People looking at a geological map at Big Smokey Falls in Keshena Wisconsin

Land-Grant Colleagues to Gather in Denver This Fall to Discuss Climate, Water, and Equity

The North Central Region Water Network team is headed to Denver, Colorado this October for the Climate, Water, Equity, and Opportunity Workshop October 12-13th. The workshop is a unique opportunity to meet, connect and partner with land-grant colleagues – including colleagues from Tribal Colleges and Historically Black Land-Grant Universities within the North Central Region.

Land-grant institutions, with our tripartite missions of research, extension, and higher education, have a unique role to play in supporting communities and addressing climate, water, and agricultural vulnerabilities. However, to serve our communities in a just and equitable way, we must do more to amplify the voices of colleagues at Tribal Colleges and Historically Black Land-Grant Institutions. This is especially important to ensure that “climate-smart” agriculture does not perpetuate systemic racism and greater vulnerability for Black and Indigenous communities.

“This event will provide a great opportunity to connect with land-grant colleagues we might not get on a chance to interact with on regular basis,” notes Joe Bonnell, Interim Director of the North Central Region Water Network. “And it is a chance to get out of our own mindset and think about our work as land-grants and extension professionals holistically. How can we make sure we are supporting our communities in ways that are equitable? How can we support the great work that is already happening at Tribal Colleges and Historically Black Land-Grants? How can we partner across institutions to have a greater impact moving forward? I am excited to have these conversations with partners from across the region.”

Save the Date for the Climate, Water, Equity and Opportunity Workshop

The draft agenda for the workshop is now out. The event will include highlights of existing multi-state land-grant partnerships working on climate and water related issues including the Climate Ready Midwest Project, the Missouri River Watershed Project, and others. It will also feature a keynote presentation from Dr. Dan Wildcat, Author, and Professor at Haskell Indian Nations University, on Indigenous perspectives on climate and water and the cultural shifts needed to address climate change in our communities and Native Nations.

The workshop will also have ample discussion time as attendees discuss how we can better work together to address vulnerability associated with climate change, protect, and restore our water for future generations, and advance culturally rich, nourishing, and sustainable food systems and food sovereignty. Together, attendees will create actionable recommendations to improve collaborations among land-grant institutions in ways that will increase our ability to provide climate and water programming in equitable and just ways with a focus on serving Black and Indigenous communities.

Land-grant colleagues from across the North Central Region and beyond are invited to attend and lend their voice to the conversation! The workshop, which is being held as a pre-conference workshop to the Annual First American Land-Grant Consortium Conference, has a registration fee of only $50 and travel scholarships are available for those in need. Registration is open now.

“This event will be a lot stronger the more land-grants participate,” notes Bonnell. “To attain sustainable and resilient communities and farm enterprises that are economically viable across a wide range of North Central ecoregions and cultures – we need to do more to build awareness and relationships among land-grants and focus our research, education, extension efforts on opportunities for the greatest collective impact. We can only do that with broad participation from institutions across the region.”

More information about the event and registration is available at

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