IFA Water Study
The Indiana Finance Authority initiated the Central Indiana Water Study to provide a better understanding of the supply and demand of water resource sin the Central Indiana region. The effort will ultimately provide a data-driven foundation for collaborative decision making on shared water needs, challenges, and opportunities. Empower Results served as the outreach and education arm of a diverse team of scientists and agency representatives, producing a range of products to help explain the study to the public and decision makers who will most benefit from understanding the study’s results and recommendations.
- Developed project purpose statement and fact sheets
- Developed project FAQ set to accompany reports on the website
- In process of developing three video assets to present the project to different audiences, including the public and elected officials
Empower Results led the Office of Land Stewardship in creating a strategic plan that will guide the Office’s activity over the next 5 years. The internal planning document prioritized essential functions and provided action steps based on a clear timeline. Additional work was also done to develop a public outreach Master Plan designed to broaden awareness of the Office’s impact on environmental services in the city. This public-facing ‘Master Plan’ includes a summary of the Office’s role and ongoing activities, an inventory of property assets and amenities, restoration and maintenance success stories, the expansion of volunteer programs, and a suite of infographics which detail the ecological services and social benefits that result from well-maintained natural areas. Empower Results has gone on to help produce a series of videos on OLS’s work, interpretive signage, and assist in a range of outreach efforts.
- Led strategic planning process to determine prioritized action steps, and create work plan
- Led branding and communication processes
- Developed series of infographics and other materials to communicate the value of Land Stewardship activity
- Created a series of videos showing value of land protection and ecological services
- Designed and produced interpretive signage
- Created branded presentation materials
- Assisted in social media and other outreach efforts
IDEM Wetlands Education
Empower Results served as an outreach and education subconsultant for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, helping IDEM modernize its wetland-related resources and develop a new suite of materials to further its outreach efforts. Working with graphic designers, Empower Results revised existing content and created a new visual language for brochures and fact sheets. The effort also included social media guidance and a set of post-ready messages and photos to help keep messaging tight and consistent. Finally, Empower Results produced wetland outreach “kits” – a set of materials including activities and materials for teachers.
- Assisted with brand redesign to accompany brochures and fact sheets
- Assisted in text revisions and redesign of four brochures and eleven fact sheets
- Developed “media blitz” package of images and messages optimized for social media
- Developed and assembled education “kits” for IDEM educators
Wabash River Greenway
The Wabash River Greenway Master Plan proposes a 90-mile trail across five counties in the Wabash River valley in Indiana. Designed as a “destination trail”, the Wabash River Greenway aims to be a landmark project for the region, creating connections between communities, supporting quality of life improvements, providing access to the river, and more.
Empower Results assisted the project team across a variety of services. Our role in the project included brand guide and survey development, stakeholder identification and meeting organization, (COVID-friendly) public input activity design, online polling and interaction tools, public meeting facilitation, and video storyboarding.
- Provided a full range of public input consultation
- Assisted in survey design and implementation
- Developed COVID-friendly public input strategies across the five-county project area
- Helped organize and facilitate online meetings with elected officials and stakeholder groups
- Assisted in the development of a project brand guide
- Created storyboard outline for project marketing video
Castleton Revitalization Master Plan
Empower Results led the public outreach and stakeholder involvement process for the Castleton Revitalization Master Plan. Leadership tasks included organizing, developing activities for, and participating in a series of stakeholder meetings in order to establish a baseline set of project outcomes ranging from the project vision to final features. The Empower Results team organized and assisted in three public workshops attended by more than 200 individuals, each utilizing multiple input strategies. Several external focus group meetings were held to acquire input from specific demographics, commercial organizations, adjacent planning entities, major employers, and local developers.
- Project website
- Series of online surveys directed toward specific user types (area visitors, employers, employees, residents)
- Input was aggregated and shared with other team members and the City to develop a realistic yet visionary plan, and local leadership was cultivated to begin implementation
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