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Sustainable and Resilient Communities

This academic year, the UW-Stevens Point Department of Geography and Geology in the College of Letters and Science will host the Sustainable and Resilient Communities Series, sponsored by the Thompson Center on Public Leadership. Participants are invited to attend and consider sustainability and resilience issues facing Wisconsin communities and their essential natural and cultural systems.

The public, especially those interested in urban planning, climate resilience, natural resource management, and energy policy, are welcome to attend series events at no charge.  View descriptions and event details below. Events will be livestreamed.

Our 2023-2024 series is sponsored by the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership. The series is hosted by the UW-Stevens Point Department of Geography and Geology and the Center for the Small City in the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences. 


Tuesday, Oct. 10 – 6:30 p.m.

Protecting a Cold-Water Fishery from Climate Change and Over Nutrification

Pinery Room, Portage County Public Library

Presenter Douglas Miskowiak is the GIS Instructional Administrator and Geography and Geology Department Chair at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He teaches in the areas of Geographic Information Systems and Geodesign and manages community outreach programming with the GIS and Map Centers. Douglas conducts applied GIS research and outreach in Geodesign, public health, natural resources, public participation, and decision-support. He will present on outreach work he conducted in Sawyer County, Wisconsin to protect a rare and vulnerable two-story fishery on Lake Lac Courte Orielles. The primary regional-scale concern affecting the fishery is sediment erosion and phosphorus transport from land to water from various land uses, including agriculture.


Tuesday, February 6 – 6:30 p.m.

Designing for Sustainability and Resiliency: A Tale of Two Towns

Dreyfus University Center Theater

Strategic design planning begins with understanding landscape patterns and dynamics as well as the livelihoods and sense of place for local communities. Geospatial Solutions Director Janet Silbernagel, with Steigerwaldt Land Services Inc., was invited to be part of a consulting team to plan for resilience after unprecedented southern Wisconsin flooding. Janet will share her work in geodesign to strategically locate green infrastructure features within the Black Earth Creek watershed. What strategies can help build resilience against such unexpected events?

Tuesday, March 12 – 6:30 p.m.

Navigating Solar Energy Deployment in the Urban/Rural Divide

Pinery Room, Portage County Public Library

Communities that are being asked to host the clean energy future are facing land use dilemmas, concerns agricultural economic base, and transformation of the rural landscape.  Great Plains Institute’s Brian Ross, vice president of renewable energy, will address environmental justice considerations and ways communities are navigating fairness in clean energy policy and planning, consensus building, decarbonization, and local government implementation.

Tuesday, April 9 – 6:30 p.m.

Sustainable and Resilient Communities Leaders Panel

Dreyfus University Center Theater

The series will culminate with a panel of local mayors and administrators to consider the opportunities and challenges in implementing sustainability and resilience policies locally and regionally.


UW-Stevens Point Department of Geography and Geology faculty, Dr. Samantha Kaplan, Mr. Douglas Miskowiak, and Dr. Ismaila Odogba, are the principal investigators of the series.

Doug Miskowiak

  • GIS Instructional Administrator
  • Geography and Geology Chair

Ismaila Odogba

  • Professor
  • Co-Director, Center for the Small City
  • Global Affiliate Scholar – Ed.D. in Educational Sustainability

Samantha Kaplan

  • Professor of Geography
  • Global Affiliate Scholar – Ed.D. in Educational Sustainability