Annual Meeting 2022 Session Recordings

The Institute on the Environment’s Annual Meeting brings together our community – staff, affiliates, students, collaborators, and friends – to uplift each other’s work and foster deeper connections by sharing, questioning, and discussing how to effectively work together toward a more just and sustainable world. IonE believes in cultivating a diverse community of collaborators who understand and respect various ways of knowing. Together, we’re building a future in which people and planet prosper together.

People of IonE Sessions

Throughout the week leading up to the 2022 Annual Meeting, we had a mix of opportunities to meet new people, share work, and learn about other corners of our wide-ranging community. With the session panelists permission, enjoy the following recorded sessions for internal use only.

Collaborative Climate Solutions in the Midwest – Watch Recording Here

IonE and the University of Minnesota are home to the Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (MW CASC). The MW CASC relies on partnerships throughout the region – especially with Tribal governments – to produce actionable science that will help fish, wildlife, water, land, and people in the Midwest adapt to a changing climate. Olivia LeDee, Jessica Hellmann, and the MW CASC team share the MW CASC’s collaborative approach to climate adaptation science, how it relates to the environment and sustainability, and ways to get involved. 

Led By:

  • Jess Del Fiacco, IonE Staff, Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (MW CASC).
  • Jessica Hellmann, IonE Executive Director and MW CASC University Director.
  • Elissa Welch, IonE Staff, MW CASC.
  • Olivia LeDee, IonE Fellow and MW CASC Acting Federal Director.

Making ESG Investments More Sustainable Watch Recording Here

When you put money in an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) fund, does it actually improve our society and planet as advertised? Unfortunately, the answer is often, “Who knows?” Reflecting upon the recent IonE Impact Goal project Green Bonds in the Dairy Industry, IonE Research Scientist Nat Springer presented some ideas for better measuring the sustainability of such investments followed by an expert panel sharing key pathways for continued improvement of ESG metrics.

Led By:

  • Nat Springer, IonE Associate and IonE Staff, Knowledge Initiatives.


  • Susanna Gibbons, IonE Fellow, UMN Carlson School Funds Enterprise.
  • Ioana Popescu, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology.
  • Mark Kriss, Geofinancial Analytics.

Maps of IonE and the People Behind It Watch Recording Here

Over the years, IonE staff, Fellows, and Associates – both current and alumni – have made outstanding maps that shed light on environmental issues at local, regional, and global scales. In this session, 5 – 6 of these map makers shared their map-making journeys, the stories their maps tell, and the impact their maps have had.

Led By:

  • Deepak Ray, IonE Fellow and IonE Staff, Knowledge Initiatives.


  • Aaron Hanson, IonE Staff, Learning & Education, and George Masson, Solar Mapping Research Assistant/StoryMap Developer, UMN.
  • Rylie Pelton, IonE Associate and IonE Staff, Knowledge Initiatives.
  • Vipin Kumar, IonE Fellow, UMN Department of Computer Science & Engineering.
  • Justin Andrew Johnson, IonE Associate, UMN Department of Applied Economics.

Public Engagement in Environmental Problem SolvingWatch Recording Here

Public engagement can help scientists address a variety of environmental problems and conservation concerns. This session featured a series of short talks highlighting a variety of approaches to community engagement in environmental science. Topics included gathering data on endangered and invasive species, approaches to connect scientists with community-led ecological restoration and food justice efforts, and gender differences in community science.

Led By:

  • Elaine Evans, UMN Department of Entomology.
  • Angela Gupta, UMN Extension, Department of Forest Resources.


  • Hope Flanagan, Dream of Wild Health.
  • Julia Brokaw, UMN Department of Entomology.
  • Megan Weber, UMN Extension, Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC).
  • Maggie Lorenz, Lower Phalen Creek.
  • Andrea Lorek Strauss, UMN Extension.

Meet a few of the new IonE Associates:

Recordings are linked within each name:

  • Amit Pradhananga, UMN Center for Changing Landscapes and Department of Forest Resources.
    Water management requires not only engineering and design solutions, but also the engagement and commitment to implement those solutions by community members such as farmers, residents, and business owners. Yet, public participation in water planning can be limited by multiple psychological, social, and institutional constraints. To be effective, strategies aimed at increasing engagement in water protection must address existing constraints and motivations. I will present an overview of my research in two key areas: 1) social-psychological drivers of conservation behavior; and 2) equity and justice in water management, particularly as it relates to engagement with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
  • Craig Hill, UMN Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.
    My work focuses on Blue Economic initiatives, particularly in relation to the development of marine renewable energy technology, device environmental interactions, and low-cost observation systems for marine environments in addition to marine energy resource characterization. For this discussion, I’ll focus on my work exploring the Great Lakes’ role in small-scale marine energy development as well as efforts to use low-cost, open-source observation systems for expanding IoT sensing networks across waters ranging from small regional inland lakes to the Great Lakes. Through my teaching and research, I seek to engage UMN students and regional communities in our marine environments with accessible observation systems, initiatives to develop new energy technologies, and other opportunities related to the Blue Economy.
  • Brandon Miller, Horticultural Sciences and Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
    As severe weather events and the introduction of invasive pests occur more frequently in the United States, the resiliency of managed landscapes has come into question. The need to identify, develop, and plant diverse species and selections of landscape plants capable of tolerating the demands of a changing climate is a forefront issue in horticulture. A variety of factors influence the adoption of novel species, and some desirable plants may be limited by unique challenges in the nursery production pipeline. In this presentation, I will introduce research aimed at supporting the development and usage of underutilized plants and specialty crops in the Upper Midwest.
  • Jonathan Knott, United States Forest Service
    The U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program collects data on roughly 130,000 plots across the U.S. As part of the Carbon Science Group (CSG) in FIA, I focus on using FIA data to better understand how forests change over time – from individual trees to species communities – using tools such as remote sensing, statistical modeling, and GIS/spatial ecology. The CSG also provides estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from forests for regional, national, and international reports. In this presentation, I will focus on my recent research as well as highlight the hopes of the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station (located on the University of Minnesota-St Paul campus) to strengthen connections with the University through the IonE community.
  • Xinyi Qian, Minnesota Tourism Center, UMN Extension.
    In this presentation, I will discuss my activities and goals related to the intersection of outdoor recreation, tourism, climate, and sustainable practices. Interest in outdoor recreation has grown exponentially during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the impact of extreme weather events on outdoor recreation is increasingly tangible, with outdoor recreationists questioning how they can benefit the environment. With an ongoing literature review on outdoor recreation and climate, participation in a University Transportation Center proposal on equitable decarbonization, and relationship building with MW CASC and MN Climate Adaptation Partnership, my goal is to build a portfolio that elucidates the mutual impact of outdoor recreation and climate adaptation, supports tourism businesses in climate adaptation, and facilitates pro-environmental behavior among outdoor recreationists.