Spring 2012 Mini Grants

The University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment has selected 13 interdisciplinary initiatives for funding in the third round of awards for its Mini Grant program.

Mini Grants are designed to encourage collaboration among faculty, staff and students across University of Minnesota disciplines, units and campuses on environmental themes. Along with up to $3,000 in funding, each recipient is provided space for meetings, workshops and conferences and some administrative support for a year.

Mini Grant recipients for Spring 2012 are:


Ecomusicology Listening Room

Mark Pedelty, Communication Studies and School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Pedelty will work with students to design and construct a traveling “Ecomusicology Listening Room” that allows users to explore perceptions of soundscapes and the ecology of sound, and make it available as an educational exhibit in New Orleans and Minnesota. 

Interactive Water Quality Infographic

Kate Brauman, Institute on the Environment
Brauman and colleagues will develop a web-based, user-modifiable infographic that provides pop-up lists of references. The infographic will inform the process of assigning value to various factors that affect water quality and serve as a model for similar interactive data displays related to other systems.

Environmental Health Center

William Arnold, Civil Engineering (College of Science and Engineering)
Arnold will bring together an interdisciplinary team to develop a proposal for a National Institutes of Health–funded Superfund Hazardous Substance Research and Training Program focused on surface active molecules and their role in environmental health.

One Health Training Opportunities

Timothy Goldsmith and Larissa Minicucci, Veterinary Population Medicine (College of Veterinary Medicine)
Goldsmith and Minicucci will bring together representatives of the University’s veterinary preventive medicine residency program and others to begin developing multidisciplinary veterinary training programs related to enhancing food systems, food security and environmental sustainability.

Ecosystem Services and Agriculture Land Use

Harriet Van Vleck, Institute on the Environment
Van Vleck and colleagues will hold four half-day workshops that will bring together early career researchers from academia, government and nonprofit organizations to identify trade-offs among agricultural and competing land uses and explore opportunities for using research to inform land management.

Community Meetings

Troy Goodnough, Ed Brands and David Fluegel, University of Minnesota Morris
Goodnough and colleagues at the University of Minnesota Morris and in the surrounding community will convene two meetings—one focusing on soil conservation and sustainable agriculture, and the other on connecting the dots between local agricultural tourism assets.

Environmental Hack Day

Joey Reid, Stephen Hawley, Charlotte Riggs, Christine O’Connell, Josh Quinnell, Justin Becknell, College of Biological Sciences, Institute on the Environment, College of Science and Engineering
Reid and colleagues will develop and carry out Environmental Hack Day, a 48-hour gathering of people across the Twin Cities who will use integrative leadership techniques to develop rough solutions to environmental problems.

Energy Policy and Law

Hari Osofsky and Alexandra Klass, Law School
Osofsky and Klass will participate in a new national collaboration to study public utility commissions’ work on climate change, renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy transition as a step toward improving the ability of energy policy and law to support a move to a less carbon-intensive energy system.

Wood Window and Door Conference

Patrick Donahue, Natural Resources Research Institute
Donahue and colleagues from the University of Minnesota and the International Forest Products Society will develop a Wood Window and Door International Research and Development Conference to encourage the use of wood for doors and windows.

Community Resource Fair

Jennifer Menken, Bell Museum of Natural History
Menken will organize and carry out a community resource fair to connect various naturalist and science groups with members of the public in conjunction with BioBlitz 2012, a 24-hour biological diversity survey to be held in June at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve.

Lake Superior Herring

Steve Bardolph, Art and Design (University of Minnesota Duluth School of Fine Arts)
Bardolph and colleagues will collaborate with scientists, local fishermen, restaurateurs, chefs, grocers, Minnesota Sea Grant and the UMD Viz Lab to develop a video and poster to raise awareness of Lake Superior herring as a sustainable local food source.

Student Sustainability Symposium

Carissa Schively Slotterback, Urban and Regional Planning, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Schively Slotterback will organize and hold a systemwide student sustainability symposium to encourage graduate student research around issues of sustainability and catalyze new collaborations among students across University colleges and campuses.

Black Environmental Thought Conference

Rose Brewer, African American & African Studies (College of Liberal Arts)
Brewer and colleagues will facilitate the participation of sociologist Monica White in the second Black Environmental Thought Conference to expand ongoing conversations and theory building related to incorporating black environmental thought into the search for ecological balance in food systems.