Welcome & Introduction to the Series

The Morris Model will be hosting and facilitating a series of discussions centered around community resiliency with community members, community leaders, and experts. The goal is to engage our community and think about what it means for us to be resilient, how we become more resilient, and why it matters. Planning is currently underway, but look for more info in late January! This work is made possible through support from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended to the Minnesota Legislature by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) and the West Central Initiative.


What is resiliency?

Resiliency is the ability of a system or a community to survive disruption and to anticipate, adapt, and flourish in the face of change.

Goals of the series:

  1. Community engagement

  2. Expanding local awareness and knowledge capacity for action

  3. Create an actionable resiliency plan for the community for adoption by the Planning Commission and City Council

Topics of the series:

  1. Ongoing trends and future projections of MN weather

  2. Agriculture

  3. Outdoor recreation and natural resources

  4. Community Health

  5. Infrastructure and utilities

  6. Business/industry/finance

  7. Culture and community identity

When will the Community Resiliency Discussion Series take place?

The Morris Model plans to bring together our community leaders and members to discuss resiliency starting every 4th Tuesday of the month starting February 24th, 2021 from 6 - 7 PM virtually.


RSVP to the second Resiliency Discussion Series event or learn more here.


The Morris Model has been hard at work assessing and leading dialogue on how our community can be more resilient and be more prepared for future changes due to changing weather. The Morris Model held a similar discussion series in 2014 called the Rural Climate Dialogue organized by the Jefferson Center and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. This 3-day event brought together Morris residents to discuss the impact of Minnesota’s changing weather and to identify steps they felt our community should take to prepare for it. In March of 2015, the Office of Sustainability at the University of Minnesota, Morris was awarded a grant by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to assist the community in extreme weather and resilience planning. Out of these meetings came the Morris Model Community Resilience Plan in 2016. 

The Morris Model also brought our community partners and leaders together in 2018 for the Climate Smart Municipality Strategic Planning Retreat held at Camp Ripley to discuss goals for our community of Morris, Stevens County, and west-central Minnesota. The retreat was made possible by a West Central Initiative Community Planning Grant. ​Over 30 community leaders and representatives were brought together from city and county government, the Stevens County Economic Improvement Commission (SCEIC), Morris Area Public Schools, UMN Morris, USDA Soils Lab, and WCROC, Denco II ethanol plant, Ottertail Power, Riverview LLP, and Superior Industries. The representatives brainstormed goals and projects for all community partners.


The group then formed and ratified the Morris Model Strategic Plan.

The plan includes the "Big 3" goals:

  1. Produce 80% of the energy consumed in the county by 2030

  2. Reduce energy consumption 30% by 2030

  3. No land-filling of waste generated within the county by 2025

The plan also has goals within 4 areas:

  1. Energy – Generation, Efficiency, and Integration

  2. Transportation – (e.g. Electric and Bio-fuel transition at all levels)

  3. Waste Reduction and Recycling

  4. Energy and Resiliency Education at all levels

Session 1: Climatic Changes in Minnesota - Ongoing Trends and Future Projections | Feb. 23rd, 6 - 7 pm  A recording will be available soon, sign-up to our email list to be notified when it is available.

Hear about Minnesota's weather trends over that the last few decades to today with future projections shared. Learn what variations exist and why they exist in our weather patterns. In order to be resilient, communities need to be proactive in planning. Learn how inclusive, flexible, and data-driven approaches can be used to help solve current and future problems. 


Our first two presenters will be Dr. Heidi Roop, Extension Specialist in Climate Science, University of Minnesota Extension & Dr. Kenneth (“Kenny”) Blumenfeld, a climate scientist with the Minnesota State Climatology Office.


About Dr. Heidi Roop

Heidi's professional mission is to improve the reach and impact of climate science in order to engage, motivate and catalyze action around climate change. Heidi combines climate science and science communication to connect climate change information to decision-makers and communities across the Midwest, U.S., and abroad. By producing actionable, relevant climate science, Heidi helps diverse stakeholders prepare for a changing climate. Heidi aspires to be a scientist who changes how the world engages in science, with scientists.  Heidi’s climate science career has led her around the world where she has participated in research in Greenland and Antarctica to the mountains of Vietnam and New Zealand. Heidi was the Lead Scientist for Science Communication at the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group and she worked as Physical Scientist at the United States Geological Survey’s Colorado Water Science Center.

About Dr. Kenneth (“Kenny”) Blumenfeld

Dr. Kenneth (“Kenny”) Blumenfeld is a climate scientist with the Minnesota State Climatology Office, where he provides the state’s agencies, communities, and citizens with up-to-date and scientifically accurate information about Minnesota’s changing and variable climate, and also oversees a network of weather monitoring stations. Kenny enjoys talking to Minnesotans about their weather, and often does it long after the work day is done.

A recording of this event will be made available soon. Please check back for updates! 

Session 2: Preparedness in Agriculture | March 23rd, 6 - 7 pm  RSVP Here 

Trends toward warmer, wetter, and more humid conditions provide challenges for agricultural field work, increased pressure from disease and pests, and reduce agricultural yields. These challenges may reach the extent that they can be only partially overcome by technology. These trends also amplify the effects of existing stressors such as invasive species, insect pests, and plant disease on the region’s natural resources. Natural resource managers are taking steps to address these issues by increasing the diversity of trees and introducing species suitable for a changing climate.  Source: https://www.climatehubs.usda.gov/hubs/midwest/topic/midwest-us-climate-resiliency-toolkit.


Our presenter for this session will be Dennis Todey, the Director of the USDA Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, IA. 

About Dennis Todey

Dennis Todey is the Director of the USDA Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, Iowa. He is a native Iowan with his BS and PhD from Iowa State in Meteorology and Agricultural Meteorology. He has spent two stints in South Dakota, first completing his MS at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and most recently as Associate Professor and State Climatologist for South Dakota at South Dakota State University. He is well known regionally as a speaker and media source on various climate issues and is the former president of the American Association of State Climatologists.

Session 3: Preparedness in Outdoor Recreation | April 27th, 6 - 7 pm  RSVP Here 

Join us and outdoor recreational experts to discuss resiliency and preparedness in outdoor recreation activities like hunting & fishing. More info on this topic and the presenters coming soon!


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More details and future discussion series events to be announced! RSVP below to receive more info.

Come back soon for more info and dates on the Community Resiliency Discussion Series!


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