Celebrating Adaptation Leadership: MCAP Climate Adaptation Awards

Minnesota Climate Adaptation Awards

The Minnesota Climate Adaptation Awards, presented annually since 2014, celebrate exceptional achievements in leadership, education, research, policies, and practices that improve resilience or climate justice through the development, advancement, or implementation of climate adaptation strategies. We know that celebrating success and showcasing the actions and leadership of our peers can help to accelerate adaptation across Minnesota, and beyond. Recipients have developed cutting-edge adaptation plans for their communities, supported project-specific implementation of adaptation investments, and served as leaders championing adaptation across their organizations.

Collage of photos from MCAP Awards Ceremony

2023 Minnesota Climate Adaptation Award Recipients

The 2023 MCAP Award recipients were presented with honors on Saturday, January 28, 2023 at The Bell Museum. The evening began with light refreshments at 6:30 p.m. The awards ceremony began at 7:00 p.m. The 2023 MCAP Awards were presented by Dr. Mark Seeley, followed by a keynote address by Jothsna Harris. The awardees then joined a panel discussion moderated by meteorologist Sven Sundgaard. The ceremony concluded at 8:30 p.m. with additional time to socialize and explore the Snow: Tiny Crystals, Global Impact Exhibit, which opened earlier that day.

Jothsna Harris featured as Keynote Speaker at 2023 MCAP Awards Ceremony

Jothsna Harris Photo

Jothsna Harris is the Founder of Change Narrative LLC, which exists to build capacity in the climate justice movement through the power of our stories. Jothsna has a decade of experience building capacity for the climate justice movement, designing award-winning climate change programs rooted in community, centering personal stories, and other values-based ways that resonate. Through a coaching practice, Jothsna has worked with thousands of people to craft compelling narratives to build climate confidence and advocate for solutions. Jothsna was formerly the Director of Special Projects and Partnerships at Climate Generation, where she co-edited the anthology book, Eyewitness: Minnesota Voices on Climate Change. She currently serves on The Great Northern Festival Board of Directors. 

Change Narrative specializes in creative climate productions that utilize storytelling to repair harm and shift historical and damaging narratives in mainstream climate communications. 2022-23 projects include; Project Drawdown's Neighborhood, supporting a city-by-city storytelling video series featuring climate heroes whose stories often go unheard. Taproot Earth, based in Louisianna, to develop a narrative justice toolkit around climate reparations for frontline communities. And as a 2022 Learning Lead Partner for ECCLPs to support environmental and climate justice literacy in California public schools. Here in Minnesota, Change Narrative is part of the MN Humanities-funded partnership with the Indigenous-led non-profit Oyate Hotanin (Voice of the People) and the musical duo Buffalo Weavers for a year-long climate action project to address eco-anxiety. Change Narrative recently received a first-time producer Golden Lanyard award for the 2022 MN Fringe Festival stage production "Changing the Narrative: Climate Stories for Justice" utilizing art, music, and poetry as an entry point into the climate conversations.

Awardees joined a panel discussion moderated by meteorologist Sven Sundgaard

Sven Sungaard

Sven Sundgaard has been a meteorologist for more than two decades, most of which has been spent broadcasting in the Twin Cities. He’s currently a meteorologist for Minnesota Public Radio, and digital news and information platform, BringmetheNews.com. He also provides weather and climate content for Currently, Inc. a subscription based climate and weather service, and has been a science advisor to the Minneapolis Foundation. He’s also a licensed realtor in Minnesota to top it off. 

Sven received his degree in meteorology from St. Cloud State in 2003. His research in thermodynamics won several undergraduate research awards. He is passionate about conservation, climate change and social justice issues. He's combined these topics with his travels around the world which include six of the seven continents. He has done climate and conservation reports all the way from the arctic to the jungles of the Amazon, the Great Barrier Reef and the arid interior of Africa.

The 2023 Awards are for the following categories:

  1. Individual Adaptation Award - Any individual who has offered significant leadership, provided education, developed or implemented strategies, conducted research, or otherwise made an impact in the field of climate adaptation in Minnesota. Leaders can be either emerging or established, with depth in one focus area or across a breadth of audiences or disciplines.
  2. Collaborative Adaptation Award - Any collection of individuals, organizations, or businesses that have worked together to achieve significant progress in climate adaptation or have implemented practices or projects that advance climate adaptation in Minnesota.
  3. Organization Adaptation Award - Any private sector, non-profit, community of faith, youth group, neighborhood association, local government unit, state or federal agency, tribal nation, educational institution, or similar entity that has achieved significant progress or implemented practices that advance climate adaptation in Minnesota.
  4. Creative Climate Communication Award - Any individual, organization, community group, or collection of individuals with a track record of successful climate change- and adaptation-related communication and engagement. This may include using visual arts, creative writing, social media, educational events, community convenings and engagement, or other creative communication approaches to engage, inspire and/or educate Minnesotans about climate change and its local impacts.
  5. Climate Justice Leadership Award - Any individual, organization, community group, or collection of individuals working to advance climate adaptation to reduce the likelihood that the burdens of climate change disproportionately impact vulnerable people and frontline communities, and that those communities have the resources they need to be prepared for and respond to the impacts of climate change.

The Minnesota Climate Adaptation Awards are sponsored by the University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership in partnership with the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the University of Minnesota Extension. 

MCAP 2023 Awards Committee

Heidi Roop

Heidi Roop
University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership

Nate Meyer

Nate Meyer
Associate Director
University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership

Amanda Farris

Amanda Farris
Senior Program Manager
University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership 

Leslie Brandt
Supervisory Climate Adaptation Specialist
USDA Forest Service

Camilla Correll
Water Resources Engineer
EOR Inc. 

Howard Creel
Senior Government R&D Specialist

Amie Hedblom

Amie Hedblom
Manager - Corporate Sustainability Marketing

A history of celebrating climate achievements

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View past award recipients

Business Adaptation Award

  • Murphy Warehouse
  • Precipitate
  • Room & Board
  • The Guardian Building, St. Paul

Communication Award

Collaborative Adaptation Award

Individual Adaptation Award

Institution Adaptation Award

  • Macalester College’s Ready and Resilient Climate Adaptation Research Team
  • Metropolitan Council
  • Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management and U-Spatial at the University of Minnesota, Duluth for the 2019 State Hazard Mitigation Plan
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) - Fisheries Research Unit
  • Northern Institute for Applied Climate Sciences
  • Stearns County Soil & Water Conservation District
  • University of Minnesota, Morris - Office of Sustainability and Center for Small Towns

Organization Adaptation Award

  • Ecolibrium3
  • Climate Generation: Local Stories, Community Solutions
  • HealthPartners
  • Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate
  • Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light
  • Mississippi Park Connection and the Science Museum of Minnesota for their Plant for the Future project
  • South Washington Watershed District