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Updates from Adel, GA

Welcome to the Thriving Earth Exchange’s (TEX) blog space. The purpose of the blog is to inspire thinking, open-participation and discussion on particular topics or themes. We encourage you to leave comments on any blog post by clicking through to each post and sharing your thoughts at the bottom.


Updates from Adel, GA

January 5, 2023 Our community leads have reached a settlement agreement with the Spectrum Energy Georgia LLC in the operation of a proposed wood pellet plant in Adel. Effective December 24, 2022, the agreement includes more protections for public health than the permit authorized by state regulators, and stronger enforceability provisions in the case that […]

Community Insights: A Healing Village for Oakland’s Young People

  There is a growing awareness about the connection between time spent in nature and our mental health. At the same time, there is a growing concern about the mental health of teens, who spend less and less time outdoors, and more and more time in front of screens. In many historically marginalized communities, a […]

Meet Our April 2022 Cohort of Community Leads in Wisconsin

AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s UniverCity Alliance and Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N), will support 14 projects across the state of Wisconsin. As participants in the first state-based cohort of Thriving Earth projects, the community leads in the April 2022 cohort will work with Community Science […]

An intercontinental coalition to create a resilient community

Residents and volunteer scientists collaborate across continents to build flood resilience    Ellicott City, Maryland, is part of the Baltimore metropolitan area, but this charming, historic mill town on the banks of the Patapsco River can feel like a step back in time.  Unfortunately, homes that are a treasured legacy of the city’s historic roots […]

Getting a Read on Radon Through Participatory Research: How a Community’s Questions Shed Light on Indoor Air Quality in Denver

A home is supposed to be a refuge – a safe place to rest in a busy, unpredictable world. But what do we do when home doesn’t feel so safe – when you find out harmful pollutants have been there for years, or even decades? For Denver residents, this hypothetical question became real when they […]

Images of Change

During AGU’s 2021 Fall Meeting in New Orleans, we were honored to meet many community members who are working to make the region’s neighborhoods healthier, more connected and more resilient. Here’s a glimpse of what we saw. Community lead Julia Kumari Drapkin stands in front of a football field in Gentilly, now the site of […]

A Dedicated Team and a Deep Well of Data: Uncovering the Mystery of Uranium in Glastonbury, Connecticut

When Glastonbury, Connecticut’s health officials and town leadership suspected uranium contamination in residential wells, they partnered with Thriving Earth Exchange to investigate. The project uncovered key information the town needed to advise residents, summed up in a thorough report written with the community in mind – all amid the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.  What’s in your water? Glastonbury, a community with a history of agriculture and fruit orchards, is a town of about 35,000 people, and a suburb of the city of Hartford. “We take a lot of […]

Community Insights: Seeking Quiet, Residents Question a Quarry

Nestled between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Coast, Clark County, Washington, is a largely rural, forested area rich in both natural beauty and natural resources. Outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to the sweeping river views and bountiful fishing afforded by the Columbia and Lewis Rivers, while industrial interests are drawn by the region’s stores of […]

Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions and American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy & Resources

Supplementing this project work, FACS acquired pro-bono legal support through the ABA-SEER/Thriving Earth Exchange partnership to develop a legal brief on the use of public rights away for the installation of solar or other renewable energy. The purpose of the brief is to provide guidance for public and private entities. The legal brief will examine […]

Community Insights: Taking action on the front lines of climate change

Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city, with 300,000 residents spread out over an area about the size of Delaware. Part of Dena’ina Elnena (Dena’ina Country), home to members of the Eklutna and Knik tribes and many nationalities, it is a place with deep indigenous roots and a complex cultural and political history. Nestled between the Cook […]

Community Insights: Mapping the pollution to create the solution

The Tar Creek in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, runs directly through a 40-square-mile Superfund site, full of giant mounds of toxic mining waste—a fine, white sand-and-gravel mix known as “chat,” easily blown away by the breeze—that is polluting the entire county’s drinking water, yards and fields.  Local Environmental Action Demanded (LEAD) Agency, a community-led non-profit environmental […]

Community Insights: Keeping the Kiamichi River Clean

The Kiamichi River, in southeastern Oklahoma, is a pristine 177-mile river with headwaters in the Kiamichi Mountains, on the Oklahoma border with Arkansas. But it won’t stay clean if the state has its way: lawmakers want to divert the flow of the Kiamichi to meet the water needs of the Oklahoma City area, and possibly […]

