2013 Mini Grants

Following are brief descriptions of the 2013 fall and spring Mini Grant-funded projects. For more information, email ione@umn.edu


Illustrating interdisciplinary: Audubon in the 21st century

Daniel Philippon, English (College of Liberal Arts)

Philippon and colleagues will develop an integrated series of events, educational programs and conversations for the University community and the public to accompany the Bell Museum of Natural History’s new exhibit, “Audubon and the Art of Birds.”
View Final Report

Students for Design Activisim (SDA): A Watershed Event

Vincent deBritto, Landscape Architecture (College of Design)

The UMN Students for Design Activism (SDA), in partnership with the UMN Department of Landscape Architecture, the Mill City Museum, and Floodplain Collective, will be hosting a public screening of the documentary movie, Watershed, on April 4th. This will be the first screening in Minnesota of this independent film. Watershed examines the water resource ethics and environmental issues raised by piping water from the Colorado River to supply Southern California and other outlying states.
View Final Report

Visualizing transportation, land use and the environment in Minnesota

David Levinson, Civil Engineering (College of Science and Engineering)

Levinson’s team will develop Web-based materials that provide engaging visual data on transportation, land use and the environment in Minnesota and the Minneapolis–St. Paul region.
View Final Report

Cultural entrepreneurship speaker series 2013–14

Olaf Kuhlke, College of Liberal Arts (University of Minnesota Duluth)

The Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship will bring an internationally renowned authority to speak to students about sustainable solutions in the growing creative economy.
View Final Report

Catalyzing an adaptive management approach to the epidemiology of bee health

Dominic Travis, Veterinary Population Medicine (College of Veterinary Medicine) and IonE Resident Fellow

A team of entomologists, epidemiologists and ecologists will identify the causal factors of bee colony collapse and create an adaptive management process that will help test management strategies for control of important risk factors within the commercial bee industry.


Steve Sanders, Parking and Transportation Services

The ZAP team will host a semester-end event celebrating the dedication of bike commuters, reinforcing ZAP’s mission to encourage healthy, sustainable commuting alternatives.

A U of M student engagement leadership fellow position

Troy Goodnough, Office of Sustainability (University of Minnesota Morris)

The UMM Office of Sustainability fellow will support the Student Engagement Workgroup of the Systemwide Sustainability Committee, help organize its 2013–14 leadership event, explore networking and communication relationship opportunities, and connect University student leaders with other Minnesota youth environmental leadership groups and networks.

Twin Cities tropical environments network

Kim Carlson, Institute on the Environment

Carlson and colleagues will organize a series of monthly meetings on tropical forest conservation and ecology and develop a board of directors to sustain the program and maintain a group website.
View Final Report

Enhancing interdisciplinary resources for teaching and learning sustainability at UMD

Dennis Falk, College of Education and Human Services Professions (University of Minnesota Duluth)

Falk’s project will focus on enhancing undergraduate sustainability courses by developing an online repository for resources from community and campus experts such as course syllabi and community-based learning opportunities.
View Final Report

Communicator to support cross-disciplinarity in curricular and campus sustainability conversations

LeAne Rutherford, Instructional Development Service (University of Minnesota Duluth)

The communicator will act as a hub of information on campus sustainability conversations, events and activities, aggregating and disseminating the information to instructors who can then incorporate living scholarship opportunities into their course requirements.
View Final Report

Bicycle repair stations

Bryan French, Student Sustainability Coalition (University of Minnesota Duluth)

The Student Sustainability Coalition will install two bike repair stations on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus to facilitate bike maintenance with the expectation that bicycle use will increase while decreasing motorized traffic on and around campus.

Midwest conservation biomass alliance

Clarence Lehman, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior (College of Biological Sciences) and IonE Resident Fellow

The Midwest Conservation Biomass Alliance will convene a two-day working session of business leaders, researchers and non-governmental organizations to prioritize projects and develop timelines and action plans that advance the bioenergy industry and grassland conservation.

Campus/community garden for Crookston

Dan Svedarsky, Center for Sustainability (University of Minnesota Crookston)

Crookston Students for Sustainable Development, the Crookston Students Association and other partners will host monthly “Garden Suppers” — including expert speakers and a Gardening 101 program — to identify student and community partners in the establishment of a campus garden.
View Final Report | View Supplemental Report

Demonstrating the viability of unmanned aerial vehicle technology for monitoring and observing free-ranging wildlife

Mark Ditmer, Fisheries and Wildlife (College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences)

An interdisciplinary team will utilize unmanned aerial vehicle technology to enhance studies of black bear behavior and physiology in northern Minnesota, allowing researchers to gather uninfluenced behavioral data on bear activity and diet.

