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.

2024 Award Recipients

Community Action Center of Northfield

Climate Justice Leadership 
Recognizing individuals, organizations or community groups working to reduce the disproportionate impacts of climate change on vulnerable people and frontline communities

The Community Action Center (CAC) of Northfield is a community-based nonprofit in southeastern Minnesota focused on providing food access, housing, basic needs, and substance abuse recovery. Last year, the organization celebrated the opening of Hillcrest Village, a new housing development with the goal of bringing sustainable, carbon neutral and affordable housing to the community. The development has 17 units of affordable, supportive, and emergency housing and will produce all its own energy through onsite solar, making it one of the first on-site net-zero energy supportive and emergency housing developments in the nation. Low-income and BIPOC Northfield community members helped lead the planning and design process, and remain deeply engaged with residents. CAC has also committed to sharing the results of the project with researchers and communities across the state — including the City of Rochester, which is looking to develop a similar project.

Truterra & Climate Smart Farms

Collaborative Adaptation
Recognizing individuals, organizations or businesses that have worked together to achieve significant progress in climate adaptation

Truterra and The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program’s Climate Smart Farms Project have an established public-private relationship dating to 2016, and together have been working toward the shared goal of empowering farmers to implement conservation practices that build climate resilience.

Truterra is an agricultural sustainability business that offers consultation, tools and solutions for the ag and food value chain. Backed by Land O’Lakes, Inc. and its over 100-year-old cooperative system, everything Truterra does is with the farmer at the center. Truterra creates new market opportunities for farmers by adopting agronomic, economic and environmentally sound practices. These programs are delivered through Truterra’s network of local ag retail advisors who work directly with farmers on their sustainability journey. Truterra is also bridging the gap between farmers and companies with sustainability goals who choose to make agriculture part of their toolkit of solutions. Truterra recently received a USDA Climate Smart Commodities Grant to help scale its work across the nation.

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program’s Climate Smart Farms Project creates an entry point into the adaptation conversation with farmers. It provides growers with an unbiased and friendly climate audit of their farm, identifying existing beneficial management practices and opportunities to improve. Farms that go through this audit can earn the “Climate Smart Farm” endorsement and become eligible for a $1,000 payment. To further support producers, the program partnered with The McKnight Foundation, Minnesota Farmers Union, and Farmers' Legal Action Group to produce a “Farmers’ Guide to Carbon Market Contracts in Minnesota,” which provides clear and concise information on carbon markets — making these markets more accessible. 

Syd Bauer

Individual Adaptation 
Recognizing individuals who have offered significant leadership in the field of climate adaptation in Minnesota 

Syd Bauer co-organized the 2019 Global Student Climate Strike in Morris and co-founded the West Central Minnesota Climate Network. She spends most of her time driving for Morris Transit, and has a remarkable ability to build bridges across her community. She fosters relationships between the civic community and elected officials, as well as with the business community, government employees, and institutions. Syd was a lynchpin in establishing the Organic Waste Recycling Program in Stevens County, bringing together elected officials, contractors, county staff and the general public in conversation to envision a more sustainable future. In its first two years of operation, the program has removed nearly 400,000 tons of organics from the traditional waste stream. 

Frogtown Green

Organizational Adaptation
Recognizing organizations that have achieved significant progress or implemented practices that advance climate adaptation in Minnesota.

Frogtown Green is a resident-led environmental initiative in Saint Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood, one of the most racially and ethnically diverse communities in the Twin Cities with historically high rates of poverty. Patricia Ohmans founded the organization 2009 with the goal of growing a healthier, greener and more sustainable community. Frogtown Green has since planted more than 1,000 trees and installed 10,000 square feet of pollinator-friendly habitat. The organization conducts dozens of events and programs around environmental and sustainability topics — including “Climate Carnival,” a lively event aimed at helping Frogtown residents learn ways to combat the impacts of climate change. 

Ben Weaver

Creative Climate Communications
Recognizing individuals or organizations with a track record of successful climate change- and adaptation-related communication and engagement 

Ben works to spark meaningful conversations that cultivate dialogue and action on climate change. He invites audiences into relationship with one another and the natural world, using music and art as an entry for challenging conversations. He hosts monthly concerts in urban wilderness across the Twin Cities with Dakota Elder Strong Buffalo, as well as regular Climate Grief Circles in collaboration with Buffalo Weavers and Change Narrative. These circles, held in outdoor settings, allow participants the space and community to release and process intense emotions on climate change. Ben’s Edgelands film series also explores the stories, histories and relationships of people who live in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.


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 2024 Awards Committee

Heidi Roop
University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership

Nate Meyer
Associate Director
University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership

Amanda Farris
Senior Program Manager
University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership 

Camilla Correll
Water Resources Engineer
EOR Inc. 

Howard Creel
Senior Government R&D Specialist

Mindy Granley
Sustainability Officer
City of Duluth, MN 

Paula Zaretzky
Sustainability Analyst
Anderson Corporation

Jeff Bies
Senior Research Engineer

Katie Frerker
Climate Adaptation Specialist
Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science
Forest Service

Amie Hedblom
Corporate Sustainability 

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

Climate Justice Leadership Award