How can Communities Reduce their Carbon Footprint? An Introduction to Community Choice Aggregation and Community Science

This blog was originally posted on the University of Washington Program on Climate Change website on May 5, 2020, and is posted here with permission from the author.   By Lily Hahn Here in Seattle, hydropower supplies more than 85% of our electricity. But in Arlington County, Virginia, the dominant utility derives at least 50% of its […]

Trash-tography: San Diego 4th Graders Take on Water Pollution

Trash-tography – San Diego 4th Graders Take on Water Pollution by Kristen Hurst, Indraneel (Neel) Kasmalker, Carly Ellis, and Kirstin Skadberg It was a beautiful fall day in San Diego. Meaning…it was hot! We were walking down the hill from Carver Elementary toward Chollas Creek with a class of 20 bright and curious fourth graders. […]

Agency testing reveals no harmful minerals in Yacolt Mt. Quarry samples

A recent study by the Southwest Clean Air Agency (SWCAA) and EPA has found no erionite present in 12 locations sampled in and around the mine site. Read more here:

San Diego Students ID Trash in Chollas Creek

Check out this post from Indraneel Kasmalkar, Community Science Fellow on the San Diego, Chollas Creek project: We scheduled a trash assessment run for Tuesday Oct 15. There were about 18 elementary school students with us, and the four of us (Kristen, Kirstin, Carly and me). Kristen gave the students school iPads to fill out […]

Expert Hydrologist Helps Flood Victims in Lawsuit

By Harriet Festing, Anthropocene Alliance Richwood, Texas: Dr Steven H Emerman was touring Richwood on Tuesday. He was in town to provide expert testimony for a lawsuit on behalf of the Flood Victims of Richwood: Dr Emerman is helping three members of Higher Ground with lawsuits and appeals. He is well qualified to do so. […]

Clark County WA team attends Erionite Workshop

On October 1, 2019 Marie Ogier and Alyssa Shiel attended a workshop in Bend, Oregon on Erionite and Naturally Occurring Asbestos (NOA). The workshop addressed the permitting of Eriniote and NOA as well as how it’s analyzed in a lab and how to manage the risks associated with them. Both reflected on how serious exposure […]

Empowering Communities Affected by Fracking

Residents gain knowledge and credibility in quest to understand the effects of unconventional oil and gas development   Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a topic that has divided residents across many U.S. communities over the past decade. Fear is often at the heart of these divisions—fear that oil and gas development activities will disrupt residents’ […]

Missoula MT Project Featured in The Daily Climate

Heat is deadly—even in Montana. But the city of Missoula is doing something about it. Missoula’s forward thinking climate planning offers lessons for other cities and towns facing similar conditions. By Laurie Mazur   When you think of cities impacted by the urban heat island effect, you probably think of steamy Houston or the concrete […]

Wheatley Elementary School 4th Graders Create a Book

Fourth grade students at Phyllis Community School have published a book on the effects of the I-10 corridor on the Treme Neighborhood in New Orleans. Together with partners at Public Lab, Thriving Earth Exchange and Claiborne Ave. Alliance, the students learned all about the environmental impacts of the corridor on their neighborhood (both historic and […]

Trees With A Purpose

At a community meeting on August 9th at the Evans Community Center, Community Leader for the Melbourne, FL project, Camille Hadley, introduced the concept of “trees with a purpose” a joint program with Keep Brevard Beautiful. Camille spoke to a crowd of 19 people about how choosing native and/or fruit bearing trees can help mitigate […]

Notes from the Field: Gulfport, MS

From Katherine Egland: Gianna M. Cothren, Renee Collini and Christopher Anderson came out during a rainstorm for an extremely productive meeting with a small community focus group on Friday, August 2 at Forrest Heights Baptist Church, located at the foot of the Turkey Creek Bridge in Gulfport. Residents were eager to be engaged in shoring […]

Note from The Field: 7th Ward, New Orleans, LA

On July 20 and 24 our team carried out our first survey of residents of the 7th Ward. The survey asked residents their opinions about tree planting initiatives, rain gardens, neighborhood concerns such as crime and flooding, the effects of heat and hot weather, and other aspects of the physical and social environments in the […]

