Mary Guzowski, School of Architecture (College of Design)

Guzowski will organize virtual meetings and a spring leadership event for students interested in advancing sustainability on University of Minnesota system campuses.


A Pilot Study to Determine the Needs of Families With a Young Disabled Child to Enable Increased Outdoor Family Activity, Connectedness to the Outdoors and Behaviors for Sustainability

Ruby Nguyen, Epidemiology and Community Health (School of Public Health)

Nguyen will study how families of children with disabilities use the outdoors and participate in sustainability-enhancing behaviors such as recycling.


Spent Lead Ammunition and Bald Eagles: A Model for Dealing With Conflicts in Ecosystem Health

Pat Redig, Raptor Center (College of Veterinary Medicine)

Redig and colleagues will develop a proposal for a mock congressional hearing on a mock policy considering use of non-lead ammunition for deer hunting in Minnesota.


Emerging Water Research Network

Eric Sheppard, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change

Sheppard and colleague Karen Brown will form an interdisciplinary research group of water scholars focused on Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.


Interdisciplinary Reading Group for Climate Science, Statistics and the Computational Sciences

Singdhansu Chatterjee, School of Statistics

Chatterjee and colleagues will initiate an interdisciplinary reading group spanning climate science, statistics and the computational sciences.


New Directions in Environmental and Energy Law, Policy and Geography

Hari Osofsky, Law School

Osofsky will organize a two-day interdisciplinary workshop to share scholarship among law, geography and public policy.


A Spatial Framework for Understanding Direct Values From Ecosystem Services

Steve Polasky, Dept. of Applied Economics (College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences)

Polasky and colleagues will bring together experts for a two-day workshop focused on better understanding spatial links between ecosystem services and beneficiaries.

Spring

Art, story and infrastructure: a model for experiential interconnection in environmental education

Jonee Brigham, Center for Sustainable Building Research (College of Design)

Brigham will gather an interdisciplinary team of U of M faculty to explore how to use activities, art, story and science to connect resource use with engineering and natural systems, with specific application to developing an urban water cycle curriculum model for preK–12 students.


UMore Park energy roundtable

Carla Carlson, Office for UMore Park Academic Initiatives; Jeffrey Marr, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (College of Science and Engineering)

Carlson and Marr will convene a one-day roundtable of faculty, staff, students and others to create a strategy for incorporating zero-carbon, zero-waste strategies into the development of the University of Minnesota’s UMore Park planned sustainable community.


Sustainable agriculture program

Cindy Hale, Natural Resources Research Institute (University of Minnesota Duluth)

Hale will use IonE Mini Grant funds to develop courses that will form a foundation for a proposed sustainable agriculture certificate program or minor, part of the University of Minnesota Duluth’s new Sustainable Agriculture Program.


Linking land use, water quality and human well-being: an interdisciplinary exploration of the value of clean water

Bonnie Keeler, Institute on the Environment; Stephen Polasky, Applied Economics (College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences)

Keeler and Polasky will hold a two-day workshop for economists, ecologists, hydrologists, water resource scientists and regulators on the economic valuation of clean water as an ecosystem service with the goal of developing a framework for valuing changes in water quality.


Student sustainability symposium

Clarence Lehman, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior (College of Biological Sciences); Carissa Schively Slotterback, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs; Jennifer Schmitt, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior (College of Biological Sciences); Beth Mercer-Taylor, Institute on the Environment

Lehman and colleagues will bring together students from across U of M campuses for a half-day event that includes poster sessions, a keynote speech and networking with the goal of starting to build a student community around sustainability studies.


Phenology: the pulse of the planet – developing science and engagement initiatives that explore plant and animal response to climate change

Rebecca Montgomery, Forest Resources (College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences)

Montgomery will convene workshops related to PhenoMap, a tool for applying remote sensing of plant phenology to better understand potential impacts of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems; and the Minnesota Phenology Network, a citizen science initiative focused on observing and recording phenological events.


Integrating stakeholders into services: an ecosystem services–centered graduate seminar

Stephen Polasky, Applied Economics (College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences); Bonnie Keeler, Institute on the Environment; Christine O’Connell, Institute on the Environment

Polasky, Keeler and O’Connell will develop an interdisciplinary graduate seminar that will provide an overview of various ecosystem services, incorporating the perspectives of guest speakers who work in fields related to the ecosystem services being highlighted.


Food security and infectious disease: seeking integrated solutions

Katey Pelican, Veterinary Population Medicine (College of Veterinary Medicine); Meggan Craft, Institute on the Environment

Pelican and Craft will expand the impact of an upcoming international workshop on infectious microbes, the environment and human food supply by boosting recruitment of diverse participants, building on partnerships created, facilitating follow-up meetings and linking the workshop with a fall graduate seminar.


Implementation strategy for graduate sustainability education

Carissa Schively Slotterback, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

Schively Slotterback will prepare a document outlining an implementation strategy for graduate sustainability studies at the University of Minnesota in follow-up to preliminary work by the Graduate Sustainability Education Network of University of Minnesota Faculty.


Sustainability suppers, system dynamics and implementing the climate action plan at the university of Minnesota, Crookston

Dan Svedarsky, UMC Center for Sustainability; Scott T. Johnson, Scott T Johnson Consulting

Svedarsky and Johnson will develop and carry out a series of biweekly sustainability supper seminars to educate and catalyze conversations among participants from campus and the local community related to the University of Minnesota, Crookston, campus sustainability master plan.