View Final Report

Seasons of change: observing local environmental change at the landscape arboretum

Brian Smoliak, Soil, Water and Climate (College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences)

Smoliak’s team will deploy and administer a test bed temperature sensor network at the University’s Landscape Arboretum, engage arboretum visitors with informal education on local meteorology, horticulture, phenology and environmental change through displays at the arboretum and social media, and plan for future formal education collaboration between the Twin Cities campus and the arboretum.
View Final Report

Improving ecosystems: forest dance of survival and transformation

Maja Radovanlija, School of Music (College of Liberal Arts)

CLA faculty and students and researchers from Cloquet Forestry Center will gather an interdisciplinary team of 10 to 12 for a weekend at Cloquet Forestry Center to collaborate on a project focused on research narratives on the “hot” topics of the center, such as climate change.
View Final Report

Students for sustainability

Beth Mercer-Taylor, Institute on the Environment

Students for Sustainability will organize the 2014 Earth Day fair, which will feature speakers, music and resources for attendees to connect with University and community sustainability activities.

Green roofs in Stevens Square

Nick Jordan, Agronomy and Plant Genetics (College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences) and IonE Resident Fellow

Students, faculty and fellows will examine the feasibility of green roof systems atop The Nicollet at the intersection of Franklin and Nicollet in Minneapolis, assessing the potential for supporting small-scale urban agriculture.
View Final Report


Van Cleeve community garden

Stan Hokanson, Horticulture (College of Food, Agricultural and Natural
Resource Sciences)

The University of Minnesota Horticulture Club will revive and improve an existing inactive community garden along the east side of Van Cleeve Park in Minneapolis.

View Final Report

Basic ecology course at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

Ken Gilbertson, Health, Physical Education and Recreation (University of Minnesota Duluth)

Gilbertson and colleagues will develop a two-week basic ecology course for UMD environmental and outdoor education undergraduates and other students throughout the University system to be held at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve.

View Final Report

Bicycle repair stations

Paula Pentel, Urban Studies (College of Liberal Arts)

The Southeast Como Improvement Association (SECIA) Student Group will establish a bicycle repair station and create two bicycle repair kits for use in the Como Neighborhood.

View Final Report

Improvising ecosystems: sounds and visions of Cedar Creek

Maja Radovanlija, School of Music

Faculty, staff and students from Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve and the University’s School of Music and Department of Art, Photography, Experimental and Media Arts will create a music and visual arts performance and installation evoking the sights and sounds of the Cedar Creek reserve.

View Final Report

Interdisciplinary exploration of Minnesota frac sand mining

Neil Wilmot, Economics (Labovitz School of Business and Economics, University of Minnesota Duluth)

Wilmot will bring together professionals across disciplines to begin a comprehensive study of the ecological, socioeconomic and demand aspects of frac sand mining in Minnesota.

View Final Report

Glensheen greenhouses

William Payne, School of Fine Arts (University of Minnesota Duluth)

Payne will organize a planning session to explore options for bringing together arts, humanities, museum science, agriculture, horticulture and the social sciences to install sustainable agriculture classroom space and a teahouse at Glensheen Mansion. Watch the video produced using Mini Grant funding!

View Final Report

Active transport: construction an ecology of academic, physical and environmental wellness

Dan Glisczinski , Education (University of Minnesota Duluth)

An interdisciplinary team of professionals from UMD, area high schools and a health system will improve student health and the environment through a pilot project promoting human-powered transportation among high school students.


Katey Pelican, Veterinary Population Medicine (College of Veterinary Medicine)

This project will establish a collaboration with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama to begin to explore how landscape change alters disease dynamics at the intersection of wildlife and human populations.

Urban heat island network

Peter Snyder, Soil, Water and Climate and Forest Resources (College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences)

This project will help provide support for local attendees at an international workshop on urban heat islands to be held in the Twin Cities.

View Final Report

UMD dorm faucet replacement

Sam Knuth, Net Impact (University of Minnesota Duluth)

University of Minnesota Duluth student groups will coordinate installation of gooseneck faucets in dorm bathrooms and promote use of refillable water bottles.

View Final Report

The hydroponic curtain

Diane Willow, Art (College of Liberal Arts)

An interdisciplinary team will design, build and deploy a prototype vertical hydroponic garden that can function as a working model for demonstrating innovative approaches to food production.

Interstate sustainability leadership symposium

Kate Knuth, Boreas Leadership Program (Institute on the Environment)

Knuth and colleagues will convene a three-day interstate conference at Northwestern University to provide undergraduate environmental leaders across the Midwest an opportunity to advance their leadership skills.

View Final Report

How people feed each other: bridging suppers across the food system

Valentine Cadieux, Sociology and Geography, Society and Environment (College of Liberal Arts)

Cadieux will facilitate four interactive suppers around the Twin Cities, open to the public, to create conversations about food system problems and solutions.