Notes from the Field: Ontario, California

The public is enjoying the amenities the Mill Creek Wetlands has to offer. Whether walking, jogging, riding the trails either by bicycle or by horseback, or simply exploring nature and the habitat; families, friends, groups as well as individuals are taking delight in the water quality facility. Recently, the City of Ontario conducted a tour […]

Professor, students seek solutions to urban flooding issues

by David Staudacher  

Barnesville team presents water quality results at a community meeting

On 1 July 2019, a community meeting set up at Ohio Eastern University by the Barnesville, OH Thriving Earth team to discuss water quality results from area hydraulic fracturing attracted over 50 participants. Professors from both Yale and Duquesne Universities, including Thriving Earth Exchange scientist, Dr. John Stolz, presented results of their research on effects […]

Bulacan, Philippines team vet hazard maps in communities

The Bulacan, Philippines team is getting close to having hazards maps vetted with the 7 communities of Bulacan province along Manila Bay. The hazards simulation that Joy Santiago and Jake Mendoza planned to do in June will occur in the next couple of weeks with the expectation that they will have sufficient information for AKAP-KA […]

Goldsboro team commences project with in-person meeting

(Featured photo courtesy of Bobby Jones) On Thursday, June 27th, Jenny Phillippe, met up with Bobby Jones, Larsene Thomas, and the Downeast Coal Ash Coalition in their first in-person meeting on coal ash contamination in Goldbsoro. The all day meeting included various community meetings, meetings with local nonprofits, and a walk along the Neuse River. […]

Notes from the Field with Adrienne Katner

LSU School of Public Health and Partners Monitor the I-10 Environment with Phillis Wheatley Students By Adrienne Katner LSU School of Public Health and Partners Monitor the I-10 Environment with Phillis Wheatley Students

Higher Ground Communities Discuss Flood Risk Maps

  June 7, 2019 Together on a Zoom call on Friday, June 7th, the Higher Ground communities and Thriving Earth Exchange team came together to discuss initial map outputs from the mapping work Michelle Hummel is doing across four U.S. communities. Michelle shared some initial maps using individual assistance claims data from FEMA for Port […]

Guest Blog: A ‘Social Impact Statement’ on Understanding Flood Risk

Image caption: Updated flood maps for De Soto, MO. Courtesy USACE St. Louis District. (Click here for full-size image)   By Paula Arbuthnot Paula Arbuthnot is co-founder of Citizens’ Committee for Flood Relief and serves as a community lead for a Thriving Earth project in De Soto, Missouri. On June 6, 2019, The Army Corps […]

Hallandale Beach, Florida, Project Team Hosts Lunch & Learn for City Staff

Featured Image caption: L-R: Josh Papacek (University of Florida/IFAS); Ashley Smyth (University of Florida/IFAS), Colin Polsky (Florida Atlantic University); Alyssa Jones Wood (City of Hallandale Beach), Willm Martens-Habbena (University of Florida/IFAS) (Photo courtesy of City of Hallandale Beach)   The Hallandale Beach, Florida, project team achieved their first major project objective on May 8, 2019: […]

Citizens’ Committee for Flood Relief Talks Hydrology

On Monday May 13th, leaders Susan Liley and Paula Arbuthnot of the group Citizen’s Committee for Flood Relief (CCFR), held a 2.5 hour long meeting with members from their Thriving Earth Exchange science team, Robb Jacobson (USGS) and Dan Hanes (University of St. Louis). Robb and Dan talked about general hydrology concepts and how hydrologists […]

May 2019 Notes from the Field: Arlington, VA

Thriving Earth Exchange’s Community Choice Aggregation Arlington project team had our kick-off meeting on Saturday, May 4! The five local members met in person in the club room at a team member’s apartment and were joined remotely by Lily from Washington state via Skype. We’ll be coordinating via Skype, WhatsApp, and in person meetings to […]

May 2019 Notes from the Field: Cambridge, OH

By Leatra Harper Our team deployed Pisces samplers to measure hydrocarbons in regions in Southeastern Ohio impacted by unconventional shale drilling and waste disposal facilities in early May. The samplers were re-designed since our last deployment and are much less expensive to build. Our community outreach has broadened as others have heard about this project […]

