Clear Choices Clean Water
Our team (through the support of two active watershed clients and several municipalities) created, launched, and currently maintains the state’s largest social marketing campaign for environmental awareness, Clear Choices Clean Water (CCCW). CCCW is a unique strategy to increase awareness and knowledge about residential behavior choices and their impact on water quality in local watersheds. The project helps to change people’s behavior, evaluate outreach success, and measure improvements at the same time. The focal point of the campaign is an interactive website and pledge map; however, a suite of supporting resources, marketing materials, and interactive activities were developed to help support the program as well. We create regular social media posts and engage dozens of outside partners in the continued support and promotion of the program. Google analytics and other built-in metrics allow us to evaluate the success of various outreach strategies, which allows for flexibility and quick adjustments. This project won the 2012 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence, the North American Lake Management Society 2013 Technical Merit Award for Education and Outreach, the Indiana Water Environment Association’s Outstanding Website Award in 2014, and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s award for Outstanding Development and Implementation of Storm Water Programs or Projects.
PROJECT TASKS (Ongoing)
- Developed award winning social marketing campaign (largest in the state)
- Created and maintained ever-growing website that houses educational and technical resources developed to support the pledge campaigns
- Designed numerous pieces of collateral outreach materials and creative promotional and marketing items
- Measured and evaluated campaign pledge impacts and behavior change metrics; provided routine improvements and upgraded to the program
- Leveraged the program to build wide-spread partnerships and sponsorships
- Adapted the program for national implementation and resale; produced regular revenue stream and national sponsors
The ER team is at the forefront of water resource protection strategies. Their wide array of experience with innovative practices adds value to every project they undertake.
The ER team is one of the easiest teams with which I have worked. They can take the most complex problem or condition and guide their customers to the best solutions.
Town of Zionsville
Indianapolis Sustainable Infrastructure Initiative
With the goal of developing and promoting more sustainable solutions for stormwater infrastructure, the City of Indianapolis worked with a team of consultants, including Empower Results, to identify and overcome obstacles that were impacting the adoption of Low Impact Development (LID) projects and principals. We coordinated the activities of the City’s LID Steering Committee, including meeting agendas, materials, presentations, and follow-up. Subcommittee meetings were conducted with several City departments to identify needed ordinance changes and discuss incentive opportunities. We also conducted national research on LID and green infrastructure programs and provided recommendations and program direction to the City. Team members led discussions and facilitated efforts that connected other City initiatives to LID. Primary outcomes included the development of a comprehensive Rain Garden program, specific ordinance language revisions, a complete web resource center, and the roll-out of a master presentation tool that is able to be tailored to a variety of audiences.
- Focused and synthesized diverse input from the LID committee and several department heads
- Developed cross-department LID preparedness checklist
- Prioritized and recommended language changes to key ordinances
- Identified and implemented incentive programs where practicable among existing design review processes
- Developed detailed materials for a comprehensive rain garden program
- Created city-wide, multi-departmental permit process for green infrastructure projects
- Presented to governing boards, partner organizations, & the design community
- Identified and expanded public education opportunities
Restoration of Upland Storage in Wetlands
Researchers from IUPUI and the University of Oregon partnered with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a tool aimed at helping farmers better understand the values of wetlands and assess potential wetland restoration scenarios. Stemming from increased runoff intensities in the Midwest as a result of climate change, the project sought to identify the most suitable arrangement (spatial optimization) of upland wetlands to not only slow runoff but to align with farmers’ own needs and values. The project employed sophisticated real-time computer modeling to generate these wetland arrangements based on detailed profiles submitted by the stakeholders. Our work on the project focused around the overall coordination of stakeholder meetings, consultation with the Principal Investigators on interface elements and usability, and suggested modifications as input was received. Once the tool was in place, we utilized the model output/tool to assess practical implications of siting best management practices (BMP) in certain locations. Evaluation of the tool continued to receive additional NSF funding and the outputs are directing future watershed research and initiatives.
- Reviewed and advised on web interface
- Developed user profile questionnaire and evaluation mechanisms
- Identified and secured appropriate stakeholders to test the web interface
- Facilitated interactive stakeholder meetings to demonstrate and pilot the tool
- Created and conducted online surveys to gather feedback
Indy Urban Waters
Our team assisted the City of Indianapolis in obtaining an Urban Waters Grant from the US EPA to implement a new water currency program and several demonstration projects associated with the prevention of stormwater runoff into area streams. We conducted targeted outreach efforts including customized mailers and e-newsletters, as well as residential workshops focused on water quality, rain gardens, & native planting practices. Several hands-on training days helped implement these best practices along streams. Key audiences for involvement and education included Indianapolis Department of Public Works staff, Indy Parks staff, Community Development Corporations, residents, and members of the business community such as landscape architects and installers, and site designers. We also worked with the project team to create a new ‘water currency’ program aimed at developing social and economic capital surrounding water and behavior change in a low income neighborhood. Residents earn currency by engaging in various activities that help reduce stormwater pollution. Currency was then traded in at local businesses for various goods, thus increasing both financial and social wealth in the community.
- Successful grant writing to obtain highly competitive US EPA funding
- Identified target residents who may be interested in water quality conservation initiatives and program goals
- Planned and designed demonstration rain garden and no-mow buffers; deliver hands-on training days at sites
- Developed technical resources, including planting plans for rain gardens and other native plant gardens
- Coordinated and deliver educational workshops for various audiences
- Promoted water currency through e-newsletters, workshop participation, and presence at community events
Indy Rezone was the largest overhaul of Indianapolis’ zoning ordinances and development standards since 1969 – an effort aimed at making a more livable, more sustainable city. Our team played a critical role in this initiative by leading the facilitation of dozens of controversial discussions across multiple stakeholder groups and managing the efforts and outcomes of the Steering Committee over a two and half year timeframe. We served a leadership role by engaging focus groups at round tables, technical task forces, and the multi-stakeholder, 30-person Steering Committee. Outreach efforts were aimed at insuring that any ordinance changes had been thoughtfully developed and publically vetted across many groups and neighborhood scenarios. We focused on increasing the public’s understand of topics such as transportation choices; equitable, affordable housing; economic competitiveness; green investment; natural resource protection; and neighborhood invigoration. This understand was then leveraged into meaningful contributions by developing and facilitating diverse public input mechanisms. Indy Rezone will shape Indy’s built environment into the kinds of places people want to work, live and play for the next several decades.
- Overhauled the City’s zoning code to promote livability and sustainability
- Created and implemented strategic communication plan
- Facilitated multi-stakeholder Steering Committee and neighborhood focus groups
- Consulted on technical ordinance content and incentive programs focused on water sustainability
- Planned and executed large-scale public meetings
- Developed public outreach materials and cultivated new and unique venues for input
- Engaged public officials and professional organizations through policy round-tables
- Synthesized public and professional feedback from agencies and organizations to provide critical content to City project staff
City of Indianapolis
Riverfront Fort Wayne
Riverfront Fort Wayne is an initiative that envisions a revitalized downtown riverfront area that is a regional destination offering opportunities to experience nature, recreation, shopping, dining and entertainment in a whole new way. We led the community outreach efforts that resulted in the Riverfront Fort Wayne action plan – a plan that was developed through a process that included extensive community input. The resulting vision for the riverfront plan offers something for everyone, from natural wetlands that allows you to reconnect with nature, to an activity park that encourages people of any age to play, to a promenade that welcomes you to stroll and enjoy shopping and dining along the river. These areas of interest are strengthened by improved pedestrian, trail and vehicular connections from nearby neighborhoods and the downtown which will ensure an ease of accessibility to the riverfront for residents and visitors alike.
- Assisted multi-disciplinary team with concept plans for redevelopment of Fort Wayne’s Riverfront
- Developed stakeholder communication matrix and delivered associated key messages to target audiences
- Implemented diverse public input mechanisms, including programing and content for Envision Center public showroom
- Created unique public engagement events including boat tours and river walks
- Facilitated large-scale public meetings and open houses
- Analyzed public input and provided guidance to the design team
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) commissioned a Feasibility Study for Food Hubs in Indiana. The purpose of the study was to assess the needs of growers and consumers regarding the potential for regional food hubs operating as part of a statewide network to facilitate the marketing and access to specialty crops. We were part of a team of consultants that conducted the study and supplied recommendations for next step programming. The concept of food hubs was not new to Indiana growers of specialty crops, but determining the widely varied needs of these growing across a diverse state was a challenge. We assisted with the communication planning and stakeholder engagement by setting up an outreach matrix and needs inventory, guided by survey input. Producers were surveys at the State Fair, local fairs, and through cooperative partnerships with local grocers and farmers markets. A project website was created and populated by resources collected and organized by our staff. This site is now the primary place for sharing information and organizing efforts across relevant agencies.
- Collaborated with interdisciplinary team to determine the feasibility and infrastructure needs associated with establishing local food hubs
- Assisted agency staff in determining outreach and communication objectives
- Authored stakeholder surveys and press releases
- Developed website content, key messaging for event and survey invitations, and overall tone and brand for project communications
- Explored partnerships with local food stores, co-ops, and other outreach partners
- Developed a framework for local marketing strategies
Earth Partnership for Schools
The Earth Partnership for School began in 1991 as an outgrowth of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum’s focus on ecological restoration as a way to establish a positive relationship between people and the land. This K-12 environmental education program provides teachers and students hands-on activities designed to construct and/or explore ecological planting projects on or near their school site. In 2006 a team led by IUPUI’s Center for Earth and Environmental Science engaged in an effort to bring the Earth Partnership Curriculum to Indiana. Empower Results was a key team member – contributing time and resources to convert Wisconsin’s supplemental materials into materials that were relevant to Indiana’s landscape, ecology, and natural history. The efforts culminated with the production and delivery of the curriculum to an initial core group of teachers from across the state at a Summer Institute workshop in 2007. Vision for the project included the establishment and improved use of outdoor laboratories, as well as the development of a terrestrial-based curriculum that can complement water quality based activities in the Project WET curriculum.
• Researched and compiled Indiana natural history references and materials for inclusion into the program
• Reviewed and recommended curriculum activities best suited to Indiana landscapes and ecology
• Coordinated curriculum elements with colleagues conducting state standards correlations for water education
• Collaborated on supplemental resource materials development for the program
Upper Tippecanoe River Lakes Strategic Watershed Management Plan
Empower Results led all local steering committee meetings associated with the development of a strategic plan aimed at reducing non-point source pollution to the seven hydrologically connected lakes in the Upper Tippecanoe River chain. Committee members were guided through a series of meetings and activities focused on consensus building, resource consolidation, and the prioritization. These meetings were used to develop an action plan for future environmental and social projects in the watershed. As land-use and water quality issues were identified, subsequent strategies were developed through facilitated discussions with other stakeholders. Customized public outreach events and alternative meeting styles assisted in the translation of technical data and topics to the public throughout the project.
- Educational workshops
- Goals setting and meeting facilitation
- Stakeholder conflict resolution
- Long-range organizational planning
- Development of a GIS and public-friendly graphics
- Synthesis and communication of water quality findings
- Lake management recommendations
Eagle Creek Watershed Alliance
The Eagle Creek Watershed Alliance has existed for over twelve years working to protect and improve water quality in Eagle Creek, its tributaries, and the downstream, Eagle Creek drinking water Reservoir. The watershed hosts diverse land uses, spanning intense agriculture operations, suburban fringe communities, and densely urban parts of the City of Indianapolis and the Town of Zionsville. During the development and implementation of the Watershed Management Plan, our team worked to bring people from all of these areas under the Alliance’s influence through committee participation, project implementation on individual properties, and broad public education and awareness events. We oversaw cost-share projects that included design, permitting, and monitoring work, as well as conducted numerous workshops, field days, and watershed tours. Projects and educational efforts span both urban and agricultural residents, in addition to other target audiences. We were also responsible for all news media communications, land owner agreements, project success measures, and all aspects of federal grant reporting.
- Authored EPA/IDEM compliant Watershed Management Plan and Plan updates
- Conducted water quality and habitat assessments
- Created web-based map resources and pre-packaged educational resources
- Analyzed critical resources via GIS and field investigations
- Implemented landowner cost-share program and technical assistance
- Communicated with media and produced routine project communications such as newsletters and social media
- Engaged and coordinated multiple topical committees and the Steering Committee
- Coordinated with schools and parks departments on projects and educational initiatives