May 2019 Notes from the Field: Barnesville, OH

By Jill Antares Hunkler On April 22, 2019, Earth Day, the Barnesville, Ohio Thriving Earth Exchange team spent the day in the field in SE Ohio and were joined by Ted Auch of FracTracker Alliance. Water samples were taken at Cat’s Run, upstream and downstream of the Schnegg well pad, where last year’s blowout occurred, […]

May 2019 Notes from the Field: New Orleans, LA

A group of Louisiana State University environmental engineering students competed in the WERC Environmental Design Competition in Las Cruces, N.M. The team won second prize in the highly competitive Open Task for a project called Blight to Bioswales, which proposes to replace blighted lots in New Orleans’ lower 9th Ward with low-maintenance nature parks, engineering […]

Notes from the Field: April 2019

These project updates come straight from the communities and scientists we work with. Send your Thriving Earth liaison a quick update + photo and we’ll highlight your project in our next newsletter! From Melbourne, Fla.: Science liaison Mitchell Roffer recently made a trip to Capitol Hill to discuss ways to improve the National Flood Insurance […]

Eos Feature: Mapping Heat Vulnerability to Protect Community Health

By Kelly McCarthy and Zack Valdez Community leaders and scientists from two U.S. cities are combining public health data and heat maps to prepare residents for climate change–related health risks. As the global community celebrates World Health Day on 7 April, at AGU we want to highlight projects in two U.S. cities striving to make climate-related health […]

Update: Investigating Environmental Impacts of Land Reclamation Projects in Manila Bay Coastal Areas

From John C. “Warner” Carag, Community lead: Several things have occurred since our online meeting. The March 9-10 fieldwork in the community pushed through, but I did not join at the last minute due to a personal matter. Also, it was decided a few days before that only the core group would proceed with the […]

Update: City of Durango Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

During 2018 and early-2019, the City of Durango Sustainability Coordinator, Imogen Ainsworth, worked with local scientists, Laurie Williams and Joanna Gordon Casey to conduct a Community-wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for the area inside Durango City Limits. In March 2019, after much collaboration, learning and some challenges, Imogen presented draft data to Durango City Council. […]

Notes from the field: March 2019

These project updates come straight from the communities and scientists we work with. Send your Thriving Earth liaison a quick update + photo and we’ll highlight your project in our next newsletter!   From 7th Ward, New Orleans: Raising Sensors, money, and trees in the 7th Ward: Yasmin Davis (pictured) and Kayla Frand installed sensors […]

Grassroots Group Commended for Work on Flooding by Virginia House

Stop the Flooding NOW was founded by Virginia Beach residents who wanted to take action to address the chronic flooding in their community. Grassroots Group Commended for Work on Flooding by Virginia House  

Notes from the Field: February 2019

We’ve heard project updates are the #1 thing you want from our newsletter. Starting this month, we’ll have links to Notes from the Field, where you get updates straight from the communities and scientists we work with. This month, updates from Flint, Michigan; Cambridge, Ohio; DeSoto, Missouri; and Cicero/Berwyn, Illinois.

LSU Students Collaborate with A Community Voice in NOLA

LSU student project designed to help Lower 9th Ward News Article: Blight to Bioswales: LSU CEE Student Project to Help Lower Ninth Ward

From Blight to Bioswales

News article: Upper 9th Ward residents call for new focus on blight Community leaders from A Community Voice organized a news conference on December 12th to demand that the city adopt a more comprehensive plan for addressing the abandoned and blighted properties dotting the 9th Ward. Residents are asking Mayor Cantrell to support a “sustainable […]

Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village Visits MSU to Hear Design Presentations

On November 27th, Maryum Rasool and Saadia Shah made a trip from Flint, Michigan to Michigan State University in East Lansing to hear presentations from Dr. Jon Burley’s Landscape Design class. Teams of students presented their visions for possible green roof designs for the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village (SBEV) in North Flint. “The brainstorms, concepts, […]

From Canada’s Chemical Valley to the “Heart of Flint”: Field Notes on Environmental Justice

By Sarah Wilkins, Project Manager As a Thriving Earth Project Manager, I am always thrilled to see the world out from behind my computer screen: meeting a project team in person, visiting the lands of a First Nation or walking a neighborhood with a community leader. I was granted such a chance in late September […]

A Dream for De Soto, MO

Here’s a video from Susan Sherrow Liley, community leader and organizer of Citizen’s Committee for Flood Relief. Flood Forum USA produced this video featuring Susan sharing her dreams and aspirations